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

Our Top Gift Packaging Picks this Christmas

It’s our favourite time of year at Rajapack, and packaging plays a very important part in ensuring presents arrive at their destination safe and sound. Christmas packaging is luxurious, fun and colourful with ribbons and beautiful bows, and we take pride in making our gift packaging range look special while protecting what’s inside.

Gift packaging at Rajapack

In this post we’re going to be catching up on some fun facts about Christmas and rounding off our top 5 packaging picks to give your products that extra sparkle and shine this festive season. We’ve also included our key delivery dates and Royal Mail’s so you don’t miss a thing!

Go green this festive season

With online shopping getting more popular, the parcel market is increasing year on year. According to Pitney Bowes, spending in the UK parcel market increased by 8% last year to a massive 10 billion pounds! If parcel volumes continue to grow at this rate, the UK could be sending as many as 3.9 billion parcels as soon as 2021! * That’s nearly 4 billion parcels with packaging being sent in one year, so it’s more important than ever to know what we can recycle.

Billions of parcels are shipped

Last Christmas it was estimated in the UK we used more than 40 million rolls of sticky tape and over 100 million rolls of wrapping paper! We also disposed of almost 100 million black bags of packaging from toys and gifts^, which is a huge amount of waste going to landfill.

Recycling can be a confusing topic as what we can recycle isn’t always clearly labelled, and you often need to check with your local authority as what they can accept varies across the country. Read our How to Recycle Gift Packaging blog for more information on what’s recyclable and how you can find out what your local recycling centre can accept.

Our top 5 Gift Packaging Picks this Christmas

If you already shop with us, you’ll know the great range that we offer all year round at RajaBoutique, and Christmas means that everyone can take advantage of some of our sparkling gift packaging and great offers.

Shop Rajaboutique for your Christmas packaging

Polka Dot Packaging

We’ve got a super standout range of gift packaging featuring fashionable polka dots. Bright and colourful, the polka dot design is fun and adds creative flair to any gift. Our range of counter top paper bags is perfect for Christmas confectionary and our polka dot plastic wrapping is ideal for hampers and boxes. We also have various sizes and designs of polka dot gift bags from classic retro pastels to modern bright colours, and you can top it off with a glossy polka dot ribbon to add that final exciting flourish.

Polka dot packaging

Velvet Baroque Wrapping Paper

To add luxury and elegance to any gift, take a look at this rich and decadent velvet baroque wrapping paper. With a slight sheen set into the baroque swirls and a gorgeous velvet look, this extra special wrapping paper is sure to add class to those important gifts. In classic black for added dramatic effect, this ultra-chic wrapping paper is also fully recyclable.

Baroque wrapping paper

Wraparound Media Boxes

Simple, lightweight, easy to store and post, our wraparound boxes are so quick to use. They have extended edges for added corner protection and are suitable for more items than just books… they are also perfect for posting CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, by adjusting the height using the pre-creased grooves. The strong adhesive strip means quick and easy sealing of the parcel without any need for tape or strapping. They’re available in natural brown or classic white and are delivered flat packed for easy storage.

Wraparound Media Boxes

Crash Lock Boxes

A new product to Rajapack this year, these revolutionary crash-lock boxes work by simply pressing both sides of the box from flat into the box shape, and the flaps lock automatically. You only need tape to seal the top of the box. This quick assemble box is efficient, strong and rigid with reinforced double thickness board on the base. Available in single and double wall, these boxes could revolutionise your packaging process, just watch our short video to see how quick and easy it is!

Crash lock boxes

Metallic Gloss Bubble Postal Bags

Looking for something different? These metallic gloss bubble postal bags offer excellent all round protection with bright and bold festive colours and sparkle. They have a thick layer of protective bubbles that makes them tearproof and waterproof, giving your items great protection in transit while looking great. Perfect for posting a range of items.

Metallic gloss bubble postal bags

Key delivery dates for Christmas 2018

To wrap up and help you make sure you’re well prepared, we’ve detailed the key courier dates below so you don’t get caught out when it comes to posting your parcels this year.

2018 Christmas delivery information

For more detail on Royal Mail delivery times this festive season take a look at their comprehensive guide to plan ahead as much as you can! https://www.royalmail.com/greetings

Ordering your packaging this Christmas

If you are ordering your packaging from us this Christmas, then please do take note of our last order dates below. Make sure you have allowed enough time to process any outgoing parcels before the last courier dates.

  • To ensure your packaging arrives in time for Christmas, place your order by 4:30pm Thursday 20th, we’ll deliver the next day on Friday 21st  December.
  • Orders placed between Friday 21st and Monday 31st December will be delivered on Thursday 3rd January 2019.
  • We’ll be open as normal on 2nd January with deliveries resuming on the next working day, 3rd January 2019.

Normal terms apply. For full details of our Christmas opening times, to request our latest catalogue or browse our Christmas packaging range, simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.

* https://postandparcel.info/82570/news/parcel/pitney-bowes-uk-parcel-market-set-for-huge-shake-up

^https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/christmas/christmas-waste-total-wrapping-paper-food-scraps-packaging-sticky-tape-study-a8119821.html

Warehouse trucks: What you need to know to get things moving

Warehouse vehicles are essential for most businesses that handle goods and products. The use of such vehicles allows the safe transport of products and materials from manufacturing to storage, distribution and then onto retail. It’s important to use the correct equipment when handling loads to maintain the health and safety of employees, it also contributes to business efficiency, protecting items from any unnecessary damage.

Warehouse equipment

In this post we’ll be taking a look at a variety of warehouse equipment in detail, from manually operated sack trucks to powered pallet trucks so you can ensure that your business is running efficiently and safely.

What different warehouse trucks are available?

Different warehouse trucks are available in a wide range of weights, models and dimensions suited to many different tasks. There is so much choice available, from manually operated pallet trucks and sack trucks, to semi-automatic scissor lifting tables, right up to huge hydraulic lifters and even totally self-functioning robots!

If robotics are a bit beyond your current reach, don’t worry! We offer a range of sack, platform and pallet trucks all in different sizes so you can keep your product distribution flowing without a hitch.

What is a sack truck?

Heavy duty and budget sack trucks

To help you differentiate the types of warehouse trucks, this section will explain what is a sack truck. Commonly used for lighter loads, a sack truck works by levering the weight of an item, balancing it over the trucks’ wheels allowing it to be transported easily. Sack trucks are commonly made from materials such as aluminium, steel tubing or high impact plastic, making them lightweight and versatile for a range of duties. But what is a sack truck used for? The sack truck’s purpose is to transport goods from one place to another. This could be a stack of heavy boxes, machinery or even used by baggage handlers to move heavy luggage.

Did you know, sack trucks were originally used in the 18th century by young harbour workers who were employed to move heavy bags of spices around the docks!

Sack trucks are extremely versatile, cost effective and easy to use. They allow one warehouse operative to move something that may otherwise take 2 or 3!. Even though they are easy to use, knowing how to use a sack truck safely is very important and to also warehouse errors.

Firstly, check the truck and wheels before use to make sure it’s not damaged, and ensure the load does not exceed the weight limit of the truck. Carefully place the load on top of the toe (this is the flat metal piece that rests on the floor) so it’s ready to be lifted, and make sure it’s secured before gently pulling the top of the sack truck towards you and pushing forward.

As sack trucks require no formal training to operate, it’s important to feel confident and know exactly what to do when operating one. If you have concerns, do speak to your supervisor or the manufacturer of the truck before using it.

What is a pallet truck?

What is a pallet truck

Moving on to the next type of warehouse truck, answering, what is a pallet truck? As the name suggests, pallet trucks are machines designed for lifting and moving pallets. They’re a basic form of forklift truck and are mostly used to move pallets and their goods around warehouses. They come in 2 main forms; manual and electric powered. For this post we will be focusing on manual pallet trucks which are commonly used in warehouses and in the retail sector.

If you’re looking at purchasing a pallet truck you may be wondering how much does a pallet truck weigh? The answer entirely depends on the pallet truck you may be considering – we currently offer 7 of the most popular manual pallet trucks but there are countless more available in the marketplace.

A pallet trucks’ weight is not necessarily an indication of how much it can lift. So then, what is a pallet truck’s safe maximum handling limit? This varies depending on the individual piece of machinery. For example, our Extra heavy duty pallet truck weighs in at 80kg with a maximum load capacity of 3,000kg whereas our Economy pallet truck weighs 79kg and has a maximum load capacity of 2,500kg. It all depends on the intended use of the truck, so work out the typical weight to be lifted, where the pallet truck will be stored when not in use, and who will be operating it, before making a final decision on which one to purchase.

Just like sack trucks, using a pallet truck does not require any formal training, so knowing how to use a pallet truck before you start is important!

Step-by-step guide: How does a pallet truck work?

How does a pallet truck work? Step by step guide

  1. Before you begin to use the truck, check the body and wheels are in good condition and not damaged.
  2. Check the maximum load of the pallet truck and ensure the weight of the load you’re intending to move doesn’t exceed this.
  3. Find the release lever, this is a small lever usually near the handles that drops the lifting prongs to the floor. Pull the lever to lower the prongs, then slide the prongs underneath the pallet.
  4. Once in position, repeatedly pull the handles towards you which will start to lift the prongs.
  5. When the prongs and load are at a suitable height, you should be able to smoothly push the pallet truck to move it.

Remember, if you’re unsure then speak to your employer or the manufacturer of the truck before attempting to use it.

Learning the mechanics: How does a pallet truck work?

How does a pallet truck work?

Hopefully the step-by-step guide, this section will go into more depth into the mechanics of how does a pallet truck work. Manual pallet trucks are able to lift and carry heavy loads using hydraulics. When the release lever is pulled, it releases the hydraulic fluid, lowering the prongs. The action of repeatedly pulling the handles towards you increases the pressure in the hydraulic fluid, raising the prongs and the load.

So how should an operator move a pallet truck? Manual pallet trucks can be pushed or pulled, although most people are able to push more weight than they can pull, so it’s always safer for the handler to push.  To find out how to use a pallet truck safely always speak to your employer, the manufacturer or read our short guide in the section above.

To reduce the risk of injury from lifting equipment used at work, The Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) was created under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Main areas covered as part of LOLER are:

  • To ensure lifting equipment is strong enough for safe use and marked to indicate safe working loads.
  • Ensuring that any equipment is positioned and installed to minimise risks.
  • Any work done is planned, organised and performed by a competent person.
  • Lifting equipment is regularly inspected by competent people.

More information can be found about LOLER on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

So are pallet trucks covered by LOLER? The HSE states that pallet trucks are not covered by LOLER where the consequence of the load falling off is very low. However, where the equipment is used in the workplace, it will need to be properly maintained and may be subject to inspection under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

We have a core range of essential equipment at Rajapack however if you’re looking for a wider choice visit our sister company Welco.

If you’d like more information about our range of warehouse trucks, or help on selecting the right warehouse equipment for your needs simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

What is tissue paper? Everything there is to know

With winter upon us, you may find yourself adding tissues to your shopping list to help with a cold. But tissue paper is also an amazing material for gift wrapping, as well as offering exceptional packaging protection for fragile or sensitive items.

In today’s post we’re focusing fully on tissue paper which can be used to protect some less fragile goods in transport and is commonly used to add decoration and colour to gifts. We’ll explore the history, as well as how it’s made and sold across the UK.

Coloured tissue paper for craft or gift wrap

What exactly is tissue paper?

So to directly answer what is tissue paper, it is a super lightweight paper type usually made from recycled paper pulp. The term ‘tissue paper’ covers a wide range of different products including paper towels, toilet tissue, facial tissues, wrapping tissue, and many more.

So let’s start at the beginning – when was tissue paper invented? This isn’t a straightforward question to answer as it isn’t well documented. The earliest known use of paper as a wrapping and padding material was in China 2nd century BC. Over time, product wrapping and transportation of goods became crucial to business and the global economy, so the thick paper originally used to wrap and protect evolved into the tissue paper we know and use today. There are many other materials suitable for protecting items in transport, take a look at our protective packaging range for more.

It’s not known exactly who invented tissue paper, but the evolution of this material could be linked to Joseph Gayetty’s invention of toilet tissue in 1857, which uses a similar production process.

How is tissue paper made?

How tissue paper is made

Source: http://processengineering.co.uk/article/2011773/saica-starts-new-rec

To understand how is tissue paper made we need to start at the beginning and ask what is tissue paper made of? it is made using paper pulp (wood fibre) or recycled paper materials such as cardboard, newspapers, or certain types of juice carton. The wet pulp is then rolled on a paper machine until the desired thickness is achieved. It’s dried in a large steam heated section of the machine and rolled onto huge cylinders called logs ready to be cut to size.

Sometimes as this popular material ages it can become acidic and brittle. This acidity could cause damage to sensitive items being stored within it, such as clothes and books. This has led to the creation of acid free tissue paper.

But exactly what is acid free tissue paper and how does it differ from standard tissue?

Acid free tissue paper is specifically processed without certain agents, it differs from standard tissue paper which is made with agents that can turn acidic over time. This makes it ideal for storage of products or items such as jewellery, fabric, crockery, ornaments and antiques.

You may wonder is all tissue paper acid free? Put simply no – both types of tissue are available and are used for different purposes. Acid free tissue paper has a wide range of uses with more fragile or delicate items, however standard tissue paper can be used for many things including general wrapping, bottle wrapping, as a filler for gift boxes and gift bags as well as countless uses in crafts.

Tissue paper is a relatively inexpensive way to brighten the unboxing experience, adding another layer of excitement to the theatre of receiving a gift. The huge range of colours and finishes available make it suitable for any occasion from Weddings to Birthdays, Christmas and beyond!

What is the difference between crepe paper and tissue paper?

Although very similar materials, the difference between crepe paper and tissue paper begins in the manufacturing process. Crepe paper starts life as tissue paper, then a thin layer of adhesive is applied over the tissue paper and scraped with a blade. This creates a gathered, crinkled effect. Crepe paper is often used in crafts and is also the backing for various types of tape, including masking tape and electrical tape.

What is a ream of tissue paper?

You’ll have no doubt heard the term – a “ream”, but what is a ream of tissue paper and what does this mean? A ream is one unit of paper in which the sheets are all the same size and quality. Reams are regulated in the UK by the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) to ensure manufacturers and retailers sell the same quantity of paper in a single ream. But how many sheets are there in a ream of tissue paper? The international standard quantity for a ream of tissue paper is 480 sheets.

A pile of coloured tissue paper reams

With 480 sheets in a ream, you may be wondering how much does tissue paper weigh? One ream weighs about the same as 3 x 1 litre bottles of water. We also sell our shredded tissue paper in 3kg boxes, however you can buy this in a variety of weights according to your selected retailer.

All paper types come in a variety of thicknesses which is measured in Grams per Square Metre (GSM). GSM is a numerical scale, the lower the number, the thinner the paper. Generally tissue paper ranges from 10 to 35 GSM. For comparison, office printer paper is typically 70 to 100 GSM and greeting cards are 250+ GSM.

If you’d like more information about tissue paper, our range of protective packaging products, or help on selecting the right packaging for your business simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

How to recycle gift packaging

Christmas is coming and it’s a busy time for everyone making sure we’re organised for the big day. One thing that can be overlooked is what to do with all the used gift wrapping and boxes once those presents have been opened. As a nation we’re very aware of the importance of recycling, however at Christmas with so much packaging and wrapping around it’s not always clear what we can recycle.

Kraft paper gift packaging

In this post we will be looking at how to recycle gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper and gift wrap so you can ensure that you’re recycling the right items this Christmas.

We’ve got your gift wrap recycling questions all wrapped up

One of the most common leftovers we all have after Christmas is a mountain of gift wrap, so it’s no surprise that we’re often asked “is gift wrap recyclable?” This isn’t a straightforward question to answer as there are a few factors to consider, but in short – if you can scrunch the paper into a ball and it stays scrunched, then it should be ok to recycle it (remember to remove any plastic tape first!).

Not all gift wrap is recyclable though as it can often contain materials other than paper, such as plastic or glitter. We’ve covered this in more detail below, so read on for more information on what can and can’t be recycled.

Gift bags are a great way to give a present without having to wrap them first, and they also come in a huge range of colours, designs and finishes. A common way to recycle gift bags is to reuse them when giving a gift to a friend or relative, but once they wear out can you recycle gift bags in your normal paper recycling collection? If the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then you should be able to remove any non-recyclable extras such as ribbon handles, plastic tags or decorations before you recycle. Remember though, this does depend on your local council recycling restrictions, as they vary across the UK. To make things easier, we have included useful links below on where to find this information online.

Over 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used in the UK per year* and they’re widely recycled, but can gift boxes be recycled as easily? Luckily, recycling gift boxes is straightforward. Simply remove any non-recyclable items such as plastic packaging from inside the box, metal embellishments and glittered areas. Then flatten the box before disposing of it, to save on space in your recycling bin.

Are gift bags recyclable?

Even though gift bags can be recycled it is not a straight forward answer. Gift bags have excellent durability meaning that they can be used many times before they start to look worn and become unusable. Eventually they will start to wear out, look tired and will need to be disposed of. But it depends on what the bag is made from as gift bags can be made from paper or lightweight cardboard, sometimes with a plastic coating. There are also countless decorations from ribbons to plastic jewels, metal, feathers… the list is endless! Though if the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then once you have removed the decorations, gift tags and handles it should be safe to recycle.

Add coloured tissue paper to gift bags

Because there are so many different materials a gift bag can be made from, it’s best to check with your local authority as some will accept gift bags and some may not. To find out what’s recyclable in your area click these links for England & Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Select one of the three options to find out what can be recycled in your local area then type in your post code for the results.

Are gift boxes recyclable?

Like gift bags, gift boxes are recyclable as they can be reused. Gift boxes are very handy when giving multiple gifts or those of an unusual shape that are difficult to wrap, it can be simpler to use a gift box. Decorated gift boxes can have different textures, coatings and finishes on the cardboard box material which can make it tricky to know if they can be recycled. With so much potential confusion it’s no surprise that we are often asked by our customers “can you recycle gift boxes?”

Jewellery gift boxes

Most of the time you can, just check what material the box is made from, if it’s cardboard then you can recycle! It’s important to remove any plastic coated gift tags, bows, ribbons or glitter covered areas as these can’t be recycled. Remove any items from inside the box, this could be plastic packaging or even a forgotten gift! You’ll also want to flatten the box to save on space in your recycling.

Alternatively, instead of throwing gift boxes away, don’t forget you can reuse them for gifting! Also they can make a great stylish storage solution around your home or office for paperwork, shoes, toys… anything that will fit inside!

Can gift wrap be recycled?

Most of us are used to seeing the mountains of used gift wrap on Christmas Day morning once those presents have been opened, and you may ask yourself can gift wrapping paper be recycled? It’s not a simple answer, even though we know it as ‘wrapping paper’ it often contains more materials than just paper. Gift wrap that contains foil or glitter is not recyclable, nor is plastic sticky tape or decorations such as bows and ribbons. If you bought recycled wrapping paper though, it should be safe to recycle again.

If you’re still asking can you recycle gift wrapping paper, there is an easy way to find out with the scrunch test. Squash the paper into a ball and if it stays in a ball shape then you can probably recycle it.

Scrunch test

Is gift wrapping paper recyclable by your local authority? Some councils will take away your wrapping paper with your roadside collection, while others may want you to take it to a recycling centre. To find out about your area click for England & Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Select one of the three options to find out what can be recycled in your local area.

Can you recycle tissue paper?

A brilliant addition to any gift is tissue paper to add elegance and style to a present, but is tissue paper recyclable? As with most recycling, it depends on the type of tissue paper so it’s best to check with the retailer first. Our range of tissue paper are recyclable, these include coloured tissue paper, white tissue paper and metallic tissue paper – this is because we use soluble ink to achieve the metallic effect rather than using synthetic coatings. If in doubt, check with the retailer or your local council before you recycle.

Gift box with colourful tissue paper

There are other ways to recycle used tissue paper as it can easily be crafted for a variety of uses. You can create countless decorations or even shred ripped tissue paper to use again in future.

So, is tissue paper compostable? Mostly, yes – tissue is made from recycled materials and is constructed of short fibres so it does break down in a composter, you can wet it first to start the process. So then ? As with most recycling there are some exceptions to the rule, if the tissue paper has a coated metallic finish then it’s probably not going to breakdown easily so you may want to try some of our ideas for reusing it above.

Before attempting to recycle any gift packaging, check first with your local authority if they will take it away or if you need to take it to the recycling centre. Remember to remove any glitter, decorations and plastic coated areas. Don’t forget that you can upcycle your old gift packaging into something new or reuse it for another gift.

For more information read our environmental FAQs and you can find our full range of gift packaging on our website but if you need help and advice simply contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

* https://www.recyclingbins.co.uk/recycling-facts/

Our favourite Cardboard Crafts for Halloween

It’s almost that time of year – when the ghouls and ghosts come out to haunt us and trick or treaters visit.  With Halloween fast approaching, we’ve been exploring some of our favourite cardboard craft projects with used packaging to make spooky decorations, creepy costumes and petrifying haunted houses.  We’ve selected some of our favourites and detailed them below, so round up any leftover packaging and get crafting!

Halloween craft ideas

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/halloween-witch-s-house-the-witch-2893710/

All Hallows’ Eve? 

You don’t have long to get your decorations up, pumpkins carved and costumes crafted!  This ancient day dates back over 2,000 years, where it was celebrated as a Celtic festival called Samhain to mark the end of Summer.  It was believed that it was at this time of year when the space between the world of the living and the dead blurred, and spirits would crossover at this supernatural time.  Originally known as ‘All Hallows Eve’, over time the name evolved into ‘Halloween’ as we know today.

It’s more popular than ever too, with an estimated 25%* of us carving pumpkins and spending over £25million on them across the UK.  But if you have any leftover packaging around, we know the value of a good cardboard box and after use they are great for craft projects.  You can make some impressive Halloween decorations (even a cardboard pumpkin!) with some basic craft materials and a bit of creativity to save money and reuse materials.

Spooky decorations for your home

With a few cardboard boxes, some tape, glue and cutters there are no end of creations you can craft to add a spooky feel to your home.  We’ve selected a few of our favourites below and listed the instruction videos so you’ve got everything you need to get started!

Cardboard Pumpkin Head

If you want a spooky pumpkin but don’t want to carve up a fresh one then take a look at this brilliant cardboard alternative.  Taking a couple of cardboard boxes, you can cut out the entire shape from cardboard with a knife and then glue these together to make the impressive pumpkin head shape.  Once you have it constructed, you can decorate with a bright orange paint and any other creepy decorations. Place a sheet of crinkled foil inside and you can illuminate it with an electric candle light for your very own jack-o’-lantern made from packaging!

Cardboard pumpkin head

Spooky Sweet Dispenser

For something a little simpler, this sweet dispenser made from a cardboard box by Box Yourself is a great little craft project to add a creepy vibe to your treats this Halloween.  It’s easy to do and you only need a cardboard box, some paints, glue and a cutter to craft some facial features.  It’ll be a great addition to any house this Halloween.

Cardboard spooky sweet dispenser

Cardboard Tombstones

For a haunting outdoor decoration take a look at these striking cardboard tombstones. So simple to make by taping a few sheets of cardboard and newspaper.  Once you have the structure made, you can paint and decorate, adding creepy fun messages on the front for all to see when they approach your door.

Cardboard tombstones

PET-rifying Haunted Houses

Finally for the pet lovers out there (and we have quite a few in the office!) we love these cardboard haunted pet houses.  We’ve listed a couple of our favourites below, whether you have a dog or a cat you can make a great little home for your furry friend with a spooky feel.

The DIY haunted dog house simply takes a few cardboard boxes, a bit of crafting and sticking to bring together a single or multi story haunted pet house.  For decoration, you can be as creative as you like with pens and paints – they’ve even added cobwebs in the video below.

Cardboard dog house

If you’re a cat lover, then this PET-rifyingly cute house takes a large and a medium sized cardboard box and turns them into an impressive structure.  In the video they add roof tiles, shutters, gnarled trees and fencing with extra pieces of cardboard and paper which really enhances the spooky feel.

Cardboard cat house

Please do let us know of any favourite Halloween craft projects of your own, post them in the comments below and we’ll be sure to take a look.  If you’re a regular user of packaging and cardboard boxes and need any advice selecting and purchasing packaging, then our team of Packaging Specialists will be happy to help and answer and questions you might have. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

*https://www.finder.com/uk/cost-of-pumpkins

How to use Packaging Tape – all you need to know

Packaging tape is an essential for anyone who intends to post cartons or boxes and seal them securely.  It’s the glue that holds packaging together; strong, versatile, easy to work with and apply.  But how can it best be used? Is it recyclable? What exactly is a pistol grip dispenser?

These are some of the questions we answer in today’s post, with a focus purely on packaging tape.  We’ll be covering everything you need to know, including how it’s used , how to apply to boxes and remove it safely, as well as how to use tape dispensers to save time and effort in sealing.

How to use packaging tape

So, how exactly do you use packing tape?

Packaging tape is easy to use, it is one of the simplest packaging items but must be handled correctly – you could quickly end up in a mess with a lot of tape wasted if you’re not careful! We’ve included some tips below on how to use packing tape to ensure you get the most from it.

Firstly, make sure it’s packaging tape that you’re using – not cellophane tape (Sellotape), paper masking tape or craft tape.  Packaging tape has been designed for sealing boxes and cartons with a strong and long lasting stick and is made from a strong, bonded material.  This strong bond will ensure the tape won’t peel off during shipping or storage nor will your parcel pop open which could have disastrous consequences.  Always make sure you’re using the right tape for the job.

In most cases the packaging should be applied using a tape dispenser. This doesn’t just make it a lot faster and easier it actually makes sure that the tape has been applied properly without any crinkles or the tape sticking to itself. The pressure of the tape dispenser helps seal with the tape to the box or surface.

There are many different types of packaging tape available, ranging from heavy duty to low noise, cross filament, vinyl, polypropylene and more.  It’s a topic we have touched on before though we do understand it can be overwhelming due to the different properties that each tape offers.

Evaluate what you are going to need the tape for, considering factors like where it will be used (indoor or outdoor), the weight of the contents, the materials to be bonded together and the range of items to be sealed.  You can find our full range of tape online but if you need help and advice then do get in touch with our Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help you find the right tape for your needs. Simply contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

How to use a packing tape dispenser?

Packing tape dispensers are useful if you’re regularly sealing boxes, cartons or parcels with tape – a dispenser can make this process a lot faster and easier.  It can affix tape in one smooth action, saving time and energy, minimising wastage and improving efficiency.

Packaging tape at Rajapack

Packaging tape dispensers come in many different types. The most common is the pistol grip dispenser and that will be the one we are focusing on today.  With an easy to grip, comfortable pistol-like handle, they offer everything you need to dispense, stick and cut tape in one small, robust tool.

To operate, first load the roll of tape onto the dispenser reel.  Ensure the tape fits snugly over the reel and stays in place.  You’ll need to make sure that the sticky side of the tape is facing the floor, downwards, as this will be how the tape is dispensed and sticks to the surface you’re taping. 

Once it’s loaded, feed the start of the tape reel into the dispenser. Take the sticky end of the tape and pull this through the narrow dispensing slit.  This will be a thin channel that leads to the front of the dispenser and into the cutting teeth where the tape is fed through as it’s operated.  There may be a lever clip present to pull down and secure the tape in place.

Many dispensers feature a small adjustable screw in the centre of the reel which will allow you to adjust the resistance and tightness of the reel, so make sure this is adjusted as required to allow the tape to spin freely with some resistance.

With the tape fed through, you are ready to seal your first box and set up the dispenser for continuous use.  Ensure the surfaces you wish to tape are clean and free from dust and dirt.  Stick the end of the tape to the surface where you wish the tape to start, and then pull the pistol grip along the length of the area to be taped.  The tape should run off the reel and give you a nice, clean and straight seal.

To cut and finish, simply tilt the pistol grip handle towards the surface, front first.  This will engage the cutting teeth across the tape, slicing the tape and leaving the next section of tape ready to stick on the front of the reel.   We’ve included a useful video below which demonstrates this process clearly .

How to use a packing tape dispenser

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ6MOm9xDHE

All you need to know about packaging tape 

With many different types of tape available to buy, customers have many questions about the safety, use and environmental impact of tape.  Below we’ve answered a few of the more common questions we regularly receive about our range of packaging tapes.

Is packing tape recyclable?

The good news is that yes, packing tape is recyclable.  Even better is that it can be recycled along with the cardboard boxes that it’s usually found on.  Many recycling sites remove the tape from the cardboard and recycle these separately, but you can help them by separating these yourself prior to disposal – we’ve included some information about that below.

Is packaging tape recyclable

What temperatures can packaging tapes be used at?

Most packaging tapes can be used across a broad range of temperatures, up to higher heat levels of between 35 and 45°C.  Below, we’ve detailed the recommended temperature limits across a range of tape types, provided they are applied correctly to clean cartons and are kept out of direct sunlight:

What temperatures can packaging tape be used at

Once tape has been applied to a carton, lab tests have shown that the sealed cartons can stay closed across a temperature range from –10°C up to 100°C, provided that the tapes have been applied by hand or machine, under normal conditions to clean cartons free from dust and moisture.  These are wider limits that tape can be used at, but we don’t recommend you rely on them and stick to the recommended temperature ranges above.

How to remove packing tape

Once you’re finished with a carton, as we learnt earlier that it can be recycled along with the tape in one piece, but it’s better to remove the packing tape before disposing the box – if you are able to.

If you can peel off a short length of the tape, then the rest of it should easily separate from the carton.  With the loose end of the tape in one hand, securely hold the carton in the other and pull the tape off along the direction that it is stuck.

It should separate in one smooth motion, though be careful of other lengths of tape that may cross over it.  Sometimes two or three lengths may be stuck over one another at joins or over corners, so make sure you’re removing the top length of tape so it will separate easily.

If you need to know how to remove packing tape residue from surfaces that have been secured with tape, then there are a few solutions that can help.  First, we recommend treating with warm, soapy water.  If the residue is not too firm then usually this can work as a quick and simple solution.

If the tape residue is tougher or has been stuck for some time, then try something stronger.  We recommend rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits or spraying with WD40.  Applying to a cloth and then rubbing the residue should lift it easily – do take care though and ensure that the surface won’t be damaged by using one of these formulas.

How to tape packing boxes

Finally, we’re going to wrap up with some information on how to tape packing boxes.  There is a tried and tested method to seal a box that will ensure it’s secure and safe, with all seals covered and reinforced.

The method that we use is called the ‘H’ seal method – when it’s complete, as you can see from the picture below, the tape spells out a letter H.

This method ensures that all seals are securely taped over with no risk of opening.  It also helps to make the box tamper-resistant, as any removal of tape will leave a lasting mark on the box and be clear to see.

Once your items and contents are contained, close all flaps of the box fully.  Once closed, tape up the long centre seal first along the length of the box, ensuring that there is some tape running down the sides of the box to secure it firmly.  Make sure the flaps are shut tight for a strong seal.

With the long flap secured, tape along the two outer edges where the flaps seal finishing the letter H and securely taping the box closed, folding it around the corners and down the sides.

How to tape packing boxes

If you’d like more information about packaging tape, our range of tape dispensers or the many different type of tape that we offer simply get in touch with our team of Packaging Specialists who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

The problem with plastic

Every bit of plastic ever made still existsOur reliance on plastic is at an all-time high, and a lot of the plastic we encounter on a daily basis is single-use. From drinks bottles, straws, stickers on fruit, our clothing and even tea bags, you might not realise it but it is all around us.

What’s the problem?

Plastic is very durable and does not biodegrade – which is what makes it a great material for making so many things. But, because it does not biodegrade it will remain in our environment forever.

Swimming in plastic: What's the harm?

Every year, up to 12.8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans.[i] It can take up to 500 years to decompose and, even then, it will still be present in our environment in the form of microplastics. Microplastics are an ever-growing problem; because of their small size they are difficult to clean up, and marine wildlife accidentally consumes them. In turn, fish and seafood that ends up on our dinner tables have been found to contain microplastics.[ii] This poses a danger to our health too as plastic absorbs contaminants from the surroundings which could pose a significant risk to our health.

What can we do?

On a more local scale, we can all make small changes to curb our plastic consumption. Buying a reusable cup for your morning coffee or saying no to a plastic straw in your drink might seem insignificant, but if everyone makes the effort it can make a difference.

What we can do to reduce plastic consumption

Globally, protective packaging materials make up almost half of all plastic waste. Our Eco Flo loose fill is completely biodegradable and is an easy swap which will help to curb your plastic consumption.

Find out exactly how long some of the most common plastics take to biodegrade, and the alternatives that are better for the environment in Swimming in Plastic: what’s the harm?

[i] https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/7/3/17514172/how-much-plastic-is-in-the-ocean-2018

[ii] http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/fishery-information/resource-detail/en/c/1046435/

How is bubble wrap made?

Protective packaging such as bubble wrap, has one of the most important roles to play in any packaging operation – keeping an item safe from knocks, bumps and shocks, so that it gets to its destination intact and undamaged.

An essential material in this range has always been bubble wrap packaging, ever since it’s invention way back in 1957.  It’s lightweight, strong, soft, easy to work with and offers amazing protection for almost anything – on top of that it’s great fun to pop and an ultimate stress reliver!

In this post we’re focusing on bubble wrap in detail; looking at how it’s made, how it was invented, how it can be used for packaging and how to recycle bubble wrap too!

Bubble wrap packagingImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/bubble-wrap-blow-packaging-1183728/

So, how is bubble wrap made?

Bubble wrap is made from tiny beads of resin, almost like grains of rice.  Several different resins are used for their different properties and these are combined into the material that we know and use as bubble wrap.

The tiny resin beads are melted down together at over 450 degrees Celsius, where they combine and form into a thin film which is the base material for making bubble wrap. This film is then flattened to the required thickness before being fed through rollers with small holes in.

As the film travels over these rollers, air is vacuumed onto it, pushing it into the small holes which create the air bubbles that give it such good protective qualities.

With the air bubbles blown into the film, it’s then run across more rollers which seal it with another layer of film, trapping the air inside and ensuring that the small air bubbles stay contained.

Finally, it’s cut to width and perforated so it can be rolled up into large, industrial sized rolls.  After passing quality checks, it’s then shipped out to be used all around the world.

Transparent bubble wrapImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/bubble-wrap-bubble-wrap-transparent-316133/

Who invented bubble wrap?

Bubble wrap was invented in 1957, not by a single person but by two inventors named Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes. If you’re wondering where was bubble wrap invented, it was first created in Hawthorne, New Jersey in the United States.

Alfred and Marc were not trying to create a packaging material at all but were in fact working to invent a three-dimensional tactile wallpaper by sealing two shower curtains together!

Unfortunately, their invention failed to sell as a wallpaper so they tried marketing it as a greenhouse insulator, also with limited success.  It wasn’t until several years later in 1961 when the packaging and protection offered by their invention was fully realised.

The name ‘Bubble Wrap’ was branded by Sealed Air corporation (which was founded by Alfred and Marc) and IBM became their first large customer, who used it to protect their sensitive computers during shipment.  Over 50 years later it’s used all over the world and is one of the most common packaging materials in use today.

Rajapack Bubble wrap rolls

Is bubble wrap recyclable?

Bubble wrap is recyclable, this amazing material not only excels at offering great protection but surprisingly it can be recycled too.  This section will cover the frequently asked question, “is bubble wrap eco-friendly?”

There are several ways you can recycle it; some local councils are able to collect it along with their standard recycling collections, others offer recycling facilities at local sites which you can take it to.  You’ll need to check with your local council to find out if they accept bubble wrap.  You can easily find out about local recycling collections through the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, by simply entering your postcode.

For a more eco-friendly packaging alternative to standard bubble wrap, take a look at recycled green bubble wrap. This is made from at least 15% recycled polythene for less impact on the environment and is fully recyclable after use.  It’s green colouring makes it identifiable to customers that it’s not your standard bubble wrap and can help to display your businesses’ green credentials. 

Rajapack recycled green bubble wrap

How to use bubble wrap for packaging

You can use bubble wrap for packaging as it is lightweight and strong , bubble wrap can be used in many ways for packing and protecting.  To find out how to use bubble wrap, we’ve included some information below.

Bubble wrap features a flat side and a side with the cushioning bubbles.  A common question we get asked is, “which way round should you wrap items for the best protection?” We always recommend to wrap the bubbles next to the item you wish to protect, so usually that means the bubbles are on the inside.  This gives the best protection by placing the cushioning directly against the item.

For protecting individual items in cartons from bumps and knocks, prewrap bubble wrap around each one before placing into a carton or box.  This will provide a layer of air cushioning, offering excellent protection in combination with the strength of the item.

Use packaging tape to fully secure bubble wrap, tightly sealing the item inside.  This will ensure you get the most protection from the cushioning material.  If it’s only loosely wrapped, then it is likely to slip during transit and won’t be protected.

If you are shipping parcels with several items inside, bubble wrap can be used to layer and separate them, providing a soft layer of air cushioning while preventing products from moving around loosely during shipping.  Divide your bubble wrap into squares, and these can then be placed inside the parcel to cushion and protect between items.

How to use bubble wrap for packaging
https://pixabay.com/en/scissors-tape-blister-foil-1986599/

There are also other bubble wrap packaging items available which can be used to protect smaller, fragile or sensitive items in the post or while in storage.  Bubble wrap bags offer excellent protection for sensitive items, providing all round cushioning and protection.  They’re great for use with an envelope or carton to offer an extra layer of protection.

Rajapack bubble wrap bags

For fragile or sensitive items such as electronics, anti-static bubble wrap bags offer a layer of air cushioning and prevent antistatic discharge.  Finally, for envelopes with extra cushioning take a look at bubble envelopes which offer a simple way to seal and protect mailed items in one complete protective package using bubble wrap.

If you’d like more information on how to recycling packaging materials, read our environmental FAQs, or for further advice please contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.