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You have a few different options to choose from when it comes to void fill packaging, and today’s alternatives go beyond the packing peanuts and bubble wrap that have been cluttering up your warehouses and packing centers for years. There are obviously certain circumstances and applications where those two options are ideal, as they offer certain unique qualities that make for a good fit.

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However, they’re also far less green than some of the recently developed alternatives that take advantage of the latest advancements in technology. Reducing your carbon footprint is not just a buzz word when you consider the advantages, especially considering that your efforts will be judged in the court of public opinion. Consumers are more likely to purchase from your competition when your products aren't packaged with an eye to protecting the environment. So when bubble wrap and peanuts aren’t absolutely necessary, you’ll find that most companies choose to go green with eco friendly void fills.

What’s the biggest problem with traditional void fill and cushioning materials?

In a perfect world, the packaging component of your supply chain is located right around the corner from a bubble wrap or packing peanut manufacturer, who delivers the materials for free whenever you need them. Obviously, this is not the case, so it’s likely that the increased costs of shipping and storage outweigh any potential performance advantage they offer.

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The fact is that these packaging products are awkward to store and take up considerable space, claiming valuable real estate from inventory, equipment and the other essentials of your business. The alternative would be to purchase bulk packaging that’s thinner or more compact, which means you need more of it to properly protect the contents of the box. It’s necessary to keep more of it on hand.

How are inflatable eco friendly void fills different?

Inflatable pillows or bubble systems enable you to make the product as you need it, making it more space conscious and easier to store. These products are also lightweight and compact, so they cost less to ship. Suppliers can even adjust the amount of inflation, increasing or decreasing capacity based upon the amount of void you need to fill or cushioning you need for the box contents. In addition, most inflatable systems lower labor costs as compared to the manual process that leaves peanuts all over your warehouse.

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What are your inflatable options?

There are more eco friendly void fills available today than ever before, especially considering the versatility and low cost. Suppliers can customize the product for your specific application and product, depending on your needs. Options include:

  • Choice of format: You can choose from air pillows or continuous bubble on demand products. The pillows come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses to accommodate sharper objects. The bubble sheets can be in the honeycomb format or tubular pattern.
  • Film type: Suppliers are responding to the continued demand for products that reduce carbon footprints, giving you the choice of standard clear film, a tinted biodegradable option, and opaque film from recycled consumer goods. All are 100% recyclable.
  • Equipment: You will need inflating equipment for these eco friendly void fills, but it won’t set you back too much. There are low cost equipment leasing programs available which don’t require a large upfront investment, and repairs are included in most arrangements.

Considering all the options, it's likely that you can find a packaging fit for green void fills that works with your company's requirements. The end result is a more cost-efficient, eco-friendly step forward when compared to the traditional alternatives that create waste and take up space.

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About Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.

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