I posted earlier on some simple rules to package your shipments safely and economically. It’s now time to get comfortable with what needs to be used to protect your products inside the shipping box.
In her shop, my wife packs nearly every shipment using combinations of the following:
- Plastic bags
- Tissue paper
- Bubble wrap
- Styrofoam popcorn
- Crumpled craft or newspaper
On certain larger or more fragile items, we sometimes recycle cardboard cut in strips or the foam cushioning found in electronic component packaging, cut to fit. These are used for blocking the items in place and cushioning against the outside of the box.
Most of these items can be found and recycled at no cost. Shipments to you and your family/friends often contain suitable materials – just make sure they are clean and dry. We have also found that some commercial shipping locations allow people to recycle their packaging materials at their shops and will provide it to you at little or no cost, especially if you are a customer.
I recommend that you wrap your items in a plastic bag as part of the packaging for shipment. Ziploc® bags (or similar) in quart and gallon sizes work great for small items. Lock in a little extra air to add some protection. Depending on the item, wrapping in tissue is a good idea and makes an attractive presentation.
The heavy foam cushioning found in electronic shipments is usually glued together into a design to fit the product in the box. It can be pulled apart and cut into strips or blocks with a utility knife and then placed strategically to cushion fragile items from the outside of the box.
Newspaper is a last resort, but might be needed if there is a larger area to fill. It doesn’t protect as well and it is heavier than other options, but the price is right. If newspaper is part of your packaging material, make sure your products are enclosed in plastic or tissue to prevent newsprint from rubbing off on them.
Bottom line, most packaging materials can be recycled – and thus free or at least very inexpensive.
Next up – the shipping envelope option.