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Sometimes, you don’t want to ship goods in a box, especially if the items are not fragile and are very lightweight. When that happens, what do you use? Many companies are now reaching for poly mailers, a cost-effective and durable mailer that can replace bulky, heavy packaging and greatly reduce the cost of shipping.

If you are looking at poly mailers as a smart and affordable solution, then keep reading. Here is everything you need to know about poly mailers, including the benefits and how to choose the right type and size.

What is a Poly Mailer?

A poly mailer is a kind of envelope that is lightweight and often used as an easier to ship alternative to larger packing boxes. Since poly mailers are flexible and have self-sealing envelopes made with polyethylene, these mailers are great for softer items, such as apparel.

Poly mailers can also be water-resistant and tear-resistant, depending on how they are made. You may also be able to customize the design of some poly mailers to increase the unboxing experience of even simply shipping products.

What are the Benefits of Poly Mailers?

What makes poly mailers such a popular option for lighter items? The benefits include:

  • Affordability: Poly mailers are typically cheaper to pack, ship, and handle than corrugated boxes and other shipping solutions
  • Weatherproof: Most poly mailers are lined or are moisture-resistant
  • Easy to store: Poly mailers are thin and lightweight, so they take up much less space than boxes
  • Durable: Poly mailers are flexible but do not easily tear
  • Reusable: Depending on the design and the materials, poly mailers may be reusable
  • Customizable: You can design your own poly mailers to have logos, unique colors, and other elements

What Can I Pack in Poly Mailers?

Poly mailers are best for fabrics, yarns, and like products. They can also work for shipping shoes and smaller boxed products, such as small toys and jewelry boxes. To figure out if you can ship something via poly mailer is to consider the two following points:

  • Is the product fragile? If you answer yes, then a poly mailer is a poor choice. You will want to choose a corrugated box that has void fill or another kind of cushioning If the answer is no, then poly mailers are ideal.
  • Can the product fit inside the poly mailer? If an item doesn’t fit properly inside a poly mailer, mistakes are bound to happen. Poly mailers can get stuck or damaged during scanning, resulting in delays, errors, and customer returns.

In short, you can put the following things in a poly mailer:

  • Apparel
  • Books
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Art and prints
  • Fabrics and textiles
  • Yarn

How Do I Select The Right Poly Mailer?

Now, how do you choose the correct poly mailer for the product you are mailing? There are different kinds of poly mailers and different sizes. Like boxes and other forms of packaging, you never want the poly mailer to be too big or too thin since that can introduce a greater chance of the package itself or the contents getting damaged.

Choosing Poly Mailer Types

You are going to see the poly mailers come in a bubble or lined and kraft types. Bubble or lined mailers are best for preventing damage by adding some extra cushion, but it can also reduce the amount of usable space inside the envelope. Bubble mailers may either be made of plastic or kraft paper and have bubble wrap padding inside.

Now, there are a few factors to consider when choosing between kraft and bubble poly mailers. Kraft mailers are more eco-friendly. Poly bubble mailers are usually made of plastic, and the bubble wrapping inside will need to be separated from the paper in order for the components to be recycled. This makes them a less eco-friendly option.

However, kraft paper is not moisture resistant while lined poly mailers are, so you should decide between the two based on what is being sent and where it is going. Bubble types may be better for high humidity areas.

Choosing The Right Size Poly Mailer

If you have been packaging and shipping items for a while, you have probably already realized the different kinds of products need different sized packaging and mailers. The best way to figure out the size of the poly mailer you need is to determine the minimum size of the opening. From there, measure the item you want to pack and the thickness.

From there, you look at the length of the poly mailer. Add the length of the product being packed to the thickness then add an additional 2.5 inches. The best-sized poly mailer will be larger than the calculated amount.

Here are some dimensions for you to consider (in inches):

  • Sweater – 12”x15.5” or 14.5”x19”
  • Dress shirt – 10”x13”
  • Two t-shirts – 12”x15.5”
  • Dress or jeans – 12”x15.5” or 14.5”x19”
  • Tea towel – 7.5”x10”
  • Sheet set – 12”x15.5” or 14.5”x19”
  • Yarn – 10”x13” or 12”x15.5”

Are Poly Mailers Environmentally Friendly?

Since eco-friendly practices are becoming a central focus of most businesses and their customers, you should always ask yourself whether the packing you plan on using is also sustainable or not. The good news is the kraft paper poly mailers are recyclable. Unfortunately, the sealing strips made out of polyethylene often lead the packaging to be sent to landfills, because most people don’t know that you can recycle the material.

Furthermore, most plastics are never recycled, so the lined poly mailers are rarely recycled. Many communities will not allow poly mailers in the recyclable bins, either.

The good news is that you can reuse poly mailers if it arrives in good condition. The tear strips can be used to open the envelope without causing damage to the rest of the mailer. Even if the tear strip does not remain sticky, you can always tape the mailer shut.

Final Thoughts on Poly Mailers

Poly mailers are a kind of packaging or envelope that is ideal for smaller, lighter items that do not need a lot of protection during shipping. That is why many e-commerce businesses use poly mailers for fabrics and apparel. If you are selling a lot of shirts or yarn or something similar, poly mailers may work for you!

Do you have questions about packaging and shipping supplies? Want to learn more? Then fill out the contact form to get more information sent to your inbox!