Tag Archives: postal

Is a traditional greeting card the gift that keeps on giving?

Traditional vs electronic greetings card

A traditional greeting card is a great way to let someone know you’re thinking of them. Yet in the digital age of iMessage, WhatsApp and email – where we can do it all online with the mere touch of a button – is there still a place for putting pen to paper?

After all, many of these apps are now signified by the envelope icon itself, but how do they hold up against the real-life, physical card, envelope and mailing bag?

What’s the case for the traditional greeting card?

For some people, nothing can compare to a handpicked, handwritten greetings card. There’s something about the putting of pen to paper and the tangibility of handwritten words that is an inherently personal act. It’s considered, as opposed to a copy and paste job – and it takes time to do.

Not only that, but for many there’s something sentimental about its journey: from one person, in one place, to another somewhere else – often embodying so much more than a message, but a memory of a time, place, person or emotion.

Finally, it holds a physical permanence; a greeting card can become an ornament in your home, a heartfelt note that never leaves you, or put in your memory box to be remembered later in life.Rajapack envelope

How do we communicate in the digital age?

In today’s fast-paced and frenetic world, we are finding new ways to speed up in all aspects of life.

Thanks to almost every aspect of our lives moving online, we can now see our calendar appointments, book our gym classes, keep track of our friends’ birthdays and let multiple people know we are thinking of them at any one time.

This means that there is no longer the same need to pick out that personal card, write it by hand and take it to your friend, or, post it through the letter box.

And digital messages are getting more sophisticated. We’ve said goodbye to the grey text box and can now send words or voice notes accompanied with emojis, photos, videos, gifs, and even the latest movement in communications – memes.

It’s cheaper and instantaneous – and is beneficial where speed, reach, cost and flexibility are concerned. We can whizz over a text, tame our conscience and tick ‘contacting so-and-so’ off our long list of to-dos. But does it do enough?

Where does it leave our traditional well-wishes?

We wanted to know where traditional greeting cards stand today, especially with companies such as Moonpig seizing the benefits of each and bridging the gap between both.

We know that people still give them to celebrate significant events and special occasions, but is this due to societal pressures, or could it be something more? And is it only a matter of time before, much like the carrier pigeon or even the telephone box, the traditional greeting card is signed, sealed and decidedly done?

We surveyed the UK about their attitudes to greeting cards today, as well as speaking to applied linguist and author at the Open University, Philip Seargeant, about whether he thinks they will stand the test of time. Find out the full story on the future of the greeting card here: Traditional vs electronic greetings: What does the future hold?

 

 

Labelling Packages for Shipping

Using the correct packaging will ensure your parcels are well protected and secured during shipping, but there’s one other important item that you need to include so that it reaches the right destination – a clear and correct address label is essential for any shipment.

Whether you’re shipping parcels up and down the UK or overseas, having the right labels will mean that it’s handled correctly at all stages of its journey; minimising damage, passing through customs smoothly, and reaching its destination on time.

When it comes to labelling your parcels there are a multitude of options available from simple handling instructions, indicators, and hazard warnings to sealed document envelopes.  Below we’ll take you through the main types of packaging labels available and offer some tips on what you’ll need if you’re shipping abroad including how to apply labels to your parcels.

Handling, hazard and documents enclosed labels

Shipping Nationally & Internationally

Depending on your parcel’s final destination there are different types of forms that you’ll need to include to ensure it gets through customs smoothly.

If you’re sending within the UK…

Post as normal – include the destination name and address, and a commercial invoice with details of the order and the sender’s name and address.

If you’re sending within the EU…

It’s just like shipping in the UK as we’re still part of the single market.  There will be no customs charges and no special customs documents are needed.

If you’re sending to the rest of the world…

Then your parcel will pass through customs and you’ll need to include a completed customs form.  There might also be additional import charges to pay based on the information you include on the form.

There are two different forms depending on the value of the items you are sending:

  • Up to £270, you’ll need a Customs Declaration Form CN22 (signed & dated).
  • Over £270, you’ll need a Customs Declaration Form CN23 (fully completed).

You can find the forms you’ll need and more useful information on shipping internationally on the Royal Mail website.

Where Should Labels Be Placed?

Correctly labelled parcels and packages

If you’re including handling instructions on your parcel, such as ‘This way up’ or ‘Handle with care’, then placing these on several sides will ensure that they’re not missed and that it’s clear to everyone who handles your shipment. Finally, avoid placing labels over a seam or closure of your parcel, such as on the top along the sealing tape.   Always position labels on the largest surface of the package you are shipping.  For a small jiffy bag or envelope this will be on the front face of the package. If you’re shipping a box, then the largest side of the box, which is usually the front face.

The Types of Packaging Labels Available

Below, we’ve detailed an overview of the main packaging labels available for your shipment.  Combined with high quality packaging, the correct labelling will ensure your parcel reaches its intended destination in one piece and on time. 

Documents Enclosed Envelopes & Labels

Wherever your parcel is going you must ensure all paperwork is included at every stage of its journey.  A Documents enclosed envelope label will keep all those important details safe and dry during shipping, such as the address details and your customer’s invoice.

Documents Enclosed Envelope Labels

These envelope labels feature a full adhesive backing to stick firmly to parcels and are transparent so that the delivery address can clearly be seen on the front.  Once the paperwork is folded and tucked in, they seal tight so that everything inside is kept safe.  They should be included on every large parcel you ship to your customers, so always ensure you are well stocked with these envelopes.

At Rajapack, they are available in four different sizes from 115mm x 100mm right up to 315m x 225mm for larger parcels.  All feature a clear address window, so the paperwork is visible to everyone that handles your parcel on its journey.

Eco-friendly documents enclosed labels are also available for businesses that wish to minimise their impact on the environment.  Choose green documents enclosed labels which are made from 60% recycled materials and feature a green message.

For larger operations envelope dispensers are ideal if you’re sending a lot of parcels.  These heavy-duty dispensers use rolls of up to 330 labels and can be secured to a work surface for quick and easy dispensing.

Handling Instruction Labels

Handling Instruction Labels

Handling instruction labels include clear instructions on a parcel such as ‘Fragile’, ‘This end up’ and ‘Do not bend’.  If your package needs these special instructions, then adding these labels will ensure everyone who encounters your parcel knows how to handle it correctly.Once you’ve included the correct paperwork with your parcel, you should consider adding handling labels to provide clear handling instructions to anyone who will be shipping your parcel.

Handling instruction labels come in 8 different messages:

  • Handle with care
  • Open with care
  • This end up
  • ‘This way up’ arrow image
  • Do not crush
  • Do not bend
  • Documents Enclosed
  • Caution Heavy

Fragile labels are also available for parcels that are delicate and need to be handled very carefully, such as glass or ceramics. 

Hazard Labels

If your parcel includes anything that could be considered hazardous such as flammable gas, flammable liquid, corrosive or toxic chemicals, then hazard labels should be also added.  This helps couriers to ensure that your package is stored and transported safely, and that no accidents could occur because of mishandling.

Highly visible, each hazard label features a pictogram with a hazard statement to clearly state the nature of the package’s contents and how it should be treated.

Labelling consignments with Hazard labels

If you’re not sure if your parcel needs a hazard label, the Health & Safety Executive offer information about the labelling and packaging of hazardous materials, with further advice offered by the European Chemical Agency about when these labels are required. 

Specialist Labels

For items that are sensitive to static electricity, being dropped or handled roughly or being tilted during shipping, there’s a range of labels that can provide protection for sensitive shipments.

Shockwatch and Tiltwatch labels are both indicator labels.  They stick to wooden packing boxes, cardboard or plastic, are resistant to moisture and suitable for exporting overseas.  If your parcel has been tilted or suffered a high impact during shipping then they will let your recipient know immediately on delivery.

Shockwatch labels feature a small glass tube that turns red and stays red if dropped or handled roughly. Tiltwatch labels permanently show red if the product has been tilted over 90 degrees.  Both labels provide an instant way to identify if your parcel has been mishandled during transport, so you can easily identify the responsible party in the event of a complaint.

Specialist labels provide extra protection to sensitive shipments

Finally, for sensitive electronic equipment such as circuit boards, computer equipment or mobile devices, apply an antistatic packaging label on your parcel (combined with antistatic protective bags) to make it clear that your parcel is sensitive to static electricity and must be handled as such. 

Postage Labels

Postage and Printer labels to clearly mark all parcels and packages

If you’re sending smaller packages such as mailing bags, envelopes or bubble mailers you might not need to include a full documents enclosed envelope label.  Simple address labels which detail the recipient’s address and the return address for the sender might be all you need.  A postage label is ideal for use here and can be quickly and easily printed off from a normal inkjet or laserjet printer.

Avery have been printing labels since 1937, and their laser and inkjet labels come in fully perforated sheets made from FSC certified paper with an eco-friendly, water based permanent adhesive for easy application.  They can be printed from practically any computer once you’ve installed their free design & print software, allowing you to set up and save personalised label templates, or generate labels from excel databases such as mailing lists.

Thermal Labels

For convenience, thermal labels are excellent – they lightly burn information directly onto thermal paper for long lasting labels which require no ink, meaning less to spend on printing supplies.

They’re perfect for an office desk or small packaging operation with their small and compact size, but don’t be fooled, these little printers can run off large volumes of labels – up to 71 per minute from the Dymo LabelWriter 450.

Dymo Thermal Printers and Labels

They connect straight to a PC or Mac and come with free printing software so you can quickly get set up.

Printing labels up to 100mm in size means you can use thermal labels for almost anything; from postal addresses, shipping or mailing labels to pricing stickers & product labels, including barcodes and graphics.  Thermal printers offer excellent speed, convenience and simplicity in a small but powerful labelling solution that’s cost effective – the only supplies you’ll need are the thermal labels.

If you’re not sure what packaging labels you need, or are looking for advice on labelling your shipments correctly please get in touch with our Packaging Experts.  Call us free on 0800 542 44 28 or email sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Spotlight on: Envelopes and Mailing Bags

If you’re a regular visitor to the Rajapack blog then you’ll know that recently we’ve been focusing on new developments in packaging; product launches, the latest technology, and new packaging processes that are all making packaging more efficient and eco-friendly.

This week, we’ve decided to go back to basics with a focus on one of the oldest and widely used packaging items in history – Envelopes!

all-envelope-types

Enve-what?

One of the most common packaging items in the world, envelopes protect their contents in the post, ensuring they reach their recipient safely and securely.

Though envelopes can be dated back to around 3500BC, the first commercial envelope-making machine was not developed until 1845.  It was then another 50 years before pre-gummed envelopes were produced commercially.

Envelopes have continued to evolve over time as our needs have changed drastically – they now need to protect much more than just paper letters or documents! There are now hundreds of types of envelope available for all kinds of uses, offering benefits such as protection from water, bumps and shocks.

At Rajapack we stock over 30 different types of envelope, available in hundreds of sizes.  We’re going to run through the four main types below, what benefits they offer and what they should be used for.

Bubble Envelopes & Jiffy Bags

These padded envelopes offer the most cost-effective protection what’s inside.  They usually feature strong padding around the inside edges (layers of fibre, air filled protective bubbles or foam) for extra protection against damage in the post.

Any impact will be absorbed and cushioned by the thick outer layer, ensuring the contents stays safe and secure in transit. As padded envelopes have continued to evolve, they have become more lightweight, meaning a lower cost of postage, while maintaining a strong level of protection.

jiffy-and-bubble-envelopes

Jiffy bags are an envelope make that you’ve probably heard of before, being one of the most widely recognised brands of envelopes in the UK.  Named after the Jiffy Packaging Company who launched the product in 1964, they still manufacture them at the same site to this day.  They’ve been designed to be puncture resistant and come in two styles; the bubble bags contain air retention bubble wrap for longer protection, whilst the padded Jiffy bags have a lining of fibres that expand with use.

We find that padded envelopes and mailers are best when you need extra protection for your items in the post.  They are most commonly used for smaller products (an A4 envelope or less), but larger padded envelopes are available; heavy duty bubble envelopes go up to 52cm x 66cm in size, great for when you need to post large, flat items securely.

Bubble envelopes and Jiffy bags are suitable for packaging many different types of items, including jewellery, books and brochures, right through to items such as CDs, DVDs, and clothing.  Whether you choose Jiffy bags, bubble envelopes or padded mail bags, every one is designed to be lightweight to protect your products while keeping postage costs down.

Cardboard Envelopes & Mailers

These rigid envelopes are designed to ensure that the contents of your envelope won’t bend out of shape in the post.

card-backed-envelopes

The stiff cardboard construction forms a rigid frame around the envelope, offering a solid layer of protection for small, flat products.  And because they’re made of card, they’re generally very light and cost effective to mail (though be sure to check the size dimensions of the envelope).  These envelopes are ideal for packaging things like calendars and booklets, or important documents such as contracts or certificates.

For larger, thicker items such as books, brochures, CDs, or DVDs, carton envelopes (or panel wrap cardboard mailers) are perfect. They’re designed to fully enclose these thicker items, and are available with an adjustable spine, so you can put any thickness of book in them and they’ll seal securely.  To minimise postage costs, they’re exceptionally lightweight too – we currently offer the lightest cardboard mailers in Europe!

Plastic Mailing Bags

These items provide sealed protection for their contents and are very popular with online retailers and mail order companies.  Whilst being very thin, small and lightweight, they provide waterproof protection and are perfect for sensitive items as well as soft goods, such as textiles and clothing.

plastic mailers

Quick and easy to use, they all come with a tamper-poof peel and seal strip for security, ensuring that once they’ve been sealed they can’t be opened and resealed without ripping the bag.

Plastic mailing bags also present a unique option that other envelopes don’t – they are available completely see through!  For companies mailing catalogues or other documents that need an added layer of protection, clear mailing bags mean no extra effort required to re-print or re-label envelopes.

Plastic mailing bags can also double up as waterproof protection for other packages – easily fitting around a box, bag, or smaller envelope that need an added layer of polythene protection.

Office Envelopes

Finally, the most common type of envelope and probably the one you’ve used the most – the office envelope.   Made of paper and usually coloured white or manilla, these envelopes are used by almost every business, every day, for posting documents & letters.

office-envelopes

Office envelopes have size standards that have been adopted internationally under ISO 216, meaning that most countries use the same sizes of office envelopes.  A law on the standardisation of page sizes dates back to 1798 in France, making it easier for companies to do business internationally.

The sizes that are used are all scaled to each other, making use and manufacture easier internationally.  A C1 is twice the size of a C2, a C2 is twice the size of a C3 etc.  Here’s a full list of all the size dimensions – the most common type for businesses is DL size.

They’re available with a window in the front, meaning that your letters can slip straight in with the postal details on – no need to duplicate this on the envelope if the address is the letter itself.

Peel and seal or self seal options are available, both speeding up the process of sealing and sending.  Peel and seal typically have a longer shelf life as the gum is protected by a layer of paper.

Though there are standard sizes and colours, the quality of office envelopes can’t be guaranteed simply because they are so popular.  Usually coming pre-gummed, the thickness, quality of the paper, finish, and adhesive on the seal can all vary greatly.

Cheaper, thinner envelopes can suffer from print see-through, and no business wants their correspondence on show – especially when you’re sending private and confidential documents.  Ensure your envelopes don’t suffer from this oversight and insist on high quality envelopes to ensure you give your customers a great impression – they’ll be opening them after all!

Sealing Up

At Rajapack, envelopes continue to be one of our best selling products – we ship over 7 million a year to businesses of all types across the UK!

If you’re looking for envelopes for your items, if you currently have a supplier and are looking to cut costs, or are simply after some packaging advice, then please do get in touch; give us a call on 0800 542 44 28 or send us an email.  We have experienced packaging experts on hand, ready to help and advise you in any way they can.

Jiffy – Pushing the envelope in innovation

Jiffy-bag

Jiffy® bags are as much of a household name as Sellotape and Hoover and have become an essential for e-commerce businesses and retailers around the world. But how does something as ubiquitous as an envelope become as unique as a Jiffy bag?

The early days of padded packaging

The Baldwin family, Jiffy’s founders, started out as wood wool manufacturers in 1896 in Birmingham. These very thin strands of wood were used as an early form of packaging because they were very springy. Even after being compressed, they bounced back to their original volume, so they could be used again and again. Wood wool was big business both in the UK and the USA in the late 1880s and was used in many products. When sulphuric acid was added, it became very absorbent, so much so wood wool was used in early surgical dressings and sanitary towels!

Thanks to the innovative nature of the Baldwin family, in 1964 The Jiffy Packaging Company Ltd was established to manufacture Jiffy Padded Bags, which were now lined with shredded newspaper print* rather than wood wool.

Even today the original Jiffy Padded Bag® is still significantly more durable and has more cushioning than lighter weight mailers. Over the years, the padded bag design has seen some huge advances. It is now folded and seamless on the sides, with a double-glued bottom flap to make each envelope virtually impossible to burst in the post. The outer is made from tough paper and the modern padding is formed from 100% recycled paper fibres which expand with use. To maximise protection it’s a great idea to ruffle the bag before filling. These elements all work together to create a cushioned, puncture-proof protective casing for heavy parts, engineered components and valuable export items.

What’s the Jiffy secret?

In 2014, Jiffy celebrated 50 years as one of the UK’s leading packaging materials producers. Starting with padded bags, they have now developed ten product ranges from protective foam profiles for cushioning box edges to furniture wraps and digitally printed mail bags. And it’s their dedication and investment in continuous innovation that has kept Jiffy at the forefront of packaging.

Jiffy foam packaging

Jiffy were the first business in the UK to extrude PE (polyethylene) packaging foam in 1979, and by investing in state-of-the-art PE foam extrusion technology, they now lead the way in this market. After the Jiffy Padded Bag came the Mailmiser® and Airkraft® envelopes that use bubble wrap rather than padded fibres to ensure the envelopes are lightweight and more bouncy. This helped reduce postage costs for e-commerce businesses, retailers and individuals, and ensured items such as CDs, pharmaceuticals and promotional items arrive undamaged. Airkraft outers are laminated for even tougher protection from rips, punctures or the elements.

Meeting the demand for sustainability

Whilst their Padded Bags are fully recyclable, the company have now created Jiffy Green bubble film which is made with a minimum of 75% recycled materials, and is fully recyclable.

Jiffy-rolls

With sustainability a huge priority in packaging, Jiffy and have recently launched Earth Aware® which is a new way of packaging Jiffy mailers. By creating banded and flow wrapped bundles of bubble-lined mailers, Earth Aware removes the need for a corrugated packaging outer.

earth-aware

This simple saving means there’s no corrugated cardboard to dispose of, the amount of mailers that can be delivered on each pallet increases and the handling costs are reduced. This very forward-thinking product saw Jiffy named runner up in Packaging Europe magazine’s ‘Sustainability Awards 2015’.

The future for Jiffy

Jiffy manufacture all their bubble wrap inners with a layer of barrier film to seal each air pocket and minimise air escape during shipping. Bubble bags offer long-lasting protection and virtually puncture resistant outers. So it raises the question – if a Jiffy bag can be endlessly reused where will all the addresses go? Perhaps wipe clean outers will be Jiffy’s next innovation for an infinitely reusable mailer!

Discussing innovation with the National Account Manager, Colin Parker said, “Whether you choose the Jiffy® Green Padded Bag, Mailmiser® or Airkraft® bubble lined mailers, or the new and innovative foam lined mailer, Jiffy® Superlite®, there’s a huge variety of mailers for individuals, e-retailers and mail order companies to choose from, for a wide spectrum of applications.”

“Once you’ve found your perfect mailer, now you can customise it by adding your own logo, promotional message, or postage paid mark! They’re digitally printed, with a very low minimum order and fast turnaround which means you can really add a personal touch to mailings and still achieve sophisticated print quality without artwork or plate charges.”

* http://searchwarp.com/swa549745-The-History-Of-Padded-Envelopes.htm