Label it – The guide to hazard labels

How to label what is in a package is vital to protect the people handling the package, the people receiving the package and, often, to protect the package itself.

Understanding how to use packaging labels and hazard labels is a key part of correctly packaging a product for shipping, and for delivery and storage. There are a range of labelling solutions to help guide anyone coming into contact with the package; what it contains and how to handle it.

These labels fall into two main groups: packaging labels that show how to handle a package – and, indeed, how it has been handled – and hazard labels that reveal more specifically what potential threats the goods pose if mishandled.

How to label a package correctly involves using combinations of these labels to outline how to handle and care for packages and to know what is inside.

So what labels are available and what do they mean?

Chemical warning labels and what they mean

There are a wide variety of chemical warning labels available, covering a wide range of information that anyone handling a package needs to bear in mind.

As we have seen, these can range from simple instructions that help to protect the goods in transit from mishandling – such as ‘Fragile’ and ‘Do not bend’ – right through to very specialist chemical warnings, outlining what the hazards are should something befall that package.

Remember, in many instances, you may need a combination of these labels in each package.

So, what chemical warning labels are there and what do they mean?

Chemical hazard labels

The range of chemical hazard labels offers advice no specifically as to what is in the package, but what potential hazardous effects those goods could have if mishandled.

These include:

Non flammable gas chemical hazard label

  • Non  Flammable Gas – these simple green labels let shippers know that they are handling gas, but that it won’t explode or burn. That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t dangerous in another way – something that will be denoted by other labels. An example would be helium, often found in balloons.

Toxic gas chemical hazard label

  • Toxic gas – as the image suggests, this contains gases that can kill. These labels can be used in conjunction with, say, non-flammable label as the gas contained may not be flammable, but could be toxic, such as carbon monoxide.

Flammable gas chemical hazard label

  • Flammable gas – completing the range of gas labels, flammable gas warns of gases being used or transported that can burn or explode. Again, this may be non-toxic, but dangerous because of burning. An example would be Oxygen.

Flammable liquid chemical hazard label

  • Flammable liquid – along with flammable gas, liquids can also be a fire hazard, either when near heat or on contact with air. These labels similarly need to be used in conjunction with others to specify what hazards a particular product poses. An example of a flammable liquid is petrol.

Flammable solid chemical hazard label

  • Flammable solid – strikingly stripey, these labels denote solids that can burn or catch fire. Solids are often not seen as so hazardous as they don’t ‘spill’ per se, however, there are some that do burn – an example being firelighters. Wax is also a burn hazard too.

Highly flammable chemical hazard label

  • Highly flammable – this warning label warns of content that can burn readily, easily and fiercely. This distinguishes goods that are more likely to ignite and to create a blaze that is hotter and harder to tackle than goods that are ‘just’ flammable. An example would be lighter fluid and even some aerosol cans.

Corrosive chemical hazard label

  • Corrosive – these labels warn of substances that are gaseous, liquid or solid – that can steadily erode and destroy materials and flesh. Typically, corrosion actually involves the oxidation or rusting of metal, but in the realm of safety labels it refers to substances that can dissolve and/or ‘eat away’ any material and can be either acidic or alkaline. An example would be potassium hydroxide, more commonly found in fertilisers.

Miscellaneous chemical hazard label

  • Miscellaneous – For goods that are hazardous for other reasons or for packers who want to label their products themselves, there a range of miscellaneous labels that can be filled in manually. These labels also suit people who have a range of goods and want to then offer a reason why they are dangerous. Typically, these labels are there to warn of hazards which can then be specified.

Packaging hazard labels and what they mean

Chemical hazard labels warn of what can happen if the goods contained within a package are mishandled – avoiding mishandling in the first place is perhaps even more vital and so there are a range of labels to that end.

Used in conjunction with chemical hazard labels, these can paint a good picture of how to handle goods and why they need to be handled properly.

There, as we shall see, also labels that show how goods have been handled.

So what packing labels are available?

Fragile packaging labels

  • Fragile – these labels come in a variety of styles and are a basic indication that goods need to be handled carefully as the contents might break. They can be simple or more informative – including ‘This Way Up’ indication and an idea of what is inside. In conjunction with chemical labelling this can help handlers know precisely what to do with the package.

Handle with car packaging labels

  • Handle with care – Handling instructions are also a vital part of the labelling process, outlining not only what is in the package, which way up it should go but also specifically how to handle it.

These labels include ones that require general gentle handling, to those that suggest careful opening, to those that give more specific instructions such as ‘Do Not Crush’, ‘Do Not Bend’ and the like.

Antistatic packaging labels

  • Antistatic labels – One hazard that is of increasing importance in the modern era is that of static. Electronic goods – especially computers and phones, although ‘computers’ now appear in all manner of devices, even washing machines – are sensitive to electrostatic interference – it can fry their innards.

‘Electrostatic sensitive devices’ labels are used to make sure packages containing such goods are kept clear of electrostatic and magnetic interference.

Shockwatch indicator labels

  • Shock and tilt labels – The final class of packaging labels are those that help to understand how a package has been handled in transit: to make sure that goods have been treated properly and to pre-warn anyone handling the package that it may be damaged. Labels that tell a story.

Shockwatch labels highlight if a package has been dropped or bumped. They feature a small, contained glass vial within the label, which releases red dye – so a small window on the label turns red – if the package has been shocked.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

Tiltwatch labels are there to show whether a ‘This End Up’ or ‘This Way Up’ package has been kept the right way up, again featuring a small panel that turns red if a package has been tilted more than 90 degrees.

How to read a chemical label

The key to reading chemical labelling – in fact all the labelling – on a package lies in looking at what labels have been used. As we have seen, a combination of labels can be used to label a package to outline what is in it, what hazards that may contain and how best to handle that package to make sure that those hazards are kept from becoming an issue.

A combination of packaging and shipping labels used on one parcel could look like this:

Range of chemical hazard packaging labels

This labelling implies that the contents are fragile, probably in a glass or ceramic container and needs to be kept upright, because the contents, were it to be spilled is corrosive to skin and material. The package should also not be crushed or mishandled and a Tiltwatch label indicates to anyone handling it if it has been tipped or bumped. This way when it’s been opened it can be done so with care.

Conclusions

How to use packaging labels and hazard chemical labels is vital to both protection of the goods, as well as the protection of the people handling them and those receiving them.

Taken together, the labels can tell a story of what is both in the package, how to handle it and, with some of the more specialist labels, what has happened to it in transit.

Applying common sense to the use of these labels can help goods to be carefully handled and to arrive in good shape. And it makes economic sense too. Goods can get damaged in transit and storage, but labelling them properly so that they are handled and stored correctly can significantly mitigate this damage – and that has to make sound business sense.

Want to know more about shipping and packaging labels?

For additional advice on labelling your packages for shipping, packaging labels, read our shipping labels guide or contact our team of Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28.

The low down on recycling envelopes and mailing bags

The old fashioned way of recycling largely consisted of re-using old envelopes to keep old receipts in, but that’s a generational thing. These days, recycling paper is more about trying to save trees and cut waste. And one of the main areas where that can be easily achieved is in recycling – properly, not just reusing – envelopes and mailing bags.

The rise of ecommerce has seen a similar boom in the use of mailing bags and envelopes to carry the smaller items being ordered in abundance from the web. So what can be done with this mountain of used packaging?

Read on as we find out just what you can do with those envelopes and mailing bags.

Can you recycle envelopes with windows?

Many businesses still send out bills and other information in business envelopes with plastic windows in them. The first question many would-be recyclers ask is can envelopes with plastic windows be recycled?

Traditionally, the answer here has been no: the paper part of the envelope is fine, but the plastic window is a bit trickier – even a small amount of plastic contaminant would ruin the entire batch of paper recycling.

Envelopes with windows

White business envelopes with a plastic window can they now be recycled?

For many eco-consumers, this has meant laboriously cutting the windows out of the envelopes before recycling – and still leaves a significant amount of plastic to go to landfill.

However, some modern post-consumer paper mills have systems in place that can now remove some plastic contaminants. So, while the windows still can’t be recycled, the envelopes can be without having to keep removing the plastic manually.

Can padded envelopes be recycled?

The rise of ecommerce has seen a proliferation of padded envelopes and mailing bags used to protect more delicate small items sent by post. The recycling question here, however, is more complex as there are many different types of padded envelopes, crafted from a range of materials.

Bubble padded envelopes

Bubble envelopes are typically mid-sized paper envelopes lined with bubble wrap. Are bubble padded envelopes recyclable? Typically, no, and for the same reasons that window envelopes aren’t: they are made of a mixture of materials, each of which may be recyclable, but together contaminate one another.

The best way to recycle these envelopes is to reuse them, by adding new sticky address labels.

The alternative is to try and manually remove the bubble wrap from within and recycle that and the paper envelope separately.

Bubble envelopes

Bubble envelopes are different again. These are pouches that can be sealed like an envelope, but which are made entirely from bubble packing materials. Can bubble envelopes be recycled? If it is purely made of bubble wrap, then yes these can be recycled as they are a single material. They must be recycled with plastics, but can be recycled – as can the bubble lining of a bubble padded envelope.

Padded envelopes

Jiffy bags

Padded envelopes with organic or paper material might be the answer

Not all padded envelopes are padded with plastic bubble wrap, some are organically padded. Are padded envelopes recyclable? Since they are usually packed with paper fibre in a paper envelope – so together are a single source of material – then these envelopes can be recycled easily in the paper recycling.

These ‘green’ envelopes offer the same degree of protection as their plastic, bubbly counter-parts, but can be both reused and recycled much more easily.

Can you recycle envelopes?

What about basic envelopes: are envelopes recyclable? Standard issue, plain envelopes can be recycled so long as they have no plastic on them or anything else that may act as a contaminant.

Stamps can also be recycled, so envelopes with stamps, paper labels and postmarks can all go into the paper recycling, regardless of colour.

If the envelope has been stuck down using Sellotape or any other kind of plastic tape, then this has to be fully removed, as it isn’t recyclable.

Interestingly, recycling envelopes means they are turned into more envelopes.

If you don’t want to send used plain envelopes to recycling, they are also quite easy to reuse. Among some of the less-obvious uses, Readers’ Digest suggests that they can be used to “funnel bulk spices into smaller jars” if you tear off a corner; use them as “files for things”; “help keep receipts together when shredding”; and, our personal favourite, “use them as envelopes”.

So, yes, can envelopes be recycled? Very much so.

Can you recycle envelopes with glue?

While there is a vast array of envelope types with differing recycling demands, one thing most of them do have in common is that they come with glue-down flaps. Can these be recycled?

In general, yes. Most glue is made from biodegradable organics and so it can be decomposed. However, some recycle plants won’t take it as it will contaminate their paper recycling if they are making pulp to re-use as paper.

Again, as with small amounts of plastic contaminants, many modern recycling plants can cope with small levels of contaminants so that glue isn’t an issue.

Plastic tape, however, is as this is generally not recyclable and can cause, along with plastic windows, too much contamination.

If you are planning to shred paper and envelopes and use them for compost, then the glue isn’t an issue.

Are plastic mailing bags recyclable?

While many people are using the wide variety of paper-based envelopes and mailing bags out there, sometimes only plastic will do – and there is a similarly large array of plastic mailing bags on offer. Can you recycle plastic mailing bags?

Again, it all comes down to whether it is a single material or not. Most polyethylene is recyclable, however, if it comes with paper labels then it isn’t – unless the two are separated and put in their respective recycling channels.

Many retailers who use poly mailing bags print onto the plastic, so that the bag can be recycled.

Kraft mailing bags

Kraft paper mailing bags are made from tough paper from sustainable forests

Another alternative are Kraft paper mailing bags, an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional polythene mailing bags, made from FSC Kraft paper from sustainable forests. These are not only recyclable, but are also sourced from green raw materials: an environmental win-win.

Conclusion

As ecommerce continues apace, the quantity of envelopes and mailing bags is only going to grow. With many people increasingly aware of the environmental impact of what they do, making sure that simple things such as packaging are recyclable is a must.

The rule of thumb with any packaging, however, is that it can be made up of recyclable materials, but if mixed together renders the whole un-recyclable. Looking to have organically packed padding in paper envelopes or not sticking paper labels of plastic mailing bags is more a case of changing user habits that changing product choice.

Typically, most envelopes and mailing bags are, in essence, recyclable. They are also eminently reusable, so while it may seem daunting to have to separate windows from envelopes, bubble packing from paper and paper labels from plastic mailing bags, you may well be able to find other uses for these things.

Contact our Packaging Specialists for advice on 0800 542 44 29 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk. Or read our environmental FAQs for for more information.

Living in the future: How will new materials shape our world?

The UK sends more household waste to landfill each year than any other country in the EU – 18.8 million tonnes, in fact.[i] And although we’re all aware of the need to recycle, as a country, our recycling rate has stagnated over the last few years[ii].

Sustainable living - Living in the future

The amount of waste being produced by the UK has come under the spotlight recently as we begin to realise the adverse effect the things we use every day are having on the environment. The focus has mainly been on the damage plastic products can do, and how companies large and small are taking steps to replace it with options that don’t cause so much harm to the environment – the recent plastic straw ban is a good example.

There’s no denying that, as a society, we are changing the way we think about the environment surrounding us. The throw-away nature of the past is being replaced by a much more eco-friendly, sustainable way of thinking, as we come to terms with the increasing need to protect our planet.

Of course, thinking sustainably isn’t – and shouldn’t be – limited to smaller everyday items (coffee cups, plastic bags, straws); we are also beginning to think about how we can use sustainable methods to shape our buildings and interiors.

Sustainable living - Eco-friendly building materials

The expert opinion

To find out more about how the way we live and interact with our surroundings is changing, we spoke to two experts. Katie Treggiden is a craft and design writer with nearly 20 years’ experience and has shared with us her predictions for how the buildings we live and work in will change. Katie believes we will see new, sustainable building materials becoming the norm, and a focus towards more inclusive building design, known as “universal design”.

To find out about the future of interiors, we spoke to Tiffany Grant-Riley who works as a freelance interior stylist, writer and blogger. She also believes there will be a move towards sustainability, and that new materials will be chosen for their low environmental impact. Tiffany predicts there could also be more focus on re-purposing existing materials, telling us that, “Cheaper materials known for their strength, like cardboard, are already being used for furniture, dubbed as quick and easy to assemble alternatives.” Perhaps, then, the forts we built as children out of cardboard boxes are closer to a future reality than we thought possible… albeit a much more grown up one.

Take a look at all our experts’ predictions in full here: Living in the Future: How will new materials shape our world?

[i] http://enworks.com/landfill-2018

[ii] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/23/uks-plastic-waste-may-be-dumped-overseas-instead-of-recycled

A guide to pallets

The unsung hero of international trade – there are more pallets in use across Europe than there are people – a lot more. In fact, at the last count (in 2015, it takes time) there were 3 billion pallets being used across the EU, four for each person living in the region.

What is a pallet

With such ubiquity, this essential warehouse equipment forms the backbone of bulk transportation and storage pretty much everywhere, but there is way more to them than meets the eye.

Mostly they are wooden, though some are plastic and they come in a range of sizes and styles: picking the right one for your needs is something that needs a bit of thought.

What is a pallet?

So, first and foremost, what is a pallet, in technical terms, a “flat transport structure, which supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift, a pallet jack, a front loader, a jacking device or an erect crane”.[i]

Sometimes, pallets are mistaken for skids – wooden runners put under bulky items to help move them, invented by the ancient Egyptians to build the pyramids – but they are very different as we shall see.

Who invented the pallet?

Who invented the pallet

George Raymond, inventor of the pallet (Image: Raymond Corp.)

While pallets may seem to be one of nature’s immutable certainties, probably dating back to the dawn of creation, the invention of the pallet is widely credited to one George Raymond – and his chum Bill House. Well, they filed a patent in the 1930s for a sort of sled-cum-pallet – more akin to wooden ‘skis’ that Raymond added cross slats to and made stackable.

Raymond’s patented pallet also featured a lower ‘deck’ that makes it resemble what we refer to today as pallets. This made them stackable and sturdier for transport on forklift trucks, themselves introduced in 1925 in the US.

What was notable about the Raymond-House ‘proto-pallet’ was that it was designed to be made out of cheap timber – with the view to cost-effectively replace the cornucopia of packaging solutions then in use: wooden crates, barrels, kegs and cardboard boxes.

This has made the pallet cheap enough to be so widespread. It has also meant that they can be reused repeatedly and eventually recycled – often ending up as fuel, paper pulp, or animal bedding.

How are pallets made?

Pallets are made, typically, of wood, however there are plastic ones as well, which we’ll come onto later. Of the wooden ones, many are made from actual timber, cut to size and often glued together with strong polyurethane adhesive or nails or staples.

However, some wooden pallets are moulded in high pressure presses from wood powder. These have the advantage that they are a single piece with no additional materials added for fixings. This makes them much easier to recycle at the end of their life, but they tend not to be as strong and are for smaller loads.

Standard moulded wood pallets

What are plastic pallets made from?

Plastic pallets are also moulded, and usually made from copolymer polypropylene, or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) resin and injection moulded; though more costly, but can be advantageous if you need to store things in a dry and bacteria-free environment. They are also great for chemical resistance, and suitable for use with most acids, chemicals and solvents.

Plastic pallets are tough, clean and chemically resistant

How big is a pallet?

Pallets come in all shapes and sizes – and made of different materials, depending on where they are being used and what they are being used for. But there are a set of standard sizes, designed to help uniformity of use in storage, shipping and of course lifting on standard sized forklifts.

So, what is the size of a standard pallet? Typically, in old money, 48×40, 42×42 and 48×48 inches. Square pallets are more stable when being lifted, but sometimes, depending on what is being stored or moved, they aren’t as suitable, so rectangular 48×40 pallets are used.

How big is a pallet

Side view, standard dimensions of a European standard pallet (Image: EPAL)

Here in the UK – and EU – of course pallets are metrically dimensioned, and come in standard sizes, measured in millimetres. Typically, these are 1200×800, 1200×1000 and for moulded wooden pallets can take between 350kg and 1250kg depending on their spec.

Dimensions of a pallet

Top view, standard dimensions of a European standard pallet (Image: EPAL)

Plastic pallets come in 600×800, 1200×800 and 1200×1000 and can take between 400 and 800kg dynamic load. Heavy duty plastic pallets are also available in 1200×800 and can take loads of over 800kg.

How heavy is a wooden pallet?

The weight of the pallet itself is also important to know – not least as it will have to be included in the export manifest details of the weight of what is being shipped. So how heavy is a wooden pallet?

A typical wooden stringer pallet sized 1200×1000 weighs around 15 to 22kgs. A pressed wooden pallet sized 1200×800 rated for 350kg load weighs in at 8.5kg; a 1200×1000 rated to 1250kg dynamic load comes in at 19kg. A heavy-duty plastic pallet that is 1200×800 will weigh about 8.6kg. [ii]

What type of wood are pallets made from?

So, let’s take a more detailed look at the type of wood are pallets made from, how the different kinds are made and how, if you’ll pardon the pun, they stack up.

What wood is used for pallets?

What would is used for pallets

The type of wood used for pallets vary, stringer pallets – those made from ‘strings’ of wood, as opposed to moulded wooden pallets – are typically made from a range of woods, depending on costs. Typically, they are a mixture of hard and soft woods, often oak for the load bearing parts as it is strong and southern yellow pine for the non-load bearing parts.

Often pallets are also made from plywood constructed of alternate layers of hard and soft woods. Both kinds of pallets also then need heat treating.

What is a heat-treated pallet?

A heat-treated pallet is one where the wood has been kiln dried and this is necessary to strengthen the wood by removing excess moisture, as well as to essentially sterilise it, killing off spores and bacteria that may live in the wood. This is vital for pallets being used for any form of export.

In fact, the heat-treatment of pallets is essential and is regulated under the International Phytosanitary Standard for Wood Packaging – ISPM15, currently adopted by 14 countries and the entire European Union.

Interestingly, pressed wooden and plastic pallets – both of which are heated during their pressing – are exempt. As is sawdust and barrels.

To meet the standard of ISPM15, pallets and pallet wood needs to be heated to a minimum temperature of 56 °C for a minimum duration of 30 continuous minutes throughout the entire profile of the wood (including at its core).

Various energy sources or processes may be suitable to achieve these parameters. For example, kiln-drying, heat-enabled chemical pressure impregnation, microwave or other treatments may all be considered heat treatments provided that they meet the heat treatment parameters specified in this standard.

How long do heat treated pallets last?

A heat-treated pallet is designed to have a long life, not just free from pests and decay, but also hardened by the heat treating process. As to how long a pallet lasts all depends on how you use it. Treated kindly they can last for up to 10 years in their primary function. Recycled into furniture and other domestic products can see this doubled or even tripled.

Are pallets also chemically treated?

As well as being heat treated, pallets are often also chemically treated to protect them from insects, mould and decay. Typically, wooden pallets are treated with methyl bromide, a toxic pesticide to protect them still further.

What accessories do you need with pallets?

Pallets on their own aren’t enough to cover all your shipping needs. You will also need all manner of pallet accessories to make the pallet system work. Cardboard pallet caps and trays are essential for protecting your products when on the pallet, as are cardboard divider sheets, and general purpose edge protectors.

It also a good idea to ‘top’ your pallet stack with waterproof sheeting in case it is outside at any point in its transport, as are tear-off pallet covers on a roll, for that extra protection.

To move stacks of pallets around you will also need dollies that essentially puts the pallet on wheels or even a self-propelled stacker. Either way, there is plenty of equipment available to make palletising the go to option for storage and shipping.

Conclusion

There are many pallets and accessories available, be they wooden stringer pallets as invented back in the 1930s by George Raymond, who built on the ancient Egyptian idea of the skid, or pressed wooden pallets or even plastic pallets that can handle tough environments, chemicals and more.

With literally billions of pallets in circulation around the world, it is easy to take them for granted and never truly see how useful they are, but hopefully we’ve given you some insight into how there is much more to the humble pallet than you thought – and that there are myriad ways they can be used.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallet

[ii] https://associated-pallets.co.uk/product-category/used-wooden-pallets/uk-standard-pallets-1200x1000mm/

The importance of eco-friendly packaging for online UK shoppers

Your favourite retailer has a sale, this is an exciting mini-fist pump moment and you make the mental note to look online later, and that evening your order is placed. The next day your parcel arrives – the box is huge! You question yourself on what you ordered, can you even remember? Or are you wondering if the correct item has been sent. Confusion sets in as you eagerly open the cardboard box. You’re shocked at the amount of excessive packaging is in the box – there’s loads of scrunched Kraft paper.  You rummage around somewhere underneath and you find your purchase.

The importance of eco-friendly packaging for online UK shoppers

‘Sustainability’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘recycling’ are all buzz words you are likely to be familiar with. Contrary to popular belief, online shoppers deem delivery costs and ensuring packages arrive safely to be more important than considering any environmental issues.

As ecommerce sales increase so will the demand and resources needed to support this supply chain.

As online shopping increases, the savvy and environmentally conscious are concerned about the detrimental effects to the environment if this continues, and this is an issue that affects us all.

94% of British adults say they care about the environment

We unearthed some of the UK’s recycling habits, although cardboard is the most commonly used packaging material used by retailers, 21% of people do not recycle their cardboard packaging, or will only sometimes recycle it. It begs the question of whether the UK cares as much about the environment as they say they do.

whistl, the delivery management company, conducted a recent survey identifying factors that influence online purchases. Results found, delivery to be the most important factor when buying online.

Interestingly, 75% of UK shoppers were frustrated with excessive packaging, and wanted retailers to reduce the volume of packaging used, and for retailers to adopt eco-friendly alternatives. While receiving inappropriately packed parcels was the biggest annoyance amongst respondents; 58% said they will not act upon this or voice their concerns, and will only have considerations about eco-friendly packaging as an afterthought, or will not consider eco-packaging at all. [i]

The cost of eco-friendly packaging

Half of UK consumers would be unwilling to pay more for environmentally-friendly packaging. Those who only consider the packaging once the order has been delivered or never consider it, and would not be willing to pay any more. Surprisingly, frequent shoppers would be willing to pay more for an eco-friendly option compared to those who shop online infrequently.

The study shows that if there was a charge for eco-friendly packaging options, UK shoppers are on average willing to pay 82p extra. Though the amount shoppers might be willing to pay decreases with age, those aged 18-24 are willing to pay £1.19 extra compared to just 47p more for those over 65.

Melanie Darvall, Whistl’s Director of Marketing and Communications, commented:

“These results show that although some consumers do care about the environmental impact of their packaging the cost of delivery and secure product packaging are the most important factors influencing UK online shoppers.

“However, minimising the amount of packaging sent to a consumer and ensuring that it can be recycled kerbside could boost how satisfied your customer will be once their item has been delivered.”

What is eco-friendly packaging?

The phrase ‘eco-friendly’ can have a number of definitions and there are different interpretations of the term. When respondents were asked what they considered environmentally-friendly packaging to mean, 92% strongly associate it as an item that can be recycled.

The definition of environmentally-friendly packaging, or eco-friendly friendly packaging, has a broad meaning. Ultimately it is packaging that has aimed or considered, to not have a negative impact on the environment. This could be how the raw materials are grown; the means to source the raw materials, the manufacturing process, what the packaging is made of, or how the packaging can be dealt with after its intended use.  To put simply, during its entire lifecycle, how sustainable is the packaging.

FSC certified packaging supplier

If you’re looking for eco-friendly packaging look out for companies that have eco-friendly accreditation and policies such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

For more information on environmentally friendly packaging, our Packaging Specialists are available to offer advice, simply contact us on 0800 542 44 29 or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

[i] https://www.whistl.co.uk/news/eco-packaging-does-it-matter/

Don’t get stuck with the wrong kind of tape – masking and paper tape guide

Masking tape and paper tape guide

Tape plays a vital role in any business and its uses are multifarious. From sticking things together, to sealing packages, to acting as de facto labels; without tape, many of us would quickly come unstuck.

But which kinds of tape are best for which jobs? Here we take a look at some of the common kinds of tape available and what each is best suited to. Let’s get stuck in…

What is masking tape?

Masking tape is a lightly adhesive, easy to tear, paper tape, that can be smoothly applied and removed without leaving marks or damage. Traditionally also known as painter’s tape, masking tape comes in a variety of widths and is designed for use in painting, to mask off areas that should not be painted.

Masking tape and labelling

Masking tape can be used for all sorts of things – especially making labels (image: Chiara Torre, Flikr)

However, the gentleness of masking tape – thanks to its low-level adhesive – makes it ideal for many other uses, not least in packaging.

What is masking tape used for?

Masking tape is used for an array of tasks despite it being originally designed for masking during painting. According to a Reader’s Digest study, people use it to mend everything from Hoover bags to umbrellas, to hang party streamers or to even make a road for toy cars!

Creative ideas with masking tape

Masking tape makes for a great road (image: pequefelicidad on Pinterest)

But by far its most prevalent, non-painting use is to label things – and this is where masking tape comes into its own. It offers a clean and simple way to label and identify small products or components, without damaging them. The tape sticks to most surfaces, be they metal or plastic, without leaving a mark – making it ideal for labelling in offices and warehouses. It is also water and heat resistant, so it is ideal for marking products that are shipped overseas.

It also comes in a multitude of sizes, with small tape being ideal to label and protect a small number of components, or to make sure that the goods remain untrammelled, there is a range of reliable Scotch 3M masking tape that can be cleanly removed after use.

What is paper tape?

Having learned about masking tape, you might now be asking yourself – ‘so what is paper tape?’. Understandably we can see why there might be some confusion over this popular material. Masking tape can apply itself to a multitude of tasks, it often isn’t adhesive enough to be used to seal boxes and packages. For that you need paper tape.

Paper tape applied to a cardboard box

Paper tape offers a much more secure way to seal up boxes and packages, being much more strongly adhesive. It is also water resistant and works well in humid conditions, making it ideal for sealing up boxes for transit or storage.

Self-adhesive paper tape can be quickly and neatly applied direct to the package or box, often from a dispenser.

Self-adhesive paper tape can be applied from a dispenserFor a more secure, longer-term seal, water-activated, gummed paper tape offers an ideal solution, again being applied using a special unit that moistens the tape as it is applied.

Gummed paper tape can be applied with water to affect long-lasting adhesion

Electronic water activated tape dispenser that moistens the tape, ready to be applied

What is paper tape used for?

As we have seen, paper tape is used for sealing up boxes and packages for shipping and transit – ideal for the long haul.

To quickly seal packages, self-adhesive paper tape can be readily applied with a neat, hand-held dispenser, that also features serrated teeth to snap it off at the exact length needed.

For a longer-term seal, gummed paper tape can be applied with water; once dry it bonds to the board. But gummed paper tape has another advantage: it can be recycled. Once pulled off – to open the package – it can be thrown in the recycling or left on the cardboard box, to produce, somewhere down the line, more paper tape, another cardboard box or perhaps even art.

Creating art with paper tape

Paper tape can be recycled – in this case into art (along with some packaging tape) (Image: Marcus Liddle, Flikr)

How to use paper tape?

You might be used to only using plastic tape but once you understand how to use paper tape, you will realise the benefits are suited for certain applications. Being made from paper, it is known for its recyclability. Paper tape – self-adhesive or gummed – is ideal for use on today’s recycled and partially recycled boxes. Many of today’s recycled boxes include a certain amount of plastic, making it hard for plastic tapes to stick and seal. Paper tape forms a much better bond with this sort of material.

Paper tape – especially gummed, reinforced paper tape is also more cost-effective. Cross reinforced tape is strong and, importantly, instantly adheres – so your operatives are using less of it than plastic tape, which most people tend to overuse in multiple layers.

To effectively use paper tape appropriately, remember to apply using a tape dispenser for a smoother adhesion and better application!

What about packaging tape?

So all this talk about paper tape, what about packaging tape. Of course paper tape and masking tape aren’t the only, or always the best options for labelling and sealing packages. Vinyl-based packaging tape is a strong and durable alternative to paper tape, offering a good strong seal for all manner of sizes of package or box.

As you can see, packaging tape comes in a range of sizes and colours and can even be used to usefully seal and label packages, marking them as ‘Fragile’, ‘Do Not Shake’ or even as a security seal to show that they haven’t been tampered with or opened in transit.

Fragile pre-printed vinyl tape is ideal for a strong seal and clear labelling

In conclusion

Packaging tape comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours and makes it one of the most versatile packaging materials. From masking tape that can gently hold things together or act as a lovely label, to paper tape that offers a strong, yet environmentally-friendly, way to seal boxes and packages from transit and storage, the role of tape is huge. Let’s not also forget about custom printed tape, this personalised tape is available in paper and plastic, it allows you to not only seal your packages securely, but also to add your all-important messaging or even some much needed branding – so your customers stick with you, if you’ll pardon the pun.

For more information on packaging tape, simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who are on hand to offer advice.  Visit rajapack.co.uk or contact 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Optimise your packing speed

Optimise your packing speedTime is money! This is certainly true in the world of logistics. It’s vital that you optimise the number of orders prepared per hour and shift. At each step of the order preparation process, our experts will provide you with advice to save those precious seconds and conserve the energy of your warehouse operations, so you can pack, protect and seal your parcels more efficiently.

This guide will cover the packing topics:

1. Choose the appropriate packaging materials

2. Protect effectively, where less is more

3. Seal your parcels quickly and correctly

4. The centralised packing platform, the packing bench

Before we get started, think of your own packing operations, read our 2 discussion topics: “The delivery promise, the important issue” andDoes seasonality affect your business?”

Thought topic: The delivery promise, the important issue

A disappointed customer is a customer, who potentially does not return and buys from you again. All your sales and marketing efforts go to waste if your customer expectations are not met at this crucial step; so you need to deliver quickly and do it well. This guide will offer you advice at each stage of the packing process, providing you with a number of solutions depending on your business and cost.

The customer has taken that step and come in contact with your brand, their journey has begun, they experience your company at the various touch points, gone through the buying decision process to finally (and hopefully!) make that purchase. And then you will fall at the last hurdle if delivery expectations are not met.

A disappointed customer means that for whatever reason, they had a poor experience with you, and because of this will unlikely to return and buy again. Their journey up till the point of purchase, despite how smooth and seamless it was, has now unfortunately been forgotten, because the promised delivery expectation has not been met.

Delivery is as important as the purchase.

Thought topic: Does seasonality affect your business?

In the B2B as well as B2C sectors, the Christmas season means that our customers have to prepare differently than at other times of the year. For example, rapidly expanding board game manufacturer, IELLO, has two key periods which have to be precisely planned by its logistics team.

From May to June they distribute their bestselling products in anticipation of the Christmas peak in sales. They send pallets and large boxes in big quantities over a short period to retailers in preparation for this busy period.

The other substantial amount of stock is for direct selling on their ecommerce website at the end of the year. This is pure B2C logistics with an emphasis on fast delivery to the consumer. They must deliver quickly and ensure the parcel gets to its destination, and in good condition, otherwise the customer could be lost to another board game manufacturer.

Depending on the seasonality of your business, you’ll need to gear up your workforce and do your profitability calculations during and outside your peak sales periods.

Packing speed affects delivery times

Pack, protect and seal your parcels. If you improve efficiencies in your packing team, multiply those efficiencies by the number of orders, the savings and overall gains for your team and business  become fairly significant.

The 3 stages of packing

      1. Choose the appropriate packaging materials

The choice of packaging impacts the speed of your order preparation. Certain choices might seem trivial but for the packing team, it can save seconds meaning more orders packed per hour whilst requiring less effort. With the energy saved, more time can be channelled into other areas of the packing process for each delivery, such as the quality of each parcel and reducing any packing errors.

Swap your boxes for envelopes and mailing bags

Where possible, think of how you can optimise your packing materials, if changing your boxes to envelopes or mailing bags is an option, here are 2 advantages why you’ll be on to a winner:

  • Speed of execution –time is saved, the bags are ready to use, compared with manually assembling a box
  • Cost of transport – bags are lighter, the weight and volume of your shipments will reduce, meaning overall transport costs are reduced

Some might think envelopes and mailing bags are limited to low value goods, but in fact, its only limitations could be size or type of product. The mailing bag is a good core product, whilst cartons and boxes are also a reliable option, for example for international shipments. Most ecommerce retailers favour cardboard packaging, particularly the popular double wall box as their packaging of choice.

Try Kraft paper mailing bags, a change from the popular plastic mailing bags!

This ecological paper alternative will certainly surprise you, not only does it have an adhesive strip to save you applying tape, as we know time-saving is important, but it is made from heavy duty FSC 10gsm Kraft paper with a tensile strength of 9.5kN/m!

Kraft mailing bags

Choose environmentally packaging alternatives or call our Packaging Specialists to find out how you can go green!

The crash-lock box will revolutionise the work of your packing team

We see 3 key benefits switching from standard cardboard boxes to crash-lock boxes:

Time saving: the box is assembled 2.5 times quicker on average than a standard box

Energy saving: it may be 2.5 times quicker to assemble but at the same time it’s 2.5 times easier to assemble. Your packing team will thank you for switching to crash-lock boxes! Just take a look at our crash-lock box video to see it in action if you haven’t done so yet

Space saving: our customers have commented that previously they had to assemble standard boxes in batches, but now packers can easily construct boxes with the crash-lock bases on demand, saving warehouse space

Crashlock boxes

    1. Protect effectively, where less is more

Protective packaging is something that you’ll need to think about to protect your products during transit. Here are some solutions that work to reduce the time and resource required for this part of the packing process.

Perforated protective packaging

One way to save time during the protective packaging process is to reduce the reliance on tools. Perforated protective packaging eliminates the need for a cutter. Watch our perforated bubble wrap vs standard bubble wrap video!

Perforated bubble wrap

The bubble bag with adhesive strip

Not only does a bubble bag completely wrap around products, the readily available adhesive strip secures the product within the bag. No additional tape is required, and importantly no excessive bubble wrap is needed, see the packing speed for yourself by clicking on the video below!

Bubble bag with adhesive strip

Rajapack top tipTop tip: Bubble bags with an adhesive strip are perfect for awkward shaped items, products can effortlessly slot inside the bag and the adhesive is a simple peel and seal.

If you have awkward shaped items, is bespoke packaging an option?

If you have high volumes of similar orders and your product isn’t a standard box shape, it is ideal to use packaging that fits your products well, like a glove. Custom and bespoke packaging not only saves on the amount of protective packaging used, but also in packing time.

Best practices of bespoke packaging

Having packaging that fits closer to the product is best, as it avoids movement and reduces damages. Bespoke packaging will fit like a glove, it reduces the amount or need for protective packaging. Here are 3 key best practices we should remember:

  • Be eco-responsible: think about ways to go green, bespoke packaging avoids the use of unnecessary protective materials
  • Be logistic-smart: efficient packaging materials means lighter loads and optimised packed pallets for reduced overall transportation costs
  • Be ready: for a quick turnaround, no time is wasted packing your order with ready to use custom made packaging fit for purpose

Discuss your needs with our Specials Executives on 0800 630 06 21 for a free no obligation quotation!

Protective packaging systems

Protective packaging machines are ideal for ecommerce companies processing multi and/or similar orders, in large volumes. Once installed the need for a packing system is apparent and will quickly pay for itself in terms of the speed of orders processed by the packer. Most importantly, it will allow you to exceed a threshold of orders picked and packed per hour without the need to bring in temporary staff.

We understand that it can be a daunting prospect if you’re not sure on what you’re looking for,  contact our Machine Specialist for machine rental options, or why not try the free Rajasystem interactive machines guide – no registration required!

Rajasystem interactive machines guide

For advice and information on whether a packaging system is right for your business, or to improve efficiencies of your warehouse operation call a Machine Specialist on 0800 142 26 46

  1. Seal your parcels quickly and correctly

The closure stage is crucial to ensure your parcels are safe and secure in transit. We’ve put together a few suggestions to ensure the security of your deliveries, whilst making time savings!

Can you seal a parcel without using any packaging tape?

Yes, it is possible to not use packaging tape, it will certainly save time and money. Tape requires space needed to store stock, and you’ll have to monitor your supply. However, it does depend on what you are packing and therefore what packaging you will need. Mailing bags and postal boxes are available with an integrated adhesive strip. You’ll increase your packing speed with the ready to use strip, save space by not having to store stock, as well as reducing the amount of tape used within the business. So, look out for packaging with the peel and seal adhesive strips!

How to benefit from gummed paper tape

You might not be aware about this packaging product, but gummed paper tape is one of the most effective and eco-friendly ways to secure your parcels. Amazon, one of the largest ecommerce retailers use paper tape on all shipments, and it is also custom printed with their branding, two brilliant benefits!

Rajapack top tipTop tip: We recommend that you apply any tape using a tape dispenser – for gummed paper tape use a paper tape dispenser, and to speed up operations even more use an electronic water activated tape dispenser.

Gummed paper tape has a natural adhesive, it is tamper evident so you can see if the tape has been removed from the carton and most importantly, eco-friendly and can be recycled with the box.

The closure of the box

This is a great time saving piece of equipment for large production lines, a box closing machine is often one of the first machine investments a high volume warehouse will make.

Rajapack top tipTop tip: make sure you use machine tape instead of standard tape, it has a longer tape length so require less changes.

  1. The centralised packing platform, the packing bench

Some might call it a workstation, a packing bench or a packing station. Whatever the term, it is the central location and area for you to pack and prepare parcels to then be shipped and sent.   This platform allows you to be organised, efficient and prepared, and is more than a standard workbench or table. It provides a clear working space with dedicated areas to access your components and equipment, whether you’re wrapping, blocking, bracing or sealing – the structured frame will help equip you with tools for a seamless operation.

Contact Rajapack

For information on workstations and finding a solution that suits you, discuss your needs with a Packaging Specialist on 0800 542 44 28.

Label it – the ultimate guide to shipping labels

How to label a package

Famously, letters used to arrive on Arthur Wellesley’s doormat having being simply addressed ‘Number 1, London’. While this worked for the Duke of Wellington, today’s ecommerce merchants need to include far more detail than that for packages to not only arrive where they are supposed to, but also to pass seamlessly through the international shipping network.

Here we outline all you need to know – from the basics to the details – of how to label packages for shipping, so that they get where they need to go, get there when they are promised and get there in one piece.

How to label a parcel

Knowing how to label a parcel for delivery has two distinct, yet equally important, attributes: the current name, address and shipping details and the correct kind of label, positioned accurately and firmly.

How to fill out a label

Understanding how to fill out a label depends on the country that it is being sent to, however, the rule of thumb for domestic UK parcels, according to Royal Mail, is that the name and address go on the bottom left-hand corner on the front of the package and is structured with name, building or house number and street, town, city, postcode – all clearly printed or hand written on separate lines in left-aligned text with no full stops or commas.

How to fill out a shipping label

How to fill out a shipping label

For packages going further afield, vendors need to think carefully about how to fill out a shipping label. This differs from simply sending a parcel as you need to factor in the shipping method specified by the customer. If they have selected priority shipping, you need to mark your package accordingly and pay the right postage/shipping fee.

If you are using a courier you will also need to print out their labelling as this will feature all the barcoded information that they need to get the package through their systems from collection to delivery.

How you fill in the shipping label will depend largely on the carrier and can usually be done via their website and printed out. See the section below for some examples as we look more in depth at shipping labels.

How to label a package

Before we take a more detailed look at shipping labels, it is worth pausing to look at how to label a package so that the label stays attached. While getting the details right is crucial, making sure that the label stays affixed is also key.

The best way to do this is to print the shipping details onto bespoke shipping labels and to make sure that they are properly attached.

You will also have to mark the package with what it contains: outlining whether the contents is fragile, perishable, corrosive, flammable and so on. You may also want to label your parcel “this way up” if the goods need to be kept level.

While many shipping companies will require the details of what is being shipped – especially if you’re dealing with international freight – these types of labels also help the goods arrive in prime condition: something vital to your business.

Document enclosed labels with the words ‘Documents enclosed’ printed on the actual label have the dual purpose of denoting what products are found in the parcel, as well as displaying the delivery address for the courier.

Plain printed and green doc enclosed

Documents enclosed envelope labels: putting all the details in a handy adhesive wallet is a great idea

There is also an extensive range of other labels to denote contents and handling instructions, such as ‘Fragile’, ‘Handle With Care’ – which are there to help keep the product ship shape during transport, as well as to inform the carrier of the special requirements or to warn of any dangers or issues with the contents.

Shipping labels

‘Fragile’ and ‘This Way Up’ are just some of the ways to label your package

And for extra safety, there are even TiltWatch packaging labels, where the indicator turns red if the parcel has been tilted 90 degrees or more.

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

TiltWatch packaging labels: a handy way to see if your package has been kept the right way up

How to label a box for shipping

As we have seen, learning how to label a box for shipping is key to getting your package to the right person, at the right time and in mint condition. Shipping labelling is vital to making this happen.

What is a shipping label?

A shipping label differs from an address label in that it not only features the address of where the package is to go, but also specifies the contents of the container being shipped.

When looking at how to write a shipping label, you must make sure that it contains the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, its weight, the contents of the package and, if the merchandise is subject to any form of inspection – especially when it crosses borders – the inspection information must also be included.

Labels also include information relating to the method of shipping – be it priority, standard and so on – the carrier, the date sent and tracking information for the shipper.

What does a shipping label look like?

If you’re unsure on what a shipping label looks like, below is an example, but yours will feature the specific information you need to display dependent on what you are shipping and how.

What does a shipping label look like

How to put a shipping label on a package

The shipping label should be on one side of your package – ideally the top if there is a ‘This Way Up’ label on the package – and should be sized so that it fits entirely on that side. Ensure you put a shipping label on a packaging without it being folded over the edges or parts of the label being on the sides, as important information might not be seen or it might prevent it from being scanned!

If you use self-adhesive labels, make sure that they are firmly applied, with no missed corners sticking up, as this could cause the label to be accidentally removed or damaged.

Some shippers also like to cover their labels in transparent tape or insert them into an affixed plastic wallet such as a Documents Enclosed Envelope to protect them from moisture and other damage. This is good practice, but make sure that the whole label is displayed and that the label can be read easily.

In conclusion

So, for anyone who isn’t the Duke of Wellington, these are our top tips for labelling packages for shipping. Remember to clearly show the name and address, show the sender, the contents, weight, priority and customer’s requirements – and make sure that everything is on the label and is firmly secured to the package and, where you think necessary, protected with tape or a cover.

Also consider how to mark your packages with relevant labels, which will help to get it to their destination in mint condition, so look at where best to use ‘Fragile’, ‘This Way Up’ and other labels to help instruct carriers and customers on how to handle the package with care.

For more information, why not read our Labelling Packaging for Shipping guide or visit www.rajapack.co.uk to see our entire range of packaging labels, or call our team of experienced Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 4428.

What’s new for Rajapack customers in 2019?

Late last month we held our fourth Annual Supplier Day which featured new products, discussions about the latest trends and innovations, and problem solving with leading industry experts.

As usual this was a busy, lively day full of interactive workshops and seminars, giving everyone the opportunity to learn from our specialist suppliers. This year was also the first to showcase the Welco team with an area dedicated to warehouse equipment, products and suppliers.

Packaging industry - Rajapack Supplier day 2019

“Just wanted to say what a fantastic day we had… once again I was impressed with the enthusiasm and work ethic of the team at Rajapack and Welco” – QMP

What’s new in packaging for 2019?

The supplier exhibition ran throughout the day alongside workshop seminars by Ranpak, Southgate, Jiffy and Reedbut, who featured new product lines, packaging innovations and problem solving activities for everyone to get involved in. The day then rounded off with a 3-course dinner and the Rajapack Annual Supplier Excellence Awards.

Supplier Focus: Ranpak

Rajapack 2019 Supplier Excellence Awards Ranpak seminar

“I loved the Ranpak seminar, very useful and informative! Also great to speak to suppliers… I learnt a lot about the Welco side of things” – Rajapack employee

We were proud to host Ranpak again this year and Andy Murray, a Senior Account Manager, presented the first workshop of the day. The focus was around growing customer demand for more environmentally friendly products, as a result of this Ranpak is growing their line of paper-based products and making them available to customers this year.

Also announced was a brand-new product for 2019 – an innovation in protective packaging called the WrapPak Protector. This versatile, sustainable and cost-efficient packaging machine produces waved paper pads and will be available online with the launch of our new March 2019 Rajapack catalogue.

Supplier Focus: Southgate

Rajapack 2019 Supplier Excellence Awards Southgate seminar

“This day helped me with developing my product knowledge. It was good to see suppliers and asking them questions I get from my customers” – Rajapack employee

Dale Turner, Business Development Manager from Southgate, dived into the second workshop of the day by discussing the correct usage of void fill and minimising unnecessary waste. Dale brought this lesson to life with an animated competition to see who can use the minimum amount of air pillows when packing plates into a box. Each box was then drop tested and opened with very mixed results!

Some plates broke and some did not, showing the importance of efficient packing and using quality pillows. Often, less is more in terms of product protection with no need to overuse protective packaging.

The second competition from the Southgate presentation was a race against time to construct and seal boxes using 2 different types of tape; gummed tape that’s used with the water activated tape dispenser machine vs. non-paper tape using a hand dispenser.

Results showed that the gummed paper tape was quicker and easier than the non-paper tape, with less waste. The handheld tape dispenser was certainly quick at sealing cartons, the ridge of the dispenser guided the tape to the carton and the in-built blade effectively cut the tape. However, the electronic water activated dispenser was quicker as the tape length could be pre-set, allowing the tape to be applied in one swift motion and smoothed down by hand to the board. The gummed tape was much quicker and had a cleaner and tidier finish, used less tape, and is environmentally friendlier too.

Supplier Focus: Jiffy

Fiona MacDougall, Jiffy at the Rajapack Supplier day


“I think this year was the best supplier day we have had so far, great atmosphere all day and evening with everyone getting to know one another” – Rajapack employee

We were pleased to welcome household name Jiffy to our Supplier Day again this year. Fiona MacDougall, Sales and Marketing Director, presented the seminar featuring Jiffy’s new lines of product innovation for 2019.

To further develop the knowledge of our Packaging Specialists, attendees were split into teams and presented with several problem scenarios in a packing application. The scenarios featured a wide range of examples from industry sectors, from packing leather suites, to essential oils and gifts, through to alloy wheels and chilled food. The teams were then tasked to problem solve the different scenarios.   

After the session Jiffy presenter Fiona MacDougall commented:

“The team were engaged and asked lots of questions. Their knowledge on how they would service the problems was excellent, and I felt they enjoyed the session and learned a lot more about our product range.”

Supplier Focus: Reedbut

The final workshop of the day was presented by Martyn Clarke, Group Sales Director and Tony Waddell, Product Specialist, from Reedbut and had a focus on the environment and how we can make a difference.

Shockingly, the level of plastics in our oceans is set to treble over the next 10 years. The popularity of the BBC nature show Blue Planet II caused such a huge impact on the nation that more customers want to talk about environmentally friendly packaging options with their packaging provider, such as moving to corrugated solutions.

Martyn and Tony then went on to discuss paper weights and asked the question: Are all papers equal, even if they weigh the same? We discovered the answer is no, and neither are the current cardboard grades which are offered by sheet feeders.

Many sheet feeders don’t track, control or guarantee board and box performance, which can lead to variations up to 30% in performance. Reedbut summarised by suggesting a change in how the industry supply and quote on these products, by moving away from using grades based on historical nominal paper weights.

The Supplier Excellence Awards 2019

Into the evening, we held our Supplier Excellence Awards, which gave us an opportunity to recognise and award our suppliers for their support across the year.

Awards evening - Rajapack Supplier Excellence Awards 2019

Congratulations to all our winners!

  • Proactive Supplier of the Year is awarded to the supplier who has proactively demonstrated new approaches, products, services or processes within the course of their business with Rajapack that is delivering or has delivered tangible results.

Winner: Southgate Packaging

  • Customer Experience Award celebrates suppliers who have gone above and beyond to support Rajapack’s customers during 2018 and is given to the supplier who can demonstrate that they have Rajapack’s customer at the heart of all they do.

Winner: Premier Limpet Ltd

  • Service Excellence Award is given to the supplier who has been able to demonstrate an excellent track record of service excellence within 2018 through consistency & quality of supply, whilst providing professional, responsive and proactive communication.

Winner: Anco Storage Equipment Ltd

  • Extra Mile Award recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond to support Rajapack throughout 2018.

Winner: Gary Higgs from Readycase

  • And finally, the prestigious Rajapack Supplier of the Year Award, is given to the supplier who has demonstrated best in class proactivity, innovation, product quality, service & customer service thereby achieving exceptional mutual sales growth during 2018.

Winner: Diamond Box

Feedback from attendees shows this year’s supplier day was energetic and interactive, making it the most memorable supplier day so far. Over the past few years this day has grown in importance for the industry and is now seen as a must-attend event due to the value being placed on supplier announcements, interactive workshops and the importance of networking.

Finally, Chris Liddell, Product and Purchasing Director at Rajapack, had this to say about the Supplier Day 2019:

“This year’s Rajapack Supplier Day was bigger and better than before, with over 25 market leading suppliers demonstrating innovative products and solutions to Rajapack’s team of Packaging Specialists. This year, the theme was how Rajapack can continue to work together in 2019, to deliver exceptional product choice, quality and market leading customer service to our customers.

With the support from our suppliers, in 2019, Rajapack is launching a wider range of warehouse and handling product solutions. The key takeaway from Supplier Day 2019, was innovative packaging solutions, to reduce our customer’s environmental impact.”

New Year’s budget resolutions for 2019

With the end of year reports finalised for 2018, it is likely that you’ve set your business plans for 2019. To help make sure nothing is forgotten, we’ve shortlisted the top 5 key areas that might be worth considering, to help your ecommerce operation run smoothly.

Rajapack guide for responsible logistics and budgeting for 2019

We’ll provide some handy hints and tips to improve the customer experience, help your business go green and how to manage your warehouse and logistics supply chain, to enable you to have a successful 2019.

#1 Strengthen your customers’ experience

Not only is it a trend across all sectors, businesses are now focusing more on the customer presentation, choosing a customer-centric approach. It is also an opportunity to promote your brand to potential customers.                  

Consider how our TV viewing habits have changed in recent years – it really is quite staggering. The norm of flat screen TVs has advanced to high definition, and now smart TV’s, with cinemas now offering 4D viewings that deliver a multi-sensory experience.

Improve the unboxing experience

The same can be observed in the ecommerce industry. A new customer’s loyalty to a brand can be won from their first order, firstly was it received within the expected lead time, secondly, what is the external condition of the item when it arrives.  Of course freight and couriers might not be in your control, but think about is in your control. What does the customer see when the package is opened? First impressions count, and that’s why the unboxing experience  is so important for many businesses.

Ideas to make your company memorable for all the right reasons:

  • Easy to use packaging: your packaging might look fantastic but it’s vital to make sure it is easy to open without making the customer struggle. One of our bestsellers in our ecommerce range is the panel wrap book box with a practical tear strip.
  • Make sending returns easy: making the returns procedure as smooth as possible will ensure customer retention as the customer will feel confident to purchase again, this is all part of the buying experience. Innovative packaging such as returnable wraparound media boxes can help your eco-footprint as no additional materials are required, whilst keeping the returns process simple for your customers.
  • Enhance the product experience: develop and reinforce the customer journey by customising your packaging to create a positive unboxing experience.

#2 Choose eco-friendly packaging alternatives

As the ecommerce sector continues to grow rapidly, the resources needed to support this industry also increases. Go green and use more eco-friendly packaging options.

With the increase of ecommerce sales, the demand for packaging has increased but the good news is that eco-friendly packaging alternatives are available. You can choose from corrugated cardboard packaging to even biodegradable void fill that is made from potato packaging!

Organisations are under a lot of pressure to ensure they include sustainable measures within their supply chain, and the much talked about problem with plastic is a concern for the human nation not just manufacturers. In a survey we carried out, our results raised the very important questions of, do we care as much about the environment as we think we do? And do we think we’re greener than we actually are?

Our advice:

  • Eco-responsible purchasing policy: use responsibly sourced supplies where possible and consider your supply chain. And also review the environmental impact of your business.
  • Be aware of new technologies: develop your packing processes, where possible, switch to environmentally-responsible packaging alternatives.
  • Going green doesn’t have to cost the earth… and certainly doesn’t affect the protection qualities of the packaging. Eco-packaging can also help reduce your cost per shipment by using innovative packaging designs and reducing unnecessary void-fill and tape for example.

A simple eco-friendly wrapping solution that protects and presents your products like the Geami WrapPak® EX MINI is perfect for small businesses that run from home.

Geami eco gift wrap and protection

#3 Improve efficiencies in your logistics chain                 

Customers are expecting shorter delivery times, so manage your warehouse to improve efficiencies in the logistics supply chain, to be able to deliver on the customer experience.

Reducing transportation and logistics expense is important to all businesses, particularly with fluctuating fuel costs. One thing you do have control over is reducing the weight and volume of your shipments and streamlining your packing process to deliver your orders quickly and avoiding damage.

Optimise your transport costs

Why not take a read of our article, The future of last mile logistics and learn how two forward-thinking companies handle their deliveries.

Our advice:

  • Technology is the future: consider investing in new systems that will enable you to increase your output, as customers increasingly expect more from your business.
  • Research readily available resources: it will save you time and help you make decisions for your business. For example, if you need a packaging box but not sure on your options, by entering your product dimensions in our online tool the results will list appropriate box sizes. This will avoid the need for additional packaging and will also reduce the weight!
  • Ask for expect advice or support: discuss your business needs with a Packaging Specialist to find solutions and optimise your processes, whether you’re a start-up business or have a warehouse sendings 000s of consignments daily, it’s worth a call.
  • Invest in multipurpose packaging and processes: from a tangible point of view, the popular foam postal box has complete wraparound foam that requires no additional protection that is quick to house products. Implementing an innovative new packing process might prove tempting, but you’ll need to check if it suits your business and can grow with you.
  • Invest and grow: with any new logistics upgrade there are initial upfront investments, but the long term transport and logistic gains will hopefully be visible in your next budget review.

#4 Customise your packaging

From ordering to unboxing, customer experiences are as valuable as the product itself. Keep customers engaged and retain their business.           

Custom printed boxes

2019 New Year’s resolution: Be bold and customise your packaging with your brand!

Internal and external custom printed boxes

Customised packaging can help say a lot about your business. We have spoken to some of our customers across different industries, from retail to food and healthcare. Together we have compiled ways to create brand marketing materials and merchandise for a range of budgets.

Inserting a flyer

It’s what’s on the flyer that matters. Think about the content and what message you would like your customers to know or want them to do.  Why not encourage customers to share positive experiences, include a promotion code to encourage a repeat purchase or personalise the flyer with the recipient’s name or even the name of the person who packed their order. This is more complex, but can be a nice personal touch. Get inspired by what online retailers Cheerz or Le Closet do in terms of inserted messages.

Inserting flyer in your parcels

Personalised tissue paper

Match the tissue paper to your business colours or custom print with your brand logo. Tissue paper is widely used across the retail and the ecommerce industry, particularly for specialist boutiques for added luxury. If you choose to invest in customised packaging, tissue paper is a simple choice, though less impactful as only the recipient will see this, but think of the reactions and feelings created.  This will surely add value to their unboxing experience.  If custom print is not an option, choosing coloured tissue paper in your brand colours is a quick alternative to personalise packaging, or even patterned tissue paper.

Customise items that seal your packages

Rajaprint custom printed tapes

Benefits of custom printed tape:

  • Added security and tamper resistant: your custom printed tape is unique and cannot be easily re-taped.
  • Brand reinforcement: continue your brand experience through the entire customer journey, including brand recognition from carriers.
  • Doubling-up with an added benefit: if tape is a necessity in your packing area, the added benefits of it being branded has no additional steps in your packing processes, nor does it require any additional storage space.

Rajapack hintsTop tip: Find out the different custom print tape options suitable for your business whilst making sure you select the correct tape type for your shipments. Remember, it is easy to get carried away with the design and colour, but the main purpose is to still seal your parcels! You can learn about your tape options and see a 3D preview of your branded tape before you purchase, by using online tape designing tools such as Rajaprint.

Do you have an eco-responsible purchasing policy? There are even customisable paper alternatives available. Self-adhesive paper sealing tape and gummed paper tape are environmentally friendly options that are recyclable.

Do your shipments require a heavy duty alternative? Instead of packaging tape, then personalised strapping could be your answer.

Customised labels

For an effective low-cost option, alongside tissue paper, for added decoration and protection, why not use a customised label to seal the tissue paper together, or the label can be used to close your parcels externally. Once again there is a great opportunity to think about the brand experience as the label can be used for any messaging, not just your logo!

Rajapack hintsGet creative with your content! Messaging includes your sales and promotions too, so get your marketing team involved for a multi-channel sales approach!

Customise your core packaging range

Unboxing is a phenomenon that has taken over YouTube in recent years and shared across social media, as you may be aware social media sharing is all free advertising, and will increase your reach to new target audiences. Personalising your core packaging range such as your boxes, bags and envelopes has been adopted by many businesses. This personalised approach of your packaging range, extends the exposure of you brand to customers.

Messaging in your custom printed boxes

Our advice:

  • Get customising: with so many options available, it is difficult to list all the merchandise options that can be customised. Contact a supplier and discuss your requirements and find out what is possible for your business.
  • Innovative ideas: have you seen something that you like? Play on own your personal experiences or emulate brands that inspire you.
  • Get creative with your content: what do you want customers to think of and do when they open your order? What lasting impression do want to leave with your customers?
  • Need help or advice? Packaging Specialists are available to help guide you through this custom print and bespoke packaging journey. With so many options available it can be tricky but working through what’s not right for your business can help find what is!

Contact Rajapack0800 630 06 21 or email specials@rajapack.co.uk

#5 Boost the productivity of your warehouse

Improve your packaging efficiencies with the use of new technologies, such as, automating your warehouse processes to equip your business, which will help your business increase output.

Getting the level of resource correct in your warehouse fulfilment operation is vital. Less operatives could mean less loads packed and will affect number of loads shipped. Investing in employees is important and giving them the right tools and training to do their job is key.

Improve warehouse productivity and efficiency

Our advice:

  • A guide to packaging machines: at Rajapack we categorise packaging machines and systems into three different types, by the type of protection they offer. Take some time to familiarise yourself with what’s on the market.
  • Research readily available resources: once again, take advantage of tools that exist! It is easy to be overwhelmed by the choice of packaging machines, but the Rajasystem interactive guide uses your answers to filter appropriate machinery and systems to your business needs.
  • Free packaging consultations and audits: our packaging audit will allow opportunities to review your packing operations and show you ways to gain efficiencies with what is available in the industry. We cannot always reinvent the wheel but we can bring innovations to market for your business!
  • Warehouse and workshop equipment: depending on the scale, you’ll need to think about the wider support needed for an organised packing workstation and more efficient warehouse operation.

Forward plan where possible especially when it comes to peak periods. Have you checked your warehouse equipment recently? Have you done a stock take? These require an investment, so take the time to research this properly and not take short cuts to avoid any last minute surprises.

Ecommerce budgets tips for 2019

  • Environmental friendly logistics – eco-responsible packaging and optimise load space.
  • Improve the customer experience – enhance the appearance and design of your packaging.
  • Optimise your warehouse and make it more efficient – try and make efficiencies across transport, warehouse processes and equipment.

What are your 2019 business goals?

For a no obligation free audit and consultation, do not hesitate to contact the team on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk