Monthly Archives: March 2020

Types of edge and corner protectors

When it comes to transporting products we all want our goods to arrive in perfect condition. If palletised or stacked, packages can be particularly vulnerable as their square edges and corners are particularly exposed to bruising or crushing. But help is at hand: as part of the wide range of packaging materials available to retailers and shippers are a plethora of edge and corner protectors.

From foam corner protectors to sturdy cardboard edge protectors, there are a vast array of solutions to this problem, both in standard and non-standard size. Here we take a look at what is on offer and how best to use them.

Types of edge and corner protectors

There are a wide range of edge and corner protectors designed to suit the needs of the wide variety of packages stacked and wrapped, palletised and shrink wrapped. Let’s start at the corners, as these are particularly prone to bangs and bashes as boxes are stacked and moved around and loaded against each other for transit purposes.

Foam U profile edge protectorsCorner protectors can be made of either cardboard or foam. Corner foam can be either a simple ‘U’ shape corners protectors or, more elaborately, full corner protectors design to protect in three dimensions, each designed for very specific uses

U shaped foam corner protectors are designed to grip tables, shelving, wooden boards or furniture for added protection during transit or storage. They are strong and absorb small impacts, as well as being temperature resistant between -40 and +100ºC.

3D foam corners, meanwhile, are designed to provide protection and extra support to the corners of boxes and palletised goods. They are simple to pop on the corners and are non-abrasive.

Both these and the ‘U’ shaped foam corner protectors are made from closed cell polyethylene foam, CFC and HFC free. They are also 100% recyclable.

How do edge protectors work?

Edge protectors, meanwhile, have a very different role to play. They are similarly used to protect the edges of boxes and palletised boxes from bumps and bashes, but they can also beused to protect the boxes from the fixings used to hold boxes together and on the pallets themselves.

General purpose edge protectors protect and strengthen stacks of boxes

They are also used to add structure and strength to palletised boxes, especially under shrink and film wrap. Together with the fixings and the wrap, these cardboard or foam edge protectors add structure and stabilise loads, so that not only are the goods protected from knocks and bangs, but won’t collapse under their own weight or puncture the cardboard when being moved.

Also available are edge protectors that are used to help support strapping and fixings. These come in both cardboard and moulded plastic, with the plastic offering able to both protect the package from the force of the strap as well as holding the strap securely in place, preventing potentially dangerous movement of the packages.

White card protectors such as moisture resistant edge protectors, also have their specialist uses. While affording protection to stackable pallet loads and held with fixings, these moisture resistant, poly-coated white paper protectors are ideal for use where the pallets are to be stored in cold and/or damp locations for a period of time, such as in a cold store.

These moisture resistant edge protectors stabilise, protect and reinforce unsteady or variable pallet loads during transport and storage. Keeping their strength in humid conditions they can also be used to add reinforcements to cartons.

How do corner protectors work?

Where edge protectors protect from knocks, fixings and add structure, corner protectors are very specifically designed to protect the corners of items such as tables, worktops, shelves and other ‘flat’ goods that have pronounced and often sharp corners.

Table corner protectors can be either plastic or foam and simply slip over the edges of the corners and prevent bumps. Foam corners grip the surface of the table and protect both the table and those handling it from sharp edges.

One solution for tables, worktops and other furniture corner protection are expanding corner protectors, that can stretch from 20 to 40mm and so can handle non-standard sized items.

Similarly worktop corner protectors are vital to preventing these expensive and often bespoke pieces of wood, stone or metal from getting damaged during routine handling. With worktops costing many hundreds – sometimes thousands – of pounds, preventing them getting bashed or chipped; damage that could write off the whole piece.

Heavy duty pallet racking protectors - corner protectors can also be used for safety

As we have seen, there is also a need for safety corner protectors, where the corner protectors not only protect the goods, but also protect those handling the goods.

While heavy duty pallet racking protectors protect vulnerable pallet racking uprights and end-frames from damage from fork lift trucks, protect corners of buildings and doorways and can be put around machines, more simple foam and plastic protectors popped on the ends of shelves and other goods stop personnel hurting themselves when handling the goods.

Foam corner protectors vs cardboard corner protectors

So where do you use foam corner protectors and where do you use cardboard corner protectors? Foam corner protectors are ideal for use where edges aren’t straight, as they are flexible as well as strong. Their ‘spongey’ consistency also makes them ideal for adsorbing small impacts and are good a gripping the surfaces of things that are made from glass, such as pictures, mirrors and glass table tops.

Foam protectors can also be coloured, offering warnings or indications of the nature of the goods being protected – as well as making sure it is clear they have to be removed for use.

Cardboard edge protection, meanwhile, is used for protection but is often more useful for handling pressure points under fixings and strapping, as well as providing additional structure, strength and stability to packages. It too can be coloured or have warnings printed on it, but typically is used in its natural state.

Some other corner protectors

There are a number of other cardboard and foam protectors available for pallets, packages and non-standard shaped goods.

Cardboard pallet corners are ideal for added protection for the corners of square palletised goods in warehouses and during transit. Solid and shockproof these carton protectors are ready to use, just apply to the corners of your product.

L profile cardboard corner protectors ideal for individual boxes

L-shaped cardboard edges are ideal for protecting individual boxes, both from damage and from fixings. They are also ideal for non-standard sized and non-palletised items.

Standard extruded mesh sleeves ideal for really delicate items for the added protection

Often used in conjunction with other protective materials, extruded mesh sleeves are ideal for protecting very delicate objects before they are boxed up. They are strong, flexible, colourful and ideal for glassware.

Self-adhesive blocks prevent movement in boxes

Self-adhesive foam blocks are protective pads that stick to the inside of cartons and protect the contents from movement or damage. Supplied in sheets one surface has a permanent adhesive protected with a peel off backing. The foam pads are pre-scored; just snap them off the sheet.


Bubble vs foam packaging: Do you know the difference?

Read the guide>>

 


Want to know more about our wide range of cardboard and foam edge and corner protectors?

For additional advice on cardboard and foam edge and corner protectors, mesh, blocks and all kinds of fixings, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions and arrange next day delivery. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

Large cardboard boxes vs small cardboard boxes: what are the benefits?

The benefits of getting the right sized box are clear: your goods will fit snuggly in, will be well protected and ready to be stored, transported, posted or archived. Here we take a look at what kinds of cardboard boxes are available in what sizes, how to choose the right ones for storage, postage or archiving and take a look at the benefits of large boxes and small boxes.

Small and big cardboard boxes

Large cardboard boxes vs small cardboard boxes: what are the benefits

The chief benefit large cardboard boxes have over small ones is that you can put many small cardboard boxes inside large boxes, shipping smaller items in bulk and giving the goods therein the protection of, essentially, two boxes.

However, large boxes and small boxes come in a wide variety of not only sizes but also formats and sizes, each designed to offer the perfect storage and/or transport solution based around the goods being shipped.

Naturally, for large and bulky items, you will need a large cardboard box – triple walled cardboard boxes. It’s great if, say, you have engine parts to dispatch.  Similarly, 700mm double-walled boxes are designed to stack on pallets – they are standard Euro sized – and are ideal for the storage or transportation of all those items in smaller boxes.

Small boxes on the other hand have a varied array of uses. These come in a variety of sizes and can have reasonably secure lids – making them ideal for sending items through the post, as well as for packaging, storage and, as we shall see, archiving.

How do you store any item safely in archive boxes?

Storing items safely in archive boxes is a vital part of any business. Even in the digital era, it is essential to keep hold of paperwork pertaining to everything from tax to HR to publications and more – and this specific form of storage requires a specific form of box: the archive box.

Archive boxes are designed to be sized to accommodate the standard kinds of paper used in modern offices and, with their sturdy construction and closable lids are ideal for keeping out moisture, damp, dirt and dust – as well as stopping sunlight damage fading what is written on the paper.

To safely store items in archive boxes, you need to choose a box that fits your needs – so for easy access archive box folders have a closable lid and a finger hole for easy access. They can take A4 pages up to around a ream and are ideal for storage on shelves.

For archiving these box folders – for when they are no longer containing current paperwork that you need ready access to, but which you still need to keep – there are a range of cardboard archive boxes that can hold up to five archive files at a weight of 20kg. These have a closable lid offering great protection and handles for easy storage and retrieval.

Also in the pantheon of archiving boxes are Bankers Box transfer files, which are ideal for accessing information and publications that are needed often. They can be easily labelled and shelved and have easy access for users. Bankers Box transfer files can also be archived, in special Bankers Box two-piece cardboard archive file boxes, which are also ideal for storing lever-arch files, ring binders and foolscap magazines. Remember always label your boxes so that you – and others – knows what is where.

For all other archiving demands – from lose papers, to files to magazine and more – there are Snapcase two-piece cardboard archive boxes, which are designed to allow for maximum storage and easy access. They come with handles and a strong base so are ideal for moving things around and the sturdy lid adds protection. And lids are really important, as we shall see shortly.

What are the best boxes for postage?

Thanks to the growing hunger for buying things online, the cardboard box is most popular, and is the most practical – you can buy specialist boxes for postage. The best boxes for postage have to offer a range of things: they have to offer strength and protection for the goods inside, they have to be durable enough to withstand handling and transit, they have to be tough enough not to come apart when being bumped and they have to provide ample space for labelling for addresses and postage franking.

What are the best boxes for storage

With this in mind, there is quite a choice to be made when looking for a box for postage for your items.

The basic postal box is made from ridged flute corrugated postal board, which offers strength and protection for the goods inside when in transit. They also have an easily closed, locking flap that is secure, as well as neat and smart looking. These boxes offer all that you could hope for in a postal box: strength, durability and a sealed lid.

With the growth of ecommerce, ever more complicated and unusual things are being mailed, so postage boxes also come not just in a range of sizes, but also in a range of formats. For starters there are flat ones, made of the same tough corrugated card, designed for anything flat – and can be a great alternative to mailing bags.

Find the right sized box

Book boxes, meanwhile, are specifically designed for the postage of books, complete with sealable flap and sides to protect the books in transit.

If you are looking to post delicate items such as mugs or electronic devices, glass ware or ceramics then you need to choose postal boxes that will offer added protection. This is where foam-lined postal boxes and deluxe crash-proof postal mug boxes come in to play.

Foam lined boxes have a strong cardboard outer layer, but inside is lined with non-abrasive polyurethane foam that will completely surround what is in the box. Giving it excellent protection from the rigours of postage.

Mug boxes, meanwhile, not only have a crash-lock base, but also an inner cardboard fitting that holds the mug in place throughout the postal process with no need for void fill.

If you need a large box for posting then you need to choose a triple walled, corrugated box which provides delicate items with the shockproof, robust protection they need in the post.

One of the downsides of ecommerce is that things sometimes need to be sent back – and quick pack returnable boxes with adhesive strips are ideal for this. They offer easy and fast assembly, simply push the opposite corners towards each other and the base flaps lock together automatically. These strong and secure crash-lock base boxes close with an adhesive strip so there is no need for tape or glue.

The boxes are easy for customers to open and re-seal; simply pull the tear strip to open then secure the box using the second adhesive strip and it is ready to be returned.

Sometimes a postage box needs to be, well, not a box. For flat items such as maps or charts, textiles or prints, or long or cylindrical objects, postage tubes offer a great postage solution – they are strong both laterally and longitudinally and come with a tough plastic end cap that protects the ends and adds strength to the whole tube.

The benefits of cardboard boxes with lids

While end caps are essential to the integral strength of a postal tube, cardboard boxes with lids also offer many benefits for those looking to post, transport and store items. Cardboard boxes with lid features are ideal for storage, postage and transit as the lid protects the items inside from impact, moisture, dust and dirt. It also stops things falling out.

Having a lid on your box also means that you can stack them on top of the other. The lid also provides an ideal canvas in which to write what the contents is or to put an address label or postage franking if it is for posting.


Looking for the best shipping boxes?

Read the guide >>


Storing items in extra-large cardboard boxes

Extra large carboard boxes have to be innately strong to support themselves and to handle the kind of heavy loads that you want to store or transport in them. For this reason, extra large cardboard boxes are constructed from triple walled, corrugated card and can handle loads of up to 500 kg – the weight of a small cow.

It is best to pick large cardboard boxes that come in Euro or Chep/UK pallet sizes, as this makes them much easier to store and transport en masse. They are also strong enough to with stand the strapping needed to palletise such boxes, especially if you put strapping protectors on them.

These boxes are the expert’s choice when shipping large goods such as machine parts, domestic appliances, builder’s tools and construction products.

Your recycling questions

We regularly receive calls from our customers interested to learn about eco-friendly alternatives; how they can reduce their environmental footprint by developing their purchasing packaging line to be more sustainable. We are finding more and more businesses are taking control by either choosing a complete eco-responsible packaging range, or by making small improvements where possible.

The most asked questions are “What packaging is recyclable?”, or more specifically “Is bubble wrap recyclable?”. Our customers are interested in environmentally friendly packaging and we are fully committed to help support this change.

If you’re looking to be an eco-responsible business, make the change this year and join our customers.

Global Recycling Day 18th March 2020 >>

Read our most asked recycling questions on packaging

Are gift bags recyclable?

Can you recycle packing paper?

Can all paper bags be recycled?

Can you recycle plastic bags?

Since 2015, RAJA has donated more than 1.6 million euros to help support sustainable initiatives. Money has been raised from customers purchasing selected eco-responsible Partnership Products. From every pack purchased, £1 is donated to our Women and Environment Action Programme.

Women and Environment Action Programme

What are Partnership Products?

Partnership Products are carefully selected eco-responsible packaging products for the Women and Environment Action Programme, every time our customers purchase a pack of these selected products, RAJA donates £1 to charity.

What is the Women and Environment Action Programme?

This charity is one of the many RAJA Foundation projects, the “Women and Environment” Action Programme aims to establish the emancipation of women around the world whilst developing sustainable initiatives.


Women and Environment Action Programme – RAJA donates £1 on your behalf

Read more>>


 

What is eco-responsible packaging?

Being environmentally conscious is not only something we need to do for all humanity, but is also becoming an important business differentiator when customers are choosing who to buy from. And packaging is where they first get a feel for your environmental credentials. So what sustainable and eco-responsible packaging options are there?

Recycled packaging at RAJA

In fact, pretty much all packaging materials and solutions have an eco-responsible alternative option. From packaging materials, storage solutions and even heavy duty storage boxes, all available made from recycled materials to packaging that can be recycled – often into new packaging – and packaging that can be used and composted or biodegraded.

Read on to learn what is available – you may be surprised.

What is eco-responsible packaging?

RAJA eco-friendly packagingEco-responsible packaging are eco-friendly packaging materials that have little or no environmental impact. Made from recycled, recyclable or sustainable materials in processes that too have little or no impact on the environment.

These packaging materials are made to be neutral in terms of what they do to the environment. Being made from recycling other materials or by being easily reused or by being readily composted or biodegrading once finished with.

Eco-responsible packaging is safe and sustainable for both its users and the environment and are ideal for helping brands and businesses meet their corporate social responsibility targets. As well as helping us all do our bit to protect our world.

Such packaging comes in many forms, from eco-responsible wrapping paper to eco-responsible fill to even eco-responsible bubble wrap made from recycled plastics. Offering the same high level of protection as ‘ordinary’ packaging materials, eco-responsible and sustainable packaging offer the advantages of high quality packaging to suit whatever your transport or storage needs are, but minimising the harm to the environment.

Recycled paper packaging at RAJA                     Eco-friendly packaging at RAJA                    Eco-friendly packaging at RAJA

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging, on the other hand, is packaging that comes from a sustainable source such as paper packaging and wrapping.  This is packaging made from sources that replenished the trees used to make the paper in the first place.

These sustainable packaging materials may also be reused multiple times, adding to their eco-friendliness. As well as being cyclable – often being made into other eco-responsible packing materials, such as recycled and recyclable mailing bags.

Bringing together the ideas of both sustainability and biodegradability, there are packaging materials such as Eco Flo that offer the best of both worlds. Looking like polystyrene chips, this lightweight and highly versatile packaging option is made from 100% renewable sources, is odourless and offers anti-static properties up to five times better than polystyrene – making it ideal in packaging of delicate electronics.

Like all protective chips, Eco Flo stops items falling to the bottom of the box and offers excellent protection.

Is biodegradable packaging still strong?

Biodegradable packaging is still strong. One of the key worries with switching to eco-responsible and biodegradable packaging is whether it is as strong and effective as ‘non-green’ traditional alternatives. In almost all cases, eco-responsible and biodegradable packaging are just as strong as any others.

Depending on the packaging product and type in question, eco-responsible and sustainable packaging can essentially be made from the same materials as their virgin equivalents. With those made of recycled materials – especially plastics – simply being the same plastic melted down and/or reused. Sustainable packaging can also be made from exactly the same materials and in somewhat the same way as virgin packaging. If you take paper; the original supply (often trees) is replanted and over a year, shows no net loss of raw materials. Also before and during the manufacturing process, the creation of the product itself has considered the negative effects towards the environment, so that it is sustainably produced.

Eco-resposible packaging at RAJABiodegradable packaging is slightly different, however, in that it is often a new material made to biodegrade when placed into landfill, without giving off any harmful by-products or gases. Paper products are naturally biodegradable, being made from organic materials from trees. Biodegradable options to plastic are a different matter.

To biodegrade, these too have to be made not from polythene, but from organic materials such as cellulose – also derived from trees and plants – and can also include corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants. Traditional plastic is made with chemical fillers that can be harmful to the environment when released once the plastic is melted down. With biodegradable plastic, you get a substance made from natural sources that does not contain these chemical fillers, and does not pose the same risk to the environment.

Corn-starch, which is the basis of most compostable plastics, is in fact very strong, forming long polymer chains. So while they may feel different to ‘normal’ plastic they are in fact just as strong.

Types of recyclable plastic packaging

Recyclable packaging at RAJA

Of course, not all plastic packaging has to be biodegradable, but it is environmentally conscious to use recyclable plastic packaging alternatives. There are many packaging items made from recycled and recyclable plastic.

While using packaging that is recyclable is great, you can also use plastic packaging that is made from cycled materials – often without the consumer noticing any difference.


How to recycle packaging materials

Find out how>>


Alternatives to bubble wrap

Of course, there are alternatives to bubble wrap – such as recycled bubble wrap which is one of the eco-friendly options. There are many benefits to the popular bubble wrap (not even mentioning economical),is ideal for adding extra protection from bumps and thumps in transit, as well as from moisture, dust and dirt. However there are a number of other environmentally responsible packaging solutions available.

One  alternative to bubble wrap is corrugated cardboard rolls, which can be used instead of sheets of bubble wrap. Like bubble, corrugated cardboard can securely protect items in transit or storage. Made from C-shaped shock absorbent corrugated recycled cardboard, the waves allow flexibility, creates padding and is lightweight. This packaging product is an ideal eco-friendly packaging option.

A great alternative to bubble wrap pouches or envelopes are Jiffy Green bags stuffed with cushioning paper fibres, or corrugated Flutelope mailers with absorbing waves, both are ideal for goods that you may usually put in a bubble wrap baggie.

Want to know more about our wide range of eco-responsible packaging materials?

For additional advice on the best eco-responsible packaging materials or to learn about RAJA packaging and the environment you can contact our Packaging Experts. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

 

Beating the Bias – Women in Leadership

From tech giant IBM appointing its first female CEO in 2011 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences increasing the share of women on the board, there’s no doubt women are breaking the glass ceiling in the world of business. In fact, the RAJA Group itself was founded as a two-woman company as far back as 1954. But as we move into a new decade, how much further do we have to go before gender equality in the workplace is truly equal?

In 2017, we challenged the notion of gender bias by unpacking the new female industrialists and speaking to a number of women making their mark in traditionally male-dominated industries. This International Women’s Day, we’re going one step further and taking a look at how far women have come in the fight for leadership positions and what work still needs to be done in 2020 and beyond.

Women in leadership: the current situation

In 2018, McKinsey’s Delivering through Diversity report showed the statistical significance of diversity in leadership. When it came to women in executive positions, the study confirmed that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.[1]

Yet according to our research, businesses are still failing to utilise the benefits that women can bring to leadership roles. The Office for National Statistics’ annual population survey shows that in 2010, only 34% of Managerial, Directorial or Senior Official positions within the UK were occupied by women. A decade on (with research up to 2018), this has only increased by a disappointing 1 percentage point to 35%.

This is particularly shocking when stats show us that over 50% of the UK population is comprised of women, making it even more conclusive that the ratio of women to men in leadership roles is not representative of the society that we live in.

A breakdown of women in leadership by sectors

A breakdown of women in leadership by sectors

By looking into the employment sectors stated by the ONS within the UK, we were able to dissect the data in more detail through the following categories: Agriculture and Fishing, Energy and Water, Manufacturing, Construction, Distribution, Hotels & Restaurants; Transport & Communication; Banking, Finance & Insurance etc.; and Public Admin, Education & Health.

The data shows that in half of the given sectors, less than a quarter of leaders are female. The sectors with the poorest performance in terms of female leadership are Construction (16% of leaders are women), Energy & Water (19%), Manufacturing (22%) and Transportation & Communication (24%). In addition, Banking, Finance & Insurance has historically been known for its Wolf of Wall Street-esque setting. And, although this 80’s depiction is a far cry from what it is today, it is troubling to see that still, only 34% of leaders in the sector are women. In fact, the only sector where more women currently hold these roles is within Public Admin, Education & Health at 57%.

Though all but one of the sectors included has seen an incremental increase in women in leadership positions from a holistic view from 2010 onwards, there is sadly still a low representation in traditionally male-dominated sectors, and in fact, most traditionally female-dominated sectors, too.

So, what can we do next?

Despite initiatives to promote equality in the workplace being championed across many businesses in recent times, there is still work to be done. In fact, a recent review of FTSE leaders shows results that are not only disheartening but shocking, too. Within the FTSE 100, around two thirds of all available leadership roles are occupied by men and, as of 2019, only seven of those CEOs were female[2][3]

So, what can all companies – big and small – do to ensure that we are beating the bias and benefitting from women leadership in every workplace? Here are just three ways we can do this:

  1. Transparency: By being transparent about diversity goals, we can show current employees and potential candidates that we are taking steps in the right direction. It means having measurable goals that tie into individuals, teams and groups, rather than just playing a numbers game for the sake of compliance. For example, it is not gender diversity if your workforce is proportionate, but you have an all-male board.
  1. Eliminating unconscious bias: Though we may not mean to be consciously bias towards women, a history of workplace prejudice has embedded a lot of stereotypes that mean we may not even know we are being influenced by. The best way to ensure this is controlled is to have rules in place that make processes subjective, from applications to training, reviews and promotions – particularly for leadership roles. 
  1. Modernity: By being open to reworking policies so they are inclusive – from flexible hours to modified work schedules – we can make certain we have the top pool of talent, rather than ruling certain demographics out. A lot of traditionally male-dominated industries have inflexible timetables but finding common ground which is geared towards a wider group of people will help businesses go a long way.

From striking for equal pay to securing classification as skilled workers, women have taken great strides in the fight for workplace equality. Yet sadly, there is still a perception that certain industries and roles are only suitable for men.

On Sunday 8th March 2020, we will be celebrating how far our society has come in terms of gender equality in the workplace, whilst also thinking about how we can continue to push for progress. To learn more, head over to our interviews with the inspirational women who are packing away stereotypes in corporate culture and showing value in male-dominated industries.

[Methodology: This research was conducted by analysing the Annual Population Workplace Analysis survey from The Office for National Statistics to work out the population of males vs females in Manager, Director and Senior Official positions within the UK. This uses their data ranging from 2010 to 2018.]

[1]https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business%20Functions/Organization/Our%20Insights/Delivering%20through%20diversity/Delivering-through-diversity_full-report.ashx

[2]https://ftsewomenleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/HA-Review-Report-2019.pdf

[3]https://www.statista.com/statistics/685208/number-of-female-ceo-positions-in-ftse-companies-uk/