Tag Archives: packaging

Posting parcels to your customers

Posting parcels to your customers

For shipping and deliveries within the UK or internationally, businesses can either use the Royal Mail or a courier to send their postal boxes, pallet loads or even items in small mailing bags – if they do not have their own dedicated fleet. For small businesses it is convenient to ‘pop it in the post’, or for larger businesses to arrange shipping and deliveries with couriers.

Unfortunately accidents can happen, if any damages occur during transit it’s likely that the retailer can be found accountable – despite it necessarily not being their fault. It might also mean retailers may have to incur the costs associated with the order.

As far as the customer is concerned, they placed an order from your business and they received a damaged product, regardless of it leaving your warehouse on time, and in tip top condition.

A happy online shopper is one that has received their delivery in the post, and of course, as expected. We are captivated by videos and pictures of unboxing or when a parcel is perfectly packed – who wouldn’t want to share their latest purchase.
Posting parcels to your customers - a happy online shopper

However, if a delivery is delayed or if the parcel is received in poor condition, this would probably result in a very unhappy shopper. And this customer is likely to share their disappointment on social media with a sad or angry Emoji, instead of a smiley cheery face.

In such a competitve market, customers are spoilt for choice and are not afraid to return their orders and look elsewhere.

Whether you have your own fleet of delivery vans, or not, here are some pointers to help you improve the efficiencies of your delivery and to help ensure a happy customer.

#1 Deliver directly to letterboxes

When the size, weight or value of goods permit, use envelopes and mailing bags or postal boxes that can fit through post boxes or letter boxes.  Online retailers can improve efficiency by using letter-box design available packaging suited to products, but also, to reduce costs. This also decreases the number of touchpoints that could go wrong before it safely reaches the customer’s hands.

Benefits to the customer:

  • No missed delivery and redelivery needing scheduled
  • No parcels left in unsecure places or left outside and subjected to adverse weather conditions affected by the weather
  • No misshaped or unpresentable parcels from oversized packaging

Benefits for the retailer:

  • No additional postal costs from using packaging too large for the size of the product
  • No unnecessary or additional void fill needed to protect the product
  • No admin time rescheduling deliveries and drivers redelivering parcels
  • No storage space needed to hold the redeliveries

Royal Mail letter, parcel and postal tubes sizes

Source: Royal Mail

The European standard EN 13724:2002 standardises the size of letter boxes across Europe, this ensures all post within the set dimensions can be successfully posted through customers’ doors. Unfortunately, the UK did not adopt this regulation1 meaning letter box dimensions do slightly vary. Despite this, to increase the deliverability a business must adhere to the strict postal size and weight restrictions letters and parcels from the Royal Mail and the UK standard delivery information from the Post Office, and also, make sure the efficiency and the quality of the packaging is the most suited.

#2 Efficient and quality packaging

You won’t have as much control over the journey and conditions of your deliveries if you use a delivery company. To help the success of your deliveries, some steps can be taken such as understanding how to use packaging labels and hazard labels, informing the carrier how the parcel should be handled or even making sure the parcels are sealed correctly by knowing how to use packaging tape. Even if your business has its own delivery vehicles – you can still benefit by making sure the most effective and appropriate packaging is used.

Efficient and quality packaging

  1. To reduce packaging costs: Insert your measurements into our box finder or bag finder, and the right sized cardboard box or bag will be displayed. Meaning, products will not shift in packaging that’s too big, no extra void fill needed to fill spaces, or damages from the loose-fitting packaging – which will also make the parcel look unpresentable.
  2. Innovative packaging materials: Simplify packing with multi-purpose and versatile packaging materials. Packaging with integrated protection, such as mailing bags with adhesive strips (no tape is required), foam postal boxes, with protective inner foam lining or book boxes, will completely wrap around securing the products.
  3. Custom-made and bespoke packaging: Designed to fit specific products so packaging dimensions can be maximised. Bespoke packaging also reduces the need for additional packaging, as with most bespoke packaging the protection is included into the design – preventing contact with the main outside packaging layer and the product itself.

For advice on your packaging operation, contact our Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28, or email sales@rajapack.co.uk.

1 https://www.safe.co.uk/safezone/2011/09/the-european-standard-for-letter-boxes/

What is volumetric weight and how does this affect your logistics packaging costs?

This easy to read guide will help you understand what volumetric weight is, and the effect this has on businesses. If your business operates on volumetric weight (otherwise known as dimensional weight or DIM) it can help to reduce your transport and logistics costs. Reducing transportation costs is one of the key challenges for most companies, whether you’re a small-scale ecommerce packaging boutique with a small parcel cost to a large distribution company shipping boxes with heavy duty goods.Volumetric weight used by delivery companies

So, what is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is a method to calculate the chargeable weight of a package, using volume rather than gross weight. It takes into account the total space used by the package in the delivery vehicle and not just the weight of the package.

Essentially, the method of calculating the dimensional weight is more commercial for delivery companies.

If packages were only measured by weight, the cost to ship less dense, lightweight packages would be low, and the cost to ship dense, heavy items would be high. However, there is no relation between its size and density.

Dimensional weight is otherwise known as the DIM factor

Pricing based on dimensional weight balances out the shipping cost issues of large bulky packages that are lightweight. It is unprofitable to ship when the cubic space taken up is higher in relation to the weight. It allows carriers to also represent the density, by using the dimensional weight (DIM factor) which could vary between 5000 – 7000. The DIM factor is divided by the length, width and height of the package to calculate the unique weight, shape and size.

This method is also applied to heavy but small packages. However the carrier will instead charge per kilogram, whichever is greater; the gross weight or the volumetric weight of the package.

The volumetric weight of a package is calculated by the following formula:

L x W x H  / (DIM factor)

DIM factor = 5000 (in cms) or 305 (in inches)

Say you want to send a lightweight package with the dimensions of 50 x 30 x 30cm, which weighs only 3kg, using the common DIM factor of 5000 (for centimetres or DIM factor 305 for inches). The volumetric weight is 9 kg, and so it will be charged on this basis.

And conversely, if you send a heavy package with the dimensions of 30 x 30 x 20cm which weighs 10kg, divide by common DIM factor 5000. The volumetric weight is 5.4kg, which is lower that the gross weight, so this package will be charged on the gross weight.

Volumtretic weight formula

How can volumetric weight measure costs?

Volumetric weight is a measurement of cost for the delivery company. The mileage the delivery vehicle covers is a cost factor, travelling nationally and internationally, but the size of the vehicle which determines its weight allowance will affect how many parcels it can hold. The more parcels the delivery vehicle can carry, the more economical it is for the carrier, as the cost per journey is reduced.

In principal, the method to calculate the shipping and delivery cost is:

  • If your package is light and big, it will be charged on its volumetric weight.
  • If your package is heavy and small, it will be charged on its gross weight.

So, when packing, it is important to consider both the weight and size of your package to reduce the cost of transporting goods.

Dimensional weight used by delivery companies

Which industries are affected by volumetric weight?

Technically, volumetric weight will apply to all industries. The pricing technique is based on the package needing to transport, and the space it takes up in the freight carrier whether it is transported by a ship, lorry, or plane.

Also if your business provides a free shipping and returns service – keep in mind the same pricing method would be applied. So, if the returns their order you could be making a loss.

For further advice on reducing transportation costs, contact our Packaging Specialists on 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajapack.co.uk to discuss your product range and your packing operation.


Top tips! 3 tips to optimising the volumetric weight of your packages. Read more>>


 

3 tips to optimising your volumetric weight

When budgeting for your transport and logistics costs, do you calculate your delivery costs using volumetric weight?

Many factors influence transportation costs, such as fluctuating petrol and diesel prices, and the transportation mileage. Budgeting to the volumetric weight of packages can help businesses control logistical costs. But frst, you need understand the fundamentals of this pricing method and apply the optimisation techniques.

Before we move on to the cost saving tips, if you are not familiar with volumetric weight, we recommend that you read: “What is volumetric weight and how does this affect your logistics packaging costs?”. So that you can fully understand how to optimise your delivery costs.


Find out what volumetric weight is and how this affects your logistics packaging costs. Read more>>


Tip 1. Reducing packaging dimensions

Tip 2. Plan for the delivery times you need

Tip 3. Choose the right delivery company

Tip 1. Reducing packaging dimensions

Reducing your packaging dimensions reduces your shipping costs. This all starts with knowing your products, inside and out; review your range by measuring the size and weight. Then, applying the product measurements, carry out an audit of your existing packaging to measure its suitability. To reduce your packaging dimensions, your audit should consider what the protection qualities are, and how they house your products.

The right sized packaging reduces excess space and void fill used. Reducing the volumetric weight also reduces shipping costs, whilst increasing the protection levels with the appropriate packaged being used.

Having effective packaging materials suited to your product range and knowing how to pack your products for shipping are both key. Discuss your process with a Packaging Specialist to find out if you’ve got the right packaging materials and that they are applied in the most efficient way. You can also further optimise by choosing bespoke packaging, personalised packaging fit for purpose.

Once you have identified the most efficient packaging for your products, you can make further savings by buying in bulk. Wholesale prices will make further cost savings.


Contact a Packaging Specialist on 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajapack.co.uk for free advice


Once your packages are ready for shipment, cross-analyse the dispatch frequency with the products sent. This will help to categorise your shipments by weight, and which band tariffs are most invoiced for. Co-ordinate your consignments in a pricing table to identify which products have the higher shipment frequencies. This can provide further cost-savings when scheduling the deliveries. Once you have a complete list, you can then enquire the rates and frequencies with your delivery provider.

Reduce your volumetric weight so less space is used in the delivery vehicle

Tip 2. Plan for the delivery times you need

The delivery times can determine the mode of transport; by road, air or sea. For express deliveries needing to get to its destination quicker, these packages are given priority, so the postage costs are generally higher.

If you offer a free delivery service to your customers, have you researched if an express delivery service is needed. Or can your customers wait an extra day or two for delivery?

For next day and quick deliveries, such as a just-in-time approach, it does depend on the industry and market in which your business operates. Although, we as consumers in this technological age, do expect things ‘now’. Services such as Deliveroo for the fast food industry, and Same-Day delivery service with Amazon, are perfect for customer that can’t wait. However, if given the choice or if your business set-up allows, a non-express delivery service could be better. Your operation would need to adjust for the longer lead times. The cost of delivery is considerably less for the longer delivery dates, and whether your company provides a free delivery service or not. This could not only save your business money when dispatching orders, but as a customer, placing an order too. So, if you provide a free delivery service, make sure to incorporate volumetric weight costs into the total order value.

So, for an optimal shipping method, adapt your business structure if possible to incorporate volumetric weight into your transportation costs; whether you’re a supplier or a customer.

Plan for the delivery times you need

Tip 3. Choose the right delivery company

Unfortunately not all carriers apply the same pricing method and there is no standardised regulation for delivery companies to do so. The method to determine its volumetric weight will be dependent on the business strategy of the delivery company, which will be optimised to its business model. (Although, many companies will operate on the DIM factor of 5000).

When enquiring about the delivery rates be sure to ask for the method of calculating the delivery costs. Secondly, ask for a tariff grid so you can see the pricing structures. This will help you easily compare the different services provided.

Compare the volumetric weight costs of UK delivery companies:

  • Calculate shipping costs with DHL
  • Calculate shipping costs DPD
  • Calculate shipping costs with Hermes
  • Calculate shipping costs with Parcel Force

For more information on developing your packing and packaging process, speak to our Packaging Specialist 0800 542 44 28 or sales@rajaapck.co.uk for help and advice.

Storage solutions

The key to good warehousing is good storage solutions and organisation: and that means having the right storage bins and warehouse equipment to keep everything in the right place and making sure everyone can find what they are looking for.Warehouse storage solutions

There is a vast array of storage solutions available, from simple cardboard storage bins to plastic storage boxes that stack in neat piles. They can be shelved, wall or rack mounted, stacked, and smaller ones can often be used inside larger ones.

So what exactly is a storage container, how big are they, what are they made of and how can you use them?

What is a storage container?

A storage container is any sort of container used to keep things in and they are usually found in warehouses or offices. They can also be called storage bins and can be pretty much any shape, size, colour or material – although cardboard and plastic are favoured as they are strong and economical to mass produce – they can be used to store pretty much anything.

Storage bins come in all shapes, sizes and materials

There are storage containers that fit on shelves, on wall mounted panels or stack up on themselves; there are louvred storage bins to heavy-duty lidded crates. Whatever your storage needs, there is a storage solution for it.

There are ranges of lidded bins, both in cardboard and plastic that can handle all manner of storage and warehousing needs. From storing and protecting documents, to filing tools, nuts and bolts and a vast array of other products – you just need to remember what you have put into which bin!

How to label storage bins

Labelling storage bins is crucial for knowing just what is in each bin or container, making it clear for anyone to find what they are looking for. How to label them comes down to what you are storing in them, but a few rules of thumb apply.

If you have lots of wall mounted containers or a stack of storage bins with lids, it can help to label them either alphabetically or chronologically and keep an inventory of what, when and where items were stored.

While it is possible to write on cardboard and some plastic containers, sticky labels are ideal as they can be clearly printed on and, should the contents of that storage bin change, a new label can be stuck over the old (or the old removed and replaced with a new one).

There are also ranges of storage bins that come with plastic holders for labels, as well as ranges that feature a slot for a label, making labelling straightforward and clear.

Storage bins with plastic label holders or with a slot for a label

If your containers contain fragile or dangerous goods, then you must label them correctly. Read our guide on hazard labels that can be used to mark those up – showing everything from ‘Fragile’ to ‘This way up’ to some of the dangers that may be stored within, such as ‘Corrosive’ or “Flammable’ and so on.

What are storage containers made of?

Storage containers are made of a range of materials, but typically they are made either from cardboard or from plastic. Cardboard is typically used for lighter, and drier goods, that do not generally require special handling. Cardboard storage bins are economical, ecological and are pretty flexible as to what you can keep in it.

Cardboard storage bins are cheap, plentiful and great for lighter storage

Plastic storage containers are made from high strength polypropylene – with some even made from recycled high strength polypropylene – and come in a range of thicknesses depending on the load they are likely to carry. Plastic storage containers can hold more heavy duty products, and are more durable and resistant.

Some storage solutions are made from transparent light-grade high-strength polypropylene, convenient for people to identify the contents, especially when they are stacked. Also, clear storage bins are useful for seeing what is stored within, and are available in selected colours – which are not only pretty, but extremely useful for colour-coding the inventory contained therein.Stackable plastic storage bins

 

Other bins such as large heavy-duty stackable plastic storage bins are made from super-thick high grade high-strength polypropylene, able to take a much greater weight of contents and allowing for tall stacks. These can handle all manner of storage demands – including handling containerised liquids, some foods, chemicals and dirty or oily parts – and have an excellent longevity in use.

Some storage containers are made from polyboard: a wipe-clean, 3.5mm thick polypropylene honeycomb that is shock and chemical resistant, as well as very light and very storing. These are ideal for the storage of mechanical and electrical parts and even pharmaceuticals.

Poliboard stackable plastic storage containers

How big is a storage container?

How big a storage container is depends on a number of factors. With such a vast choice of different storage options available it is hard to pick standard sizes across the board, but within certain categories of container there are usually a range of options.

Louvred storage bins that can be stacked or wall-mounted on louvred panels, come in a range of sizes and capacities – and with capacities that depend on whether they are standalone, stacked or mounted. At Rajapack we offer these bins in 8 different sizes and come in 4 colour variants.

Stackable plastic containers are slightly more standardised. The Rajapack range offer these containers in three sizes, coming in volumes of 14, and 52 litres, from sizes 400x280x200mm, 500x350x250mm and 590x400x290mm. This allows containers of the same size to be stacked – and many have secure interlocking mouldings on the bottoms and the lids to make them more stable.

Perforated Euro plastic stacking containers – which look a lot like old-fashioned beer crates – are another plastic storage solution that come with handy handles, and which also stack and are great for anything that may need ventilation while being stored.

Perforated Euro plastic stacking containers

At Rajapack these come in nine sizes, but all based around a standard 600x400mm footprint. Some are 300x400mm and some 600x800mm, but again these are multiples of the standard size. They come in heights of 70mm, 118mm, 150mm, 235mm, 280mm, 320mm and 410mm.

Picking the right sizes for your particular need is key – not least if you want them to stack. This is why it is often a good idea to buy your whole storage solution from one supplier, so that you have commonality of sizes which can also work together.

How much does a storage container weigh?

How much a storage container weighs depends very much on its size and what it is made from. Attached lid plastic storage containers’ weight are between 3.1 and 3.6kg depending on size, while most of the others are lighter, weighing in at under a kilo each.

The weight of a storage container depends largely on what you put in it, but they all come with weight limits. That said, the high strength polypropylene containers are so strong that they can’t hold enough bulk to break them.

How wide is a storage container?

The widths of storage containers are variable, as we have seen, although families of containers often come in neat multiples of one another so that they at least tesselate when stacked or can be arranged in neat combinations on shelves or wall mounts.

Louvred containers as we have seen come in a variety of widths that allow them to be mixed and matched to fit on standard wall mounts or trolleys. In the Rajapack range, large cardboard storage bins come in widths of 440 and 835mm to fit on standardised shelving.

Stacking containers tend to have standard footprints or multiples thereof. Euro plastic stacking and nesting containers, for example, come in standard widths of 300 or 400mm and lengths of 400 or 600mm. They then offer different storage volumes based around a range of heights.

Louvre storage bins

Are plastic storage bins recyclable?

What can you do with old storage bins? Despite being tough and resilient, eventually you may need to get rid of storage bins and containers – so what can you do with them?

Cardboard storage solutions can of course simply be recycled at any recycling centre. Polypropylene (PP) containers – including polyboard – can be recycled at specialist PP recycling centres, where they are crushed, chipped and melted down. This recycled PP is then used to make more storage containers – and garden furniture, butter tubs, bottle tops and more.

Want to know more about storage containers?

For additional advice on storage solutions, our packaging experts are here to help you find the right packaging solution and arrange next day delivery. Simply call us on 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.

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

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.

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.

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.

Bubble wrap recycling

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.

Corrugated cardboard boxes 101: What you need to know

Cardboard is the one of the most popular packaging materials in use today, and the most well known is corrugated cardboard boxes, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.  It’s lightweight, strong and resilient, offering excellent protection for almost any item.  But did you know that it’s corrugated cardboard that gives boxes their strength?

Today we’re focusing on precisely that – the material that gives corrugated cardboard boxes their superior strength and resilience.  In this post we’ll be covering everything corrugate related, including how cardboard boxes are made, when corrugated cardboard was invented and how it works, as well as tips on recycling; how to shred, cut and dispose of corrugate.

Corrugated cardboard boxes - What you need to knowImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/cardboard-perspective-texture-467819

How is corrugated cardboard made?

First we’ll start with the basics – just what is corrugated cardboard?  Put simply, it’s the thick, strong arrangement of card that makes up the walls of a cardboard box.  It’s this combination of materials that gives cardboard their high strength and resistance to bumps, knocks and crushing.

The cardboard that makes it up is arranged in a concertina, zig-zag like like pattern which gives strength to both sides of the box. This is held in place and secured with a layer of paper on either side which is called the fluting.  Fixed in place firmly with strong adhesive, it can be made of different types of paper such as Kraft or Test, and it’s these outer layers that keeps the corrugate securely contained inside.  For more information about the inner liners and fluting, take a look at our beginner’s lesson in corrugate cardboard and cardboard in a recent post about cardboard box disposal.

How is corrugated cardboard madeImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/corrugated-cardboard-boxes-flutes-2225141/

So, exactly when was corrugated cardboard invented?  Its history goes back a long way – the earliest reports of it being patented were in England in 1856. Although it was not thought of as a packaging material at the time and was mainly used for other things such as hat lining!

The first recorded packaging and shipping patent for corrugate was in the United States and issued on December the 19th, 1871, where it was used for wrapping bottles and glass lantern chimneys.   In the years that followed it became a popular packaging material, with wooden crates and boxes replaced by corrugated paper shipping cartons from the early 1900s.

With the development of this resourceful material, cardboard boxes could be readily made for reliable shipping and storage, but how are cardboard boxes made?  The process begins by making the inner corrugated board – this is done by a large machine called a corrugator.  Board is fed into the corrugator, heated and pressed into the concertina form that we see above – this forms the central filling of the cardboard box wall.  Two outer liners, the fluting, are then fed through and securely glued to the corrugate using very strong adhesive.  Once the glue is set using steam, the flat complete board can be cut into large sheets of various sizes which are used to form the flat packed cardboard boxes that you receive from your packaging supplier. At Rajapack we stock over 600 different sizes and types of cardboard boxes , so you can imagine the cutting and loading process can become quite complicated!

What is corrugated cardboard used for?

Corrugated cardboard can be used for various applications, the most common is to house items with the use of a corrugated cardboard box. But first, let’s understand just how does corrugated cardboard work?  This innovative construction features three separate materials and gets its super strength from the combination of all 3 working together.  In the centre, the concertina card is tightly but firmly packed within two layers of fluting and this gives strength across the width of the card to both sides of the material. It’s this concertina structure that makes the card super strong.

With many different types of cardboard box available, we often get asked which is the right one to use, and how thick is corrugated cardboard?  The great thing about how it’s made means that many different types and strengths can be produced.

Some use thinner, more lightweight materials with a single layer of corrugate for a light and strong box – these are called single wall boxes.  Others can use several layers of corrugate made from much thicker card.  For these boxes, the material can feel as strong as steel! Our ultimate strength triple wall boxes can support up to an impressive 500Kg in weight, all from a few layers of cardboard!

Corrugated cardboard 101 - Single double and triple wall boxes

We already know that corrugated board was patented for use as a shipping material in 1871, and this was for single side, single face corrugated board with one layer of paper on one layer of corrugate.  But who invented corrugated cardboard? The patent was registered in New York City by Albert Jones – you can actually see the first patent for corrugate as this is hosted online, along with the description and technical information registered – a fascinating piece of packaging history!

Why is corrugated cardboard so strong?

Corrugate cardboard is so strong because of it’s internal structure, and this contributes to the same reason why corrugated cardboard is a good insulator. The main strength of corrugate comes from it’s concertina like zig zag shape.  Being contained within fluting by strong adhesive, cardboard is strongest along the length of the material and it’s this structure that gives it strength to support both sides. And all between the fluting air is trapped and cannot move around, the layers prevent the air from escaping making it a poor head conductor.

Is corrugated cardboard recyclable?

Corrugated cardboard is recyclable, for additional information on Rajapack and the environment why not take a look at our environmental FAQs and read on.

As a packaging provider we must be mindful of how our packaging materials can be recycled  and in an environmentally responsible way. So, is corrugated cardboard biodegradable?

The good news is that yes, it is biodegradable. It will break down in the environment over time, though it can take a long time depending on the environment that it’s in.  If it’s wet and broken up into small pieces then it will degrade much faster, so if you have a compost bin at your home or business then cardboard can be a great addition to your compost.

Boxes can be quite large once broken down particularly if they’re pallet or export boxes.  If you don’t have a great deal of space to store them on site in between recycling collections, then you may wish to shred your cardboard.

If you want to know how to shred corrugated cardboard, it’s simple and straightforward.  You could use an automatic cardboard shredder which perforates and converts corrugated cardboard into a strong, shock absorbent netting material which can be used as packaging.  Alternatively, you can shred it manually by soaking it in water which makes it very easy to tear and cut through with normal scissors if it’s single or double wall.  For triple wall, you might need something a little stronger like a box cutter detailed below, or some industrial scissors that offer more strength.

Even though it does break down, it’s always our preference to recycle cardboard when you can – all our boxes are made from 75% recycled fibres on average.  Local recycling collections for paper and card are usually frequent and the recycling loop for corrugate is so efficient that used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks!  Cardboard recycles very well, without loss of strength or rigidity so it’s an excellent material to recycle.

Crushed corrugated cardboard boxes ready to be recycledImage source: https://unsplash.com/photos/1PxGp8kkQyk

Corrugated cardboard is also great to use for packing – placing in boxes to separate items to hold them securely in place.  The fact that it’s lightweight, easy to handle and cut means it’s perfect for many different uses.  If you’re wondering how to cut corrugated cardboard then don’t worry, it’s easy.  A small cutting knife, called a box cutter will do the job with ease and glide through corrugate easily.

Open a corrugated cardboard box with box cutters

What is non-corrugated cardboard?

Finally we’re looking at non-corrugated cardboard as an alternative.  Non-corrugated cardboard is exactly the opposite of corrugate as you would expect! In this material, cardboard is simply layered on top of each other, in the similar way to how puff pastry is made.  This can make the cardboard material smoother, so it’s good for printing striking visuals or designs onto.

It’s mainly used for lightweight products, presentation boxes and you may have encountered it in things like iPhone boxes or for other gadgets.  Generally, it’s not recommended to be used as a serious packaging material, though can be cheaper than corrugate due to its simpler and more lightweight construction.

If you’d like more information about corrugated cardboard, our range of cardboard boxes and packaging supplies, or help on selecting the right cardboard packaging for your business, get in touch with our team of packaging experts 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.