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From Start to Finish: Sustainable Options for Greener Packing

For many businesses, the notion of changing their entire packing setup to eradicate all plastic seems a non-possibility, both financially and operationally. Nevertheless, more and more, retailers and manufacturers alike are aiming for increased traceability and improved environmental sustainability from their operations - whether in the form of reuse systems to contribute to a circular economy of plastic goods, or by way of fully recyclable, paper-based packaging alternatives.  

For those seeking the latter, here are some entirely plastic-free options to enable greener packing, from start to finish. 

Cartons, Book Wraps and Envelopes 

Single-Wall CartonsBoxwrap™ Book WrapEnviromail™ Paper-Fluted Envelopes

A good first step in considering the primary packaging elements for your business is to assess the main housing for your products and the vessels in which your goods will be transported. For delicate items, bulky products and mixed bundles, the most obvious choice is a high-quality carton of suitable size (for non-automated packing - contact us for more information on automated systems). From tough, strong single-wall cartons, to ultra-fast returnable boxes, there’s a range of options to choose from to ensure efficiency without sacrificing on performance. 

For e-commerce operations and high-volume pack stations dealing with books and paper products, book wraps are a versatile option. These lightweight, protective shells feature multi-height creases and ample cover for mixed goods - with sizes to ensure compliance with Royal Mail small parcel guidelines. Plus, they allow for void fill-free packing, to keep weights low and reduce shipping costs 

If documents and lightweight products are a major part of your business, finding a suitable mailing bag that provides adequate protection without excess bulkiness is a priority. Fortunately, then, Enviromail™ paper-fluted envelopes’ unique design facilitates low-cost shipping and optimum protection for delicate goods - all without plastic. Made entirely from recycled paper, the envelope’s distinctive fluting pattern shields products from knocks and abrasions and makes waste management quick and easy, since the mailer is fully recyclable. 

Void Fill

White Hexcel & VaseBoxfill

Despite the wide availability and low cost of plastic-based void fill, 2022 has seen a growing number of businesses seek paper-based alternatives to conventional polythene products, ahead of the UK Plastic Packaging Tax being introduced in April. 

Innovations in design have birthed a range of unique solutions, from hexagonal-shaped paper fill to 100% paper bubble wrap and completely mobile paper void fill dispensers.

Recyclable, biodegradable and compostable, Hexcel paper wrap makes use of a unique interlocking pattern to quickly and securely wrap products, unfurling from a flat-packed state (on a roll) before neatly adhering to itself to finish the process, eliminating the need for tape and speeding up pack times.

Paper bubble wrap offers all the performance and safety benefits of conventional plastic wrap, with far less impact. Provided on perforated sheets and available in white and kraft colour, these simple-to-use, highly protective layers can pack out cartons and wrap irregular shapes with speed and ease, allowing for a seamless transition from its polythene counterpart.

Paper-Based Tape

Gummed Paper TapeBoxbond™

With a plastic-free carton filled and us nearing the end of the packing process, it’s time to securely seal your package.

Whether you’re looking for quick, repeatable tape dispensing using high-performance automated equipment, or whether you’re simply looking to change out your current plastic tape systems for lightweight handheld alternatives, a number of options are available. 

Gummed paper tape dispensers come in many forms, but their primary function is the same: to dispense water-activated tape quickly and conveniently. 

Manual paper tape dispensers either work by use of a simple roller (over which tape is moistened as it’s pulled through), or by means of a lever, which is pressed/pulled in order to speedily dispense pre-determined tape lengths. Automatic machines, however, offer a range of options for on-demand dispensing, including programmable lengths, repeat dispensing and multi-length configurations for complete carton-sealing sequences. 

For those in need of a more mobile option, Boxbond™ paper tape is a high-strength self-adhesive tape solution that quickly seals cartons in just a single strip, with a tamper-evident seal and now specially integrated strengthening strands to ensure heightened security and increased efficiency overall. 

Paper Strapping 

Ecostrap™

When processing goods or packing multi-item orders, it’s essential to ensure product safety - whether the products are palletised or grouped by hand. The simplest way to ensure increased product stabilisation is to strap your goods. 

Until recently, making use of plastic or steel strapping has often been unavoidable as a means to provide the tensile strength and flexibility necessary to securely bound items in transit. But ongoing developments in packaging technology have yielded an entirely viable green solution: paper strapping. 

With a 55kg breaking strain and compatibility with automatic and semi-automatic strapping machines, Ecostrap™ is an FSC-certified paper solution that provides the same ease of use as plastic strapping with none of the inherent recycling stresses of removal after use. What’s more, it’s easily foldable and can be placed into conventional paper waste recycling units.

Paper Document Wallets 

Docket™ Paper Document Wallets

Suitable for a range of applications and consistently performant in both cool and humid climates, our paper document wallets are eco-friendly and easy to use. Made from a landfill-biodegradable kraft paper, these high-quality, plastic-free document wallets maximise efficiency and simplify waste management, since they can remain attached to cartons prior to recycling. 

Presswood Pallets

Presswood Pallet

So that’s it. Your products are packed, and your orders are ready to be loaded and shipped. Now to transfer the goods onto a pallet before sending them off. 

Made from recycled waste wood and conforming to ISM15 regulations, presswood pallets can be nested together quickly and easily, offering huge space-saving potential and consistent performance over time, heightening your operation’s green credentials and serving to improve the environmental sustainability of your business overall. 

Looking for more options to go plastic-free for good? Check out our sustainable brands and discover how you can effect lasting, impactful change in your business.

To discuss your packaging needs with us, send us a message, or call us on 01543 396700 to speak to a packaging expert today.