Jul 01, 2005 9:30 PM  By

Even if you’re a devoted fan of peanuts, it’s difficult to run an operation without paying attention to other types of packaging. Here are some of the most widely used void fill and protective cushioning materials:


A modern industrial legend, and used for numerous purposes other than packing, Bubble Wrap is a patented material from Sealed Air Corp. designed to protect merchandise from scratches, dents, and breakage. The smaller bubbles (3/16″) are appropriate for light objects; larger ones (1/2″) provide extra cushioning. Bubble Wrap can be slit to a desired width, perforated to tear easily, or cut into sheets as required. Antistatic versions are also available for materials sensitive to static. Bubble envelopes provide excellent protection for shipping small, fragile items and cost less to mail because of their light weight.


Designed for surface protection when shipping, this nonabrasive foam prevents scratching and scuffs when placed between two items. Ranging in thickness from 1/32″ to 1/4″, it is moisture-resistant and relatively dust- and lint-free. Like Bubble Wrap, it comes in an antistatic version and can be slit, perforated, or cut into sheets.


This soft material, made of recycled fibers, is used to wrap furniture and other large items.


Single Face is an economical packing material that can be used for protective wrapping and void fill. It features larger “C” fluting to provide extra strength and cushioning but is not recommended for extremely delicate surfaces. It comes in widths from 12″ to 84″, increasing by increments of 6″-12″. The rolls are 250 ft. in length.


The basic technology consists of polyethylene bags that are shipped flat to the direct mailer, who inflates them to the size needed; preinflated versions that are automatically dispensed are also available. The air-filled cushions can easily be torn off and inserted into cartons in fast, high-volume void-fill packaging operations.