Tag Archives: packaging supplies

How does shrink wrap work?

Shrink wrap is one of the quickest and easiest ways to package and protect goods. What shrink wrap is used for typically is wrapping especially awkwardly shaped items – from individual packages to boxes on a pallet. It can even be used to wrap up helicopters. It is weather proof and dust proof, while the transparent option easily allows the goods underneath to be identified.Shrink wrap is so versatile it is even used to wrap up US Navy helicopters for transport (Image: Wikipedia)Shrink wrap is so versatile it is even used to wrap up US Navy helicopters for transport (Image: Wikipedia)

But what is shrink wrap made of, how does shrink wrap work and is shrink wrap recyclable? Here we answer these questions and find out how to use it on a practical level in the warehouse, using the right shrink wrap and shrink wrapping equipment to get the job done.

How does shrink wrap work?

Shrink wrap and what shrink wrap is used for covers everything from simple packaging, to holding items together, to protecting them.Shrink wrap collates and protects

How shrink wrap works is something that requires a look at the very molecules that the shrink wrap is made from. To make the plastic film that is used to shrink and wrap items, plastic polymer molecules  – long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms, essentially  – that usually all tangle round each other are heated and stretched so that they all form into straight rows. Once cooled they maintain this aligned structure.

Heating the film again, once wrapped around the goods being packaged, the molecules move about (thanks to all that lovely heat energy being pumped in) and they get all tangled again: making the film as much as 50% smaller.

The shrinking can take place in one direction (uni or monodirectional) or in both length and width (bidirectional) and requires the film to be applied over the goods using a special frame – called a tenter frame – and applying heat correctly. To do it correctly requires the right shrink wrap equipment.

What is shrink wrap?

Shrink wrap is a plastic film that can be stretched over awkwardly shaped items and heated to shrink to tightly fit its contours and crevices as if stuck to it – all without any kind of adhesive.

Shrink wrap pallet covers, film and rolls

This protective packaging comes in sheets and on rolls

So, when was shrink wrap invented? The process of heating and stretching polythene sheets and cooling them and then reversing the process was first trialled in the US as a potential packaging process in the 1960s. It was then refined and had its first commercial use in 1981 in the US.

As to who invented shrink wrap, its provenance is murky. It is claimed that the process was actually invented in the 1960’s at WR Grace and company, by Robert D. Lowry, John Dreyfuss and John W. Harrison of Winchester Massachusetts in the US. The process was then refined and rolled out for industrial use by Global Wrap LLC in the US in 1981.

What is shrink wrap made of?

The molecular structure of Polyethylene, Image: Wikipedia

The molecular structure of Polyethylene (Image: Wikipedia)

Shrink wrap is made of plastic. What type of plastic is shrink wrap made from depends on how it is to be used, but typically it is made from plastic polymer – usually low density polythene or, sometimes, PVC. It can also be made from biaxially orientated polypropylene, a more complex version of polythene. What they all have in common is that they are made of long chain molecules that, in their natural state, tangle round each other like spaghetti.

The molecular structure of Syndiotactic polypropene (Image: Wikipedia)

The molecular structure of Syndiotactic polypropene (Image: Wikipedia)

How to use shrink wrap

Shrink wrap can be used to cover all sorts of things. To use shrink wrap, you need the right plastic shrink wrap film and the right equipment: usually at the very least a heat gun. You may also need a frame to hold the film.

Perforated shrink wrap pallet covers available on a roll

When shrink wrapping pallets of goods, individual shrink wrap pallet covers are available if you want to cover standard sized pallets of goods – available as sheets and on rolls. For more awkward shapes, this protective packaging comes in rolls and sheets, which can then be wrapped or put over the goods and then heated, often with a hand-held heat gun.

How to heat shrink wrap

So, how does heat shrink wrap work? As we have seen, heating pre-stretched polymer sheets allows the ordered molecules to move about and re-order themselves as a tangle of molecules, occupying a much smaller volume and causing the sheet to shrink.

In practice, this means that putting, say, a shrink wrap pallet cover over a pallet, and heating it the cover will start to contract and pull tight over the goods.

How to use heat shrink wrap involves the following steps:

  • place goods on the pallet and loosely cover with a shrink wrap pallet cover
  • make sure it covers everything
  • gently heat with a heat gun evenly, moving round and round the pallet to ensure even shrinkage
  • when tight, stop and allow to cool.

Heat guns are relatively light and portable but must be handled with care

How to use a heat gun for shrink wrap is perhaps the hardest part of the process. It needs a specialist gun, which burns propane or butane to create a hot flame.

RIPACK 3000 heat shrink film gun kit

However, it is crucial that the flame doesn’t contact the film nor the goods being wrapped. For this reason, the flame heats a plate at the business end of the heat gun which radiates heat onto the plastic.

Carefully heat the shrink wrap from a distance to avoid damaging the film

How to recycle shrink wrap

With more attention than ever on the impact of plastic on the environment, many ask can shrink wrap be recycled? So is shrink wrap recyclable: in short it is. Being made of low density polyethylene – or polythene – means that the answer to is plastic shrink wrap recyclable is yes. Polythene is widely recycled and can be put into the recycling waste and reused.

To recycle it, simply keep it once you have removed it and either put it in the standard recycling or, if you find you have a lot of it, there are companies that will come and collect it and take it away to recycle. They will shred it and melt it down to make polythene beads which may very well end up being used to make new shrink wrap.

Want to know more about shrink wrap and shrink wrapping equipment?

For all your packaging advice, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

Game of Boxes

Game of boxes

Do you agree with who’s on the Iron Throne? Well, the Game of Thrones finale might not be how you wanted it to end, but the wheel is now broken welcoming a new age in Westeros.

We have to confess, some of us at Rajapack were also hooked on the exciting plot created by George RR Martin, and writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. We have not thought of a better way to honour it than to relive the most iconic elements with a line of packaging products that has inspired us.

Here’s your special GoT edition using our packaging range. What will be the first product you will buy for your business, your shop or your online store?

Postal tubes for Valyrian steel swordsPostal tubes for Valyrian steel swords

The Rajapack cardboard postal tubes are so strong that they can hold even the most fearsome steel swords, the only ones with which it is possible to kill the White Walkers.

These postal tubes are perfect for GoT swords such as Garra, by Jon Nieve; Guardajuramentos and Lamento de Viuda, departures from the foundry of the mythical Ice of Eddard Stark; or Poison of Heart, property of Tarly House. Even though it is not a valyrio steel weapon, we have remembered the lethal needle of Arya Stark.

Labels of hazardous materials for wild fireLabels of hazardous materials for wild fire

Wild fire is a highly flammable substance that must be handled with great care. Even though at Rajapack we do not condone ‘blowing things up’, in GoT they could do with some packaging and shipping labels, particularly hazard labels, to correctly label packages that contain it (or that contain other dangerous substances).

Book boxes for the treasures within the Citadel libraryBook boxes for the treasures within the Citadel library

In the Citadel library, all the knowledge stored by humanity over the centuries is kept safe. Each book is a real gem, and must be handled with great care so that their treasured history can live on.

Each book must be worshipped and preserved, at Rajapack we have book boxes designed for such GoT items, available in different sizes for the varied editions and volumes, complete with a magical feature; an adhesive strip that seals the box to close.

Paper and pens to ‘manage’ Arya Stark’s listPaper and pens to 'manage' Arya Stark's list

Although Arya Stark has a very good memory, we suspect that it would not hurt to have quality office supplies to write down and cross out names on her list. For this reason, the Rajapack range includes pens and notebooks that you can carry with you at all times. Reliable equipment that would be worthy to accompany Arya in her adventures.

Padded envelopes to protect messages from RavensPadded envelopes to protect messages from crows

In the Seven Kingdoms, no email or telephone exist… but there are some very reliable messengers; the raven, carriers of all kinds of news and trained to travel the distances at a supersonic speed.

So, to ensure the parchments carried by these ravens arrive in perfect condition, it would be advisable to introduce maesters to bubble envelopes. Envelopes lined with protective air filled bubbles, they are ideal for wrapping items, even the most delicate small pieces including jewels to a loved one.

So this concludes our Game of Thrones adventure, but why not journey on to Rajapack for your packaging supplies. And we have a team of Packaging Specialists available that you can call, contact us on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk for help and advice.

Label it – The guide to hazard labels

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

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

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

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

So what labels are available and what do they mean?

Chemical warning labels and what they mean

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

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

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

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

Chemical hazard labels

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

These include:

Non flammable gas chemical hazard label

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

Toxic gas chemical hazard label

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

Flammable gas chemical hazard label

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

Flammable liquid chemical hazard label

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

Flammable solid chemical hazard label

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

Highly flammable chemical hazard label

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

Corrosive chemical hazard label

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

Miscellaneous chemical hazard label

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

Packaging hazard labels and what they mean

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

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

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

So what packing labels are available?

Fragile packaging labels

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

Handle with car packaging labels

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

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

Antistatic packaging labels

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

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

Shockwatch indicator labels

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

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

Specialist Tiltwatch packaging labels

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

How to read a chemical label

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

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

Range of chemical hazard packaging labels

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

Want to know more about shipping and packaging labels?

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

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.”

Corrugate and Plastic, Eco-friendly Packaging

EXPERT PACKAGING GUIDE

Welcome to the second post in our series of Expert Packaging Guides where we take a close look at eco-friendly packaging products and materials, and offer expert guidance on how to select the right packaging to keep your process efficient.

Following our piece on Bubble Vs. Foam, we’re moving the focus to two eco-friendly packaging materials; corrugated cardboard and plastic, their properties, suitability for use and impact on the environment.

Eco-friendly packaging from Rajapack

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/MGaFENpDCsw

Packaging and disposal: a growing concern

In February we held our annual Supplier Day where eco-friendly ecommerce packaging and the disposal of plastic waste was a popular topic of discussion for suppliers, in response to customer feedback.

With the growth of the ecommerce industry we’ve seen a massive rise in demand for suitable packaging which is lightweight, low cost, strong and simple to use. With this growth comes increased waste, which is why we provide eco-friendly choices, to minimise any potential damage to the environment and maximise recycling.

Our recent ‘Art of Recycling’ campaign focused on recycling in an effort to communicate key messages about this important topic in a unique and captivating way. Combined with the popularity of the Blue Planet II series earlier this year, consumer concern has grown making this a very important subject for customers.

Ecommerce Packaging Materials: Corrugate and Plastic

When it comes to Ecommerce Packaging, these two materials are most commonly used by customers. They both offer very different properties as a packaging material, and offer different recycling and disposal options. We’re going to cover both in detail later in the article.

Corrugated & Cardboard Packaging

Corrugated cardboard is no doubt a material you’re familiar with, a strong cardboard box that’s one of the most common packaging materials in use today due to its excellent protection, handling and storage properties. Recently it has experienced price rises as demand has grown from ecommerce businesses, and this is expected to continue into 2019. In the US, demand has continued to outstrip supply as its popularity has continued to grow.

Corrugate is made up of a fluting surrounded by an outer and an inner liner, with another layer of fluting and liners used in double walled corrugate for extra strength. This gives it shockproof protection and crushing resistance due to its rigid properties, making it a great choice for postal boxes, in particular book, CD and media boxes.

Stored as flat packed boxes, it won’t take up much space in your warehouse and can easily be folded out and assembled when needed making it very space efficient. Widely available, corrugate across our ecommerce range is lightweight too, saving on delivery costs when ordering and posting to customers.

Corrugate is 100% recyclable, and has the highest recycling rates of any packaging in the UK. It can easily be recycled at most homes and businesses along with all paper and card. The recycling loop is widely recognised as used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks.

Martyn Clarke, Reedbut eco-friendly quote

Corrugate: The Expert Opinion

We caught up with Reedbut Group, manufacturer and designer of corrugated and cardboard packaging for over 40 years, Martyn Clarke, the Group Sales Director provided his views on this popular material:

Q: What changes have you seen in your industry to corrugated?

A: Our industry has undergone significant changes over the last 5 years as it is challenged to produce more environmentally friendly products. The need for a box to be able to be used on numerous occasions is beneficial for customers from both a cost and carbon footprint standpoint and having them made from already recycled materials adds to the environmental credibility of corrugate.

Q: How have the materials and products improved in use and cost?

A: Eco friendly recycled materials are becoming increasingly common in today’s market. The ability to offer the customer a box that is ‘fit for purpose’ using a recycled performance grade offers the ability to challenge historically used board grades and flute profiles. Potential cost savings are therefore achievable through both unit price reduction, larger pallet quantities and material availability.

Q: What do you see in the future for corrugate?

A: Sustainability is the latest buzz word in the industry and accreditation to FSC or other such governance is essential. Corrugate has a bright future due to the commitment and willingness to develop recycled products. This means that corrugated cases can be made from 100% recycled materials and be 100% recyclable with the aid of a completely closed loop recycling system. Very few direct alternatives to corrugated can offer this facility. We are in the process of developing our core range of performance boards as well as bringing a competitive edge and design focus into the largest growing sector of Ecommerce Packaging.

Plastic Packaging

Plastic has had a lot of publicity recently due to the large amount of waste found in some of the world’s beauty spots and its effect on the environment. The critics argue that this is mainly due to poor disposal rather than the properties of the material itself.

As a packaging material plastic is lighter and thinner than paper and card alternatives, resulting in reduced fuel consumption when transporting, reducing greenhouse gas emissions versus bulkier paper and card. Many plastics are now recyclable too, meaning they can be remade into future packaging efficiently, maintaining their excellent properties time and time again.
Plastic offers many benefits as a material; it’s weatherproof, tearproof and lightweight, with some offering puncture resistance as well as protection from extreme hot and cold temperatures. This level of protection can mean less spoiled parcels, reducing waste and returns.

Plastic is lighter and stronger than paper and card packaging, and plastics and polyurethane foams usually provide better protection for the least resource used, making them a sustainable option.

It’s a material that is seeing continual development in manufacturing and innovation too with increased uses of recycled plastic, more reuse, and a reduction in energy consumption during manufacturing as technology improves.

Ed Roberts, Sealed Air eco-friendly quote

Plastic: The Expert Opinion

We spoke to Sealed Air, a world leader in the manufacture and design of plastic packaging, Ed Roberts, the Sustainability Director gave his thoughts on plastic and its future:

“Given all the recent publicity, it is not surprising that people are looking at alternatives to plastic packaging, with paper and pulp as the most common considered. Sealed Air has a broad range of paper solutions so we understand the environmental benefits and limitations of both paper and plastic. Paper is usually considered to be environmentally friendly but you may be surprised to learn that it has its concerns.

According to the International Energy Agency, paper and pulp production in 2014 consumed 5.6% of the world’s industrial energy requirements. The IEA have also said that the paper and pulp industry must cut direct non-biomass CO2 emissions by 17% by 2025 from 2014 levels to meet the requirement of the Paris COP-21 agreement to limit global warming.

There will be many situations in which paper for void fill and/or cushioning will be perfectly adequate and sustainable. But even the most basic of mobile phones produces about 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas during its manufacture, non-paper solutions such as plastics and polyurethane foams can usually provide better protection with less resources used, being the most sustainable option.

Eliminating plastic would likely increase your material, warehousing and logistics costs, could increase damage rates and potentially be more detrimental to the environment.
The majority of Sealed Air products are already recyclable. We are continually innovating and collaborating with other organisations to develop the infrastructure and technologies required to make all plastics recyclable. As well, most Sealed Air products can be reused and many customers keep the packaging for future use. It is necessary to dispose of the material, polyethylene materials (such as Bubble Wrap™, Fill-Air® Air Bags and Cell-Aire®) can be put into the shopping bag recycling bins found at many supermarkets and recycling centres.

In Summary – Which Material is Right for You?

Making the right choice between which material is best for your needs is something that should be considered across a range of factors; what type of item you’re packaging, what protection it will need, where it will be stored, how it will be shipped, and what storage space you have are just a few things to think about.

Corrugated offers medium and heavyweight protection thanks to the properties of the material, which excels as protecting from shocks, knocks and crushing. Heavier than plastic, it can be slightly more expensive to ship but is straightforward to recycle, and most of what you can buy is 100% recycled already, so it won’t go to landfill and has an excellent recycling loop here in the UK.

Plastic offers excellent all-round protection in the form of puncture, tear and shock resistance. It’s more weatherproof than corrugated solutions too, meaning there’s little concern about moisture, damp, or hot and cold temperatures. Recycling for plastics isn’t generally as efficient as paper and card, though it’s lightweight properties mean less impact on the environment when transporting and delivering.

Some products combine the strengths of both materials and are still fully recyclable, such as padded paper mailing bags (a favourite of ours) so you can get the benefits of both while keeping things eco-friendly.

Joe Wille, Rajapack eco-friendly quote

Finally, we spoke to Joe Wille, Field Sales Manager here at Rajapack UK, to get his thoughts on making the choice between corrugate and plastic for ecommerce packaging.
“We’ve been seeing a fundamental shift away from plastic with customers looking for other packaging solutions. Being able to provide our customers with alternatives to traditional packaging methods, such as packaging machines that supply biodegradable packaging alternatives is an ongoing aim for us here at Rajapack. Going green shouldn’t cost your business more, and we’re here to make customers aware of the choices available, providing them the knowledge to make the right choice for their business.

Some customers are not necessarily looking for eco-friendly products but are drawn to what looks eco-friendly. Part of what we do is to educate buyers on what is eco-friendly and why it is, ensuring that the packaging they use will have a real, positive impact on the environment, moving customers to biodegradable options where possible.

The quality and integrity of our packaging is paramount across all our products. All suppliers are quality assessed before we work with them, and then on an on-going basis to ensure they meet our high standards. We also carry out a bi-annual on-site audit with each supplier at their premises.”

If you’d like further information on ecommerce packaging, or help choosing the right eco-friendly packaging for your business, simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.

Help your business go green in 2018 with our eco-friendly packaging

For our first post of 2018 we’re focusing on a topic that’s close to our heart – environmental responsibility.

Environmental packaging alternatives - go green with Rajapack

We’re all committed to sustainable development to benefit the environment, with an environmental policy in place across all of our 15 subsidiaries across Europe.

We regularly launch campaigns to support and help charities around the world and at home.  Our current campaign is the Women and the Environment programme which has raised more than £625,000 for charity projects around the world and has been extended until the end of August 2018.

More recently we’ve undertaken a survey of over 2,000 people to find out more about recycling in the UK.  We also commissioned a cardboard sculpture artist to produce a piece for us to raise awareness of recycling as part of our Art of Recycling campaign.

It’s important for Rajapack to help our customers go green too.  Moving to more environmentally-friendly packaging offers many benefits for a business as well as being kinder to the planet.  It’s great for improving your brand reputation, differentiating your offering in a crowded marketplace and enhancing the experience for your customers.

Over the past few years we’ve been steadily growing our range of eco-friendly packaging and below we’ve picked out some of our favourites to help your business go green in 2018.

Protection: Green Recycled Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is one of the most popular types of protective packaging as it’s so versatile.  It can be used for a whole range of things including wrapping, layering, separating and cushioning goods to give them great protection during storage or transit.

For a more eco-friendly alternative to standard bubble wrap, we offer recycled, recyclable green bubble wrap. Coloured with a slight tint of green and supplied in 100 metre rolls, it’s made from strong green polyethene, 50 microns in thickness.  It’s completely recyclable and made from at least 15% recycled polythene for less impact on the environment.

Recycled green small bubble wrap - go green with Rajapack

Protection: Biodegradable Loose Fill

If you use a lot of loose fill in your packaging process, then we recommend trying this biodegradable loose fill from Eco-Flo. It’s more environmentally friendly as it breaks down in the environment naturally and is completely compostable.

High quality light, clean chips will settle immediately and fit around goods in a box, preventing them from dropping to the bottom, providing solid protection.  They are 5 times more antistatic than using polystyrene chips, so can be used for any product from delicate ceramics and china to sensitive electronic equipment or heavy mechanical items.

Packaging peanuts otherwise known as void fill or loose fill

Labels: Green Documents Enclosed Envelope Labels

Documents enclosed labels are one of the most common packaging labels, used on all large shipments to identify package details without having to open them.  We offer a green alternative, so you can make small, simple changes to your processes to be more eco-friendly without it costing the earth.

Our green documents enclosed envelope labels are made from 60% recycled materials and are still as strong, sticky and durable as standard non-recycled envelope labels.  Available in three sizes; A5, A6 or DL, they’re made from 60 micron polythene with a paper backing and will stick fast to any package.

Rajalist green document enclosed envelope labels - go green with Rajapack

Strapping: Extruded Polyester Strapping on Cardboard Cores

This eco-friendly strapping, made from 80% recycled material is twice as strong as polypropylene strapping and a great alternative to using steel. The extruded polyester is 100% recyclable and features a cardboard core that can be recycled with your standard paper and board.

Extruded polyester strapping offers lots of other benefits too; it won’t ever rust, scratch or stain your shipments, and its elastic properties mean that it can fit awkward shapes without splitting or losing strength. If you regularly use strapping in your shipments, we recommend taking a look.

Extruded polyester strapping - contains 80% recycled material

Office Supplies: Recycled Cardboard Archive Box Folders

Our eco-friendly range isn’t limited to packaging and protection, we also have office and facilities products available too.  These cardboard archive box folders are great for keeping your office and paperwork organised.

They’re made from 100% recycled cardboard, a single flat sheet of corrugated board which gives a solid finish.  Available in four different spine widths, from 80mm to 150mm, they feature pre-ruled lines across all four side for easy identification.  They’re completely recyclable too.

Recycled cardboard archive box folders

Plastic Bags: Green Grip-seal Polybags

If you’re using grip-seal bags, then we have a great eco-friendly alternative to standard bags.  Our green grip-seal polybags are made with at least 50% recycled material, lessening their impact on the environment during their production and use. They feature a bold green strip along the closure with

They’re great for packaging and protecting a massive range of items, from jewellery and cosmetics, to electronics, magazines and more.  With brilliant clarity through the bag, they can be used for presenting products too.

Paper Packaging: Natural Crinkle Cut Shredded Paper

Made from 100% recycled antistatic Kraft, this crinkle cut shredded paper protects during shipping and looks pretty when presenting gifts and products. The 80gsm natural fibre holds its shape and resists crushing, providing strong protectionyour items.

The spiral folded fibres are perfect for presentation in items such as seasonal hampers, fruit baskets, gift hampers and general gift decoration.  They’re 100% recyclable too.

Crinkle cut shredded paper - fibres that present and protect products

Mailing Bags: Padded Jiffy Green Bags

Made from 100% recycled paper, padded jiffy green mailing bags provide outstanding protection with super strength.  If you’re already using mailing bags to send out your shipments, then these are a great eco-friendly alternative.  Available in ten different sizes, they can be used to ship a wide range of items including heavy duty products such as mechanical parts.

Featuring a 100% recycled paper fibre lining, they are 100% recyclable and offer exceptional protection with their cushioning paper layer.

Padded, self-seal gold Jiffy Green bags - eco-friendly jiffy bags

Palletising: Moulded Wood Pallets

We offer eco-friendly solutions if you ship your goods on pallets, to help you be greener.  These moulded wood pallets are lightweight, incredibly strong, and manufactured from recycled waste timber.  They’re 100% recyclable too, so you can ensure they get recycled into future products after use.

Lightweight and economical, they can easily be stacked when not in use, saving space in your warehouse, and are fully certified for export according to FAO-IPPC-ISPM 15, so there’s no need to fumigate or heat treat them.  They’re available in other sizes too, from mini pallets through to container size to fit standard ISO containers.

100% recyclable standard moulded wood pallets

Export Boxes: Cardboard Loading Cases

If you’re shipping pallets of goods, then we can recommend a green alternative for export boxes.  These cardboard loading cases with optional lids are strong, robust and durable. They’re made from double wall corrugated board with a Kraft paper finish, which makes them damp and moisture resistant, perfect for use in humid conditions.

They’re made of 75% recycled fibres and are 100% recyclable.  Once recycled after use, they can be remade and reused in just two weeks.

If you’d like to see how our team of packaging experts can help your business be a little greener for 2018, simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.

Cardboard loading cases with optional lids