Packaging a Product: 4 Types of Materials to Use

  • Michael Grant
  • November 8, 2017

When you are sending a product, whether you’re sending it across the city or across the world, you want to be sure that it will arrive in good condition. Sure, damages are inevitable sometimes, especially if you’re sending large shipments, however, choosing the right product packaging will help minimize damages during shipping.

There are lots of options to choose from, and it is important to know what the positives and negatives of each are so that you can make the best choice for your product. Here are the most common materials:

1. Plastic – Low cost, versatile

Plastic is a super versatile material for packaging. It can be softer, harder, and can mold into any shape you want. Plastic can take damage without breaking, and it will keep out any gunk floating around in the outside environment. It doesn’t weigh a lot, which can help cut down on the cost of shipping, and it doesn’t cost a lot to begin with so you’re getting lots of savings there.

Some plastics can be recycled which can be seen as a positive, however plastics that end up in landfills or that are not recycled take an incredibly long time to decompose. There is the possibility too that there are some additives in the plastic, which can seep into food items.

All said and done, plastic is definitely not the most earth-friendly option, but it is easy on the budget and is a great protector for your products.

2. Metal – strong, sterilisable

Metal, although pricier than plastic, is significantly stronger. It is also versatile in the types of different materials it can contain. Metal is often the material of choice for shipping things like food, liquids, gasses, chemicals, and dangerous goods. It can come in many different forms – one form we often see is the tin-plated form. This would be what you’re looking at when you see cans of preserved food.

Another common one is aluminum as in soda cans and aerosol bottles. Metal is sterilisable, so if a product that cannot be contaminated needs to be shipped, metal should be the top candidate. It is also much easier to clean and recycle or reuse metal, so it is a bit more earth friendly than plastic.

3. Glass – flexible, sturdy

Glass can be molded into almost any shape, and is most often used to hold liquids like wine and fresh orange juice. Glass can be tinted, so for products like wine that can be affected by the sun, tinted glass can help ensure the product doesn’t get ruined that way. For other products where it doesn’t really matter, the glass can be clear and customers can see what is inside.

If you do choose to send your products in glass packaging, you may want to consider adding additional packaging. Glass is sturdy, but breakable under pressure or if it is knocked against something. Cushioning it with something else can help avoid that, although it means paying extra for the additional packaging.

4. Paper – super low cost, earth friendly

Paper is the cheapest option, and you can do a lot with it. If you need to label or decorate the packaging it is super simple to do so. Paper does a good job of holding its shape in shipping, and it can be corrugated to strengthen it so that it is even stronger and more effective.

Cardboard can be made from different materials, most commonly it is made of pulped wood, but it can also be made out of sisal, hemp, cotton or even straw. It is the ultimate earth-friendly packaging choice, as it can be easily recycled.

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Hello, my name is Michael and I'm a cancer survivor. I'm also a home entrepreneur and stay-at-home grandfather. In the past thirty years, I've dabbled in the the financial sector, the technology industry, as well as a little business consulting. I guess you can call me a jack of all trades!