Custom Corrugated Packaging vs Plastic Packaging

Choosing the right type of packaging is essential, whether you’re planning a big move, want to mail a one-off parcel or frequently send purchased goods through the post, it's important to choose the correct type of packaging, whether that's custom corrugated packaging or plastic packaging. Naturally, you want to make sure the items you are packaging are protected from damage – especially if they are fragile. However, protection is not the only factor to consider when deciding how to best bundle your items, be it for shipping or storage.

At Perfection Box, we understand that it may be difficult to make the right choice, which is why we’ve used our 20+ years of packaging-industry experience to put together this blog. We’ll outline the pros and cons of both plastic and bespoke corrugated packaging, in the hope that it makes your quest for the perfect solution that bit simpler.

What Are My Options?

First off, let’s start by defining the UK’s two major packaging players: cardboard and plastics. According to a 2019 survey carried out by Smithers Pira, whist paper and cardboard account for 33.2% of the global packaging market, flexible plastics and rigid plastics combined account for 44.2% worldwide. But what is plastic packaging and what exactly do we mean by custom cardboard options?

Plastic Packaging

Plastic packaging is an umbrella term used to refer to all types of packaging made from plastic or plastic-containing materials. It became incredibly popular in the 1960s, when plastic products boomed across markets in general, thanks to the recent introduction of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Famously used to make traditional supermarket plastic bags, this material was both flexible in terms of the seemingly limitless usage possibilities it presented, and much cheaper than traditional wood, glass or metal. What’s not to love?

Well, as it turns out, HDPE and other single-use plastics aren’t great for the environment. In fact, they were recently banned in the state of California, in an attempt to reverse the damage they are doing to our oceans. It’s not all bad news though, as there are recyclable plastic packaging options out there, which, when used responsibly, do have their benefits:

  • They’re lightweight: plastic packaging weighs less than glass containers and also takes up less space. This means that more goods can be shipped in a single journey.
  • They preserve food: plastic remains king when it comes to packaging perishable goods and ensuring they arrive at their destination in top condition. This can help to reduce food waste.

As you can see, plastic packaging still has its uses, though the benefits tend to be limited to large-scale shipments of very specific products. It’s also important to be aware of the UK plastic packaging tax when it comes to making your decision. Where possible, we would always recommend opting for cheaper, more sustainable options, which brings us onto corrugated packaging.

Custom Corrugated Packaging

What better way to package your items than with a strong, sturdy material that’s both customisable and environmentally friendly? Get the exact sizes and designs you want, without feeling guilty about your debt to the planet.

Corrugated cardboard is made up of layers of fluted material, with the resulting ridges providing much greater stability than standard cardboard options. In fact, this material is so strong that it can be used time and time again, saving you money as well as the environment!

If you would like to learn more about the many virtues of custom corrugated boxes, you can read our blog here. In the meantime, here are just some of the reasons you may wish to choose corrugated card over plastic alternatives:

Corrugated Packaging Is Better for The Planet

Because it’s made from paper, cardboard packaging won’t increase your carbon footprint. And we’re not just talking about recycling, either. Paper requires much less energy to produce than plastic, making the manufacturing process itself much more sustainable.

It Will Save You Money

Because cardboard is easier to produce, this type of packaging (custom corrugated packaging) is much cheaper to purchase than plastic alternatives. Corrugated card is also much lighter than plastic, which will have a huge impact on your postage and shipping costs – especially if you’re regularly sending large batches of items. What’s more, because box sizes can be customised (unlike rigid plastic) you won’t be paying for the privilege of literally mailing hot air in those empty spaces.

Custom Corrugated Boxes Are Surprisingly Durable

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that plastic box packaging is the stronger option. However, you’d be wrong. The special structure of corrugated cardboard actually makes it the more durable choice and it performs surprisingly well when it comes to protecting your items – large or small. How else would this age-old design stand the test of time? This classic packaging has consistently outperformed innovative new options that, more often than not, end up letting you down. Not to mention the fact that cardboard is much more hygienic than plastic when used over time.

The Verdict

In our opinion, bespoke corrugated packaging is simply the best option on the market, whatever your needs. Whilst there is a time and place for plastic box packaging, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of your choices and look for more sustainable alternatives wherever you can. The UK Government has estimated that plastic packaging constitutes almost 50% of the five million tonnes of plastic we use each year. And with these products taking centuries to decompose, polluting our planet, rivers and oceans, it really is essential that we do all we can to prevent an already dire situation from getting any worse.

If you’re a company looking to boost your image, sustainability is the way to go. And even if you’re not an avid eco-warrior, you’ll still benefit from stronger, more customisable products that will do the job better than any other packaging can.

Leaning Towards Custom Corrugated Packaging?

In our opinion, bespoke corrugated packaging is simply the best option on the market, whatever your needs. Whilst there is a time and place for plastic box packaging, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of your choices and look for more sustainable alternatives wherever you can. The UK Government has estimated that plastic packaging constitutes almost 50% of the five million tonnes of plastic we use each year. And with these products taking centuries to decompose, polluting our planet, rivers and oceans, it really is essential that we do all we can to prevent an already dire situation from getting any worse.

If you’re a company looking to boost your image, sustainability is the way to go. And even if you’re not an avid eco-warrior, you’ll still benefit from stronger, more customisable products that will do the job better than any other packaging can.

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