Uses of Packing Peanuts in the eCommerce industry
Packing peanuts are a common packing type used in the industry; before choosing packing peanuts as your products, it’s important to understand everything about the packing type, including the uses and types.
Possessing a high shock absorption, packing peanuts are regularly utilized for packaging products. They are very affordable at a low cost, and this makes them a great choice.
This article explains the uses of packing peanuts in the eCommerce industry.
- What are the different types of packaging peanuts available in the Australian market for the eCommerce industry?
There are two types of packaging peanuts available in the Australian market.
- Styrofoam packing peanuts
Traditional foam packing peanuts are made of Styrofoam which is also known as polystyrene. They provide support and padding by filling in the gaps when compressed. They are very versatile and do not add extra weight to the weight of the product.
- Biodegradable packing peanuts
This type of packing peanuts is made up of natural materials such as wheat and cornstarch. They help to provide compression and padding to the product. They are also known as compostable or bio-fill packing peanuts.
- Difference between Biodegradable packing peanuts and Styrofoam packing peanuts
Apart from their makeup contents, the major difference between biodegradable packing peanuts and Styrofoam packing peanuts is their environmental impact.
With a greater emphasis on the environment, everyone is seeking better ways to package products without harming the environment.
Biodegradable packing peanuts are eco-friendly as they degrade within a few hours or days. The compostable packing type also leaves no chemical or toxic residue upon degrading.
On the other hand, Styrofoam packing peanuts require a long time to degrade, with some experts setting the timeline to 500 years for decomposition to take place. They also leave behind harmful residue that can pollute the environment.
- Pros of using Bio fill in the eCommerce industry
The advantages of using Bio fill include;
- They are made from natural sources such as wheat and cornstarch. This makes them non-toxic to humans, especially if they are mistakenly consumed into the body system.
- Production of biodegradable packing is safer both to the environment and the workers during production.
- They can neither shock nor damage electrical appliances as they do not carry an electrostatic charge.
- They do not stick to clothes.
- They dissolve quickly and easily in water and can be decomposed after a single use.
- They are easily disposable. They can be put in compostable piles and exposed to air and moisture or in the sink.
- Cons of using Bio fill in the eCommerce industry
While compostable packing peanuts are the go-to option for environmentally friendly packing, there are some disadvantages to this type of packing.
- Cost of production is high as the cost of processing the natural resources used is expensive.
- They weigh more than the traditional packing peanuts, meaning there will be additional costs when shipping products.
- Due to the expensive cost of production, they are more expensive than Styrofoam packing peanuts.
- They are not as strong and resilient as foam and therefore do not perform well when subjected to extreme strain and compression. They may even break down while being shipped.
- They are not suitable for all temperatures, such as humid or rainy regions, because they easily dissolve when in contact with water. Although some companies are working on alternatives to starch-based packing peanuts that are water-soluble, this is still an existing disadvantage.
- They are subject to attraction from sugar-loving insects and bugs despite removing sugar from the packing peanut during production.
- They tend to leave dust upon decomposition.
- How long does it take for packing peanuts to decompose?
The period it takes packing peanuts to decompose is dependent on the type of packaging peanut used.
Styrofoam packing peanuts do not easily break down and decompose. It would take years for polystyrene to decompose, and experts have mentioned that it would take up to 500 years.
With limited recycling options available, once discarded after use, they mostly end up in lakes, oceans, landfills, and waterways.
On the other hand, biodegradable packing peanuts decompose within minutes, hours, and days at most after being exposed to moisture.
After using the packing peanut, you can add it to a compost pile to decompose or dissolve it underwater and wash it away in your sink.
Due to its non-toxic properties, it can decompose in your home without any harm to humans, pets, or the environment.
- How effective is using packing peanuts as void fill?
Packaging peanuts are one of the most common types of void fill. They have been used for decades in the industry; however, questions remain about their effectiveness as void fills.
The traditional packaging peanuts are not the most effective for void filling and cushioning. While they provide support and padding, they tend to be messy and still leave voids even when compressed.
Manufacturers have made rapid improvements to improve the efficiency of packing peanuts, hence producing alternatives such as Anti-static peanuts and biodegradable peanuts.
Anti-static packing peanuts eliminate static cling. The implication of this is to make peanuts go to where they are supposed to be and stay there when packing. However, the high cost of this alternative peanut is a major drawback for manufacturers and customers.
On the other hand, Biodegradable packing peanuts attract rodents, are dusty, and add a lot of extra weight to the product. They are also not effective as void fills with the traditional packing peanuts offering more compression.
While it may not be the most effective void fill type, the environmental impact of using biodegradable packing peanuts is usually a factor that makes it attractive for customers.
- What are the alternatives for void fill apart from packing peanuts?
Different alternative void fill types can provide the customer with other options;
- Foam-in-place systems
This alternative void fill type combines two liquid chemicals in a polyethylene bag-on-site. The liquids harden up as a mold around the product or conform to the shape of the product.
This offers a superior cushion and is mainly used for packing electronics. They can also be recycled easily.
- Dunnage papers
Industrial paper such as brown kraft paper can be used as a void fill. They are easily recyclable, easy to handle, and low cost.
- Inflatable airbags
Inflatable airbags are clean, lightweight, and aesthetic. They are versatile and can be used for high and low-speed operations.
They are high cost, and although bulk or large volume packers can price discounts in the cost, they are usually only available in batches or on-demand.
- Multi-layer paper
The multi-layer paper systems have two or three plies of paper bonded together to provide variable or preset lengths of cushioning material.
They offer superior void fill performance to dunnage papers but are similar in concept to inflatable airbags.
- Honeycomb Kraft Paper Wrap
This is the most environmentally friendly packaging that offers the cushioning effect to protect your fragile items during transit. Awesome Pack’s Honeycomb Kraft Paper wrap is similar to Geami in the Australian Market where the Kraft paper is pre-cut into honeycomb shapes that when stretched it forms a 3D honeycomb shape to cushion your fragile goods.
It’s biggest advantage is that it doesn’t take up much space whereas packing peanuts use up a lot of space and you readily need to replenish it and pay the expensive freight costs. Although the cushioning effect is not as good as packing peanuts but wrapping your fragile item in a few layers of honeycomb kraft paper will have a similar effect and offer similar protection.
If you would like to test out Awesome Pack’s honeycomb kraft paper then you can buy a mini roll or if you don’t have a dispenser buy a roll with a ready to pull dispenser which is also made from cardboard and therefore eco-friendly.
Packing is one of the most important aspects of the eCommerce industry. Apart from protecting the product during shipping and storage, packing also provides aesthetics and is a great sales and marketing tool for eCommerce businesses.
Hope you have learnt a few things about the different cushioning products available in the Aussie market to help you with your e-commerce journey.
The Awesome Pack Team
8/72-76 Fenton St, Huntingdale VIC 3166
Ph: 1300 816 800