Apart from the usual proper storage of personal belongings, void fills are excellent functional and aesthetic packaging tools for the business owner in safeguarding products in transit.
Situations regularly arise that require you to move or store your items. You don’t want to lose your fragile items, which is why protective packaging is essential.
If you’re a business owner, you understand and appreciate the importance of ensuring your products reach your customers in the best shape and form possible. These void fill choices cushion the products you ship to help protect them during transit. If you aren’t packaging your products in a custom box, void fills are crucial in keeping your items in place in a bigger box.
Here are the main ways of protective packaging for your fragile products, with each item also defining a particular type of void fill.
Bubble wrap is the most commonly used void filling option and has been around for a long time. These flexible and slim plastic sheets are comprised of air bubbles in small, sealed cells. This composition gives them more than sufficient cushioning power.
Bubble wrap is great for wrapping products or filling your packaging containers by simply pushing the sheet into the corners. This option is easily accessible, inexpensive, and has a high resistance to impact. However, since these are entirely plastic, they are unrecyclable and take ample storage space when rolled up and not in use.
Air Packets or Air Tubes
Air packets are also affordable void fills and can replace bubble wrap. Air packets are single cells or individual tubes. These implements are simply heat-sealed plastic bags with lots of air in them.
They provide the same protection and versatility that comes with bubble wraps, along with an additional advantage – they’re lighter. They aren’t as flexible, though. Where bubble wrap can be crumpled into corners, air packets, being larger cells, need to be arranged in a certain way to make sure they cover the right spots. Like bubble wrap, these are also made of plastic and can’t be recycled, and they also take up significant storage space.
Foam sheets are fantastic alternatives to bubble wrap and are considered pretty standard void-fill materials. They are available in rolls, pre-cut sheets, and as custom pouches that can even be used as secondary packaging material. Foam is extremely lightweight and made of polystyrene or polyurethane, manufactured from liquid petrochemicals.
Use foam sheets to protect products from scratches. They are great for layering between items, such as sandwiched between breakable pieces of a ceramics set. They are slightly more resistant to wear and tear than bubble wrap, making it possible to reuse them multiple times.
Packing peanuts are great void fills shaped in a certain way so they interlock when tightly packed together and free flow when they aren’t compressed. If you tried looking for it locally and couldn’t find it, try asking for “foam popcorn” or “foam noodles” as they refer to the same thing.
These soft peanut-shaped cushioning pieces are typically made from Styrofoam. Newer iterations use cornstarch as the base ingredient, making it an eco-friendly variant with similar mechanical properties as the previous packaging filler options.
Custom Tissue Paper
Custom tissue paper kills two birds with one stone. It is an affordable and versatile way of wrapping items before boxing them. While you can undoubtedly purchase plain tissue or something with generic patterns and styles, custom tissue paper costs only a little more and can help support your brand in your crucial branding efforts.
It is cheap and easy to design and purchase tissue online, making it an excellent way to implement lucrative marketing strategies. Apart from being an inexpensive void fill, custom printed tissue increases the perceived value of your products, creating a brand experience that transforms everyday purchases into gifts, delivering value beyond its primary function.
Crinkle paper is simply finely shredded pieces of paper. This type of void fill won’t protect your products from scratches and won’t effectively prevent damage from multiple falls. Depending on the weight/thickness of the stock used, crinkle paper isn’t an easy material to standardize in terms of the range of protection.
As the cheapest void fill, you can even go a step beyond and DIY it by shredding any scratch paper you find at home if product presentation isn’t a big deal. Crinkle paper is available in different colors and is lighter than crumpled paper. What’s more, it is reusable and biodegradable.
Excelsior is an eco-friendly alternative void fill that is basically shredded Aspen wood. If you choose this option, you can purchase Excelsior as a pre-fluffed fiber in a loosely packed 10lb box. If you need a large supply to tide you over, you can even get a whole compressed bale to last a long time.
As a natural fiber fill, this option also provides an organic look and feel for your product presentation. You can shape this to your liking, mold it, mat it down, and even glue it in place if you need a more permanent support system.
Post Industrial Scrap
Scrap materials are leftovers from any production process. These are often overlooked as not all businesses have scrap that can be repurposed into void-fill materials. If you have direct access, you can also use the scrap from your manufacturing processes as a void fill.
For example, if you deal with fabric or apparel, the leftover pieces of cloth are perfect for filling spaces in your packaging. Post-industrial scrap is recyclable, hence more inventive and unique than some of the alternatives.
How Do You Choose the Perfect Packaging Void Fill?
The right packaging void fill can be pivotal in your business since it may be the difference between the safety and ruin of your package contents.
When you have the suitable void fill, you can reduce the packaging costs of your product. When you’ve chosen your preferred packaging and void fill material, align these choices so you can start building your unique brand identity.