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3 Top Tips for Packing Parcels

Posted 13th May, 2020

Whether you have been shipping parcels for years or are completely new to the process, it is never a bad idea to look at ideas to improve the way you pack your parcels. Do it right and you can not only ensure that your delivery reaches its destination safe and intact, but also potentially reduce both costs and your environmental footprint. Read on to discover more about packaging your larger parcels more effectively.

1. Reduce weight to reduce cost

For most regular parcels, weight is a big factor in calculating the cost. You may think that a box is a box and it doesn’t really make much difference, however, you’d be surprised. There are a few different ways to make small but significant reductions in overall packaging weight:

Use corrugated cardboard

To date, corrugated cardboard remains the most efficient form of solid packaging as far as strength to weight is concerned. This is due to the extra protection offered by the triple layer of card, as well as the weight benefit of the air-filled pockets between the outer and inner layers.

Use the right size of box

Choosing the optimum size of box ensures a good, secure fit for your item. Not only does this reduce the need for protective padding within the box, it also helps to reduce the amount of tape used as you will not need to rely on tape to reinforce the structure.

Choose the right padding material

There are many options for interior padding, from corrugated card or packaging paper to bubble wrap or polystyrene. Ultimately, the choice of padding will depend on the nature of the items you are shipping – you should always choose the right padding for the job – however, it is useful to know that polystyrene is by far the lightest option.

2. What about greener packaging options?

There is a growing amount of interest in greener packaging options. In the retail sector, for example, compostable mailing bags have seen a huge rise in popularity. Unfortunately, this form of packaging is not yet generally suitable for larger items. So what options are there for going greener?

Use recycled cardboard

There are two ways to approach this – first, reusing existing packaging and second, purchasing recycled cardboard. Whilst the first option may be attractive, it is not always suitable. If you have a regular supply of packaging that is the right fit, then this may be a perfect solution – in fact, some companies have established fantastic reverse logistics chains to reclaim packaging. Using existing packaging that is not the optimum fit may have environmental benefits in terms of material re-use, but could add weight as detailed in the previous section, potentially reducing the overall environmental benefit.

Also, beware that if the cardboard layers have been crushed, the box will no longer offer the intended level of protection.

If you do decide to reuse packaging, do read our useful blog on the topic here.

Reducing single-use plastic

If you are conscious about your use of single-use plastic, then no doubt the idea of using bubble wrap or polystyrene is a concern. Some alternatives that are worth investigating are starch-based biodegradable packing peanuts, which are a great alternative to polystyrene. Fully biodegradable, non-toxic and water-soluble, they provide excellent cushioning with a light weight.

Another alternative to plastic is corrugated card or paper-based packaging materials. While these can be highly effective, they do tend to be heavier.

As mentioned previously, the key to reducing additional packaging is choosing the optimum fit to begin with, thus minimising the potential for your items to move.

You may also want to read a blog we wrote specifically on greener packaging here.

3. Choose the right tape

Pressure-sensitive plastic tape

You may not realise it, but the tape you use to seal your packages can have a significant effect on your package weight. Low-quality tape can have poor adhesion and low strength, meaning that you are likely to use far more than you would compared to a high-quality tape.

Water-activated tape

An alternative worth considering is water-activated tape (WAT), also known as paper tape, gummed tape, or Kraft paper tape – as seen in use by Amazon among others. It creates a strong, tamper-evident seal with just one strip from a water-activated tape dispenser, helping to both reduce weight and add an extra level of reassurance for your customers.

Need advice on packaging your goods more effectively? Contact the experts in parcel and pallet transport today. Call Station Couriers in Newtown, Powys now on 01686 621 190.

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