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Out of all the things you worry about today, the number one thing should be how you keep shipped products safe during transit. Whether you are sending out something small and fragile or a large, heavy parcel, you need to keep the package protected from damages. Also, if you are concerned about the customer’s experience, then you need to think about the unwrapping process, too. No one wants to unbox a rattled and broken item, after all.

That is why you need a void fill for your packages. Void fill is an essential addition to any box, so don’t underestimate it. Here is everything you need to know about void fill, including tips on how to choose the best kind for your items.

What Is Void Fill?

The term “void fill” refers to the cushioning, such as paper or padding, that is added to shipping boxes and packages to protect goods while in transit and to add to the overall presentation of the unboxing experience.

Void fill was originally used for large corrugated boxes, but it is becoming a common practice in even smaller items since it generates a “wow” factor.

Most of the time, you will need void fill if the objects you are shipping fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • The product is fragile
  • The product is heavy
  • The package has excess space that could allow the products to move around and get damaged
  • The package needs to look presentable upon delivery, or you are hoping to impress upon the customer during the unboxing experience
  • The product has corners that could be damaged during shipping and handling

What Are The Different Kinds of Void Fill?

The wide range of void fill available means you have plenty of choices. It is good to know what is the best kind of void fill for your packages. Let’s have a look at the most commonly used void fill:

Bubble Wrap

Most commonly used for fragile good, bubble wrap is one of the top void fills around. You can choose a wide range of cushioning for your products. Bubble wrap is ideal for items that are susceptible to vibration and shock. You can also easily wrap awkwardly shaped items and protect the corners of boxes.

Bubble wrap is usually manufactured from low-density polyethylene resins, making it highly recyclable.

Packing Paper

Packing paper comes in various forms, such as 100 percent recycled, kraft, bogus and newsprint. You can crinkle it up and stuff it into spaces, wrap more fragile items, and add it to corners to protect and present items. Packing paper also has several levels of thickness that you can choose from. The thicker the paper, the better the protection.

Another benefit of using packing paper is that it can be composted and recycled effortlessly. Looking for something with a bit more strength without losing benefits? Try corrugated cardboard. You can wrap larger items in the cardboard then void fill with packing paper.

Inflatables and Pillows

Looking for a quick and easy option? Use pillows. Lightweight and consisting mostly of air, this void fill takes up little space in the warehouse until it has been inflated. You will need a machine to blow up the pillows, but if you are looking for speed and efficiency with packaging, inflatable making equipment is a great investment.

Options like the Airwave Pillow Machine use a film that is composed of 100 percent recyclable material. Another choice is the Instapak bag, which inflates around the goods you are shipping. This is the ultimate choice for items that are usually shaped or incredibly breakable.

Pop Starch (Eco-Friendly Packing Peanuts)

Pop starch is made from expanded starch, a natural material, so it is a biodegradable and recyclable void fill that is also very cost-effective. Unlike synthetic packing peanuts, pop starch does not produce a static cling, so it is much easy to handle and pack. Pop starch is ideal for protecting sharp, pointed, or fragile products. All you have to do is pour it into the box and let it fill the void.

Shred

Another fantastic option for void fill is called “shred,” which can either be shredded wood, metallic, cellophane, or paper. You often see shred around Easter, when it is crammed into the bottom of baskets. Shred is not just for cushioning candy, though. With a broad range of colors, textures, and styles, it is a great way to decrease open space in a package while adding a pop for presentation.

The best way to use shred is for cushioning items, such as wine bottles in gift baskets. You can also plump up the interior of a box or mix shred with tissue paper to help cradle more fragile goods during shipping.

What To Consider When Choosing Void Fill

When it comes down to deciding on which void fill to use, there are three main points:

Protecting The Product

There is no single type of void fill that is going to be perfect for every single item you sell. Thus, the first step to choosing the correct void fill is understanding the items you have. Examine every object thoroughly. Are there fragile items? Can some items tolerate being jostled? Depending on the product, you might not need any void fill.

For example, if you have products that can pass a “toss test,” where it can be thrown across the room without breaking it, then you probably don’t need any void fill or cushioning. That is why clothing is often shipped in simple mailing envelopes or why boxes of cereal can be packed in larger boxes without any cushioning.

Efficiency

Next, ask yourself which void fill is the most efficient. Which void fill with be quick and easy and not impact the amount of labor too greatly?

Quick packing void fill can be easier for workers to use, even if it is more expensive than craft paper. For instance, you might decide that having a paper void fill machine or air pillows are easier than having someone do it all by hand. It’s an investment, but it’s also worth the purchase if you want to save time.

Remember, if you have people hand-crumpling paper to place in boxes, the cost of the void fill itself will be low, but the cost of labor will increase.

Customer Experience

The last thing to consider is the unboxing experience. When the customer opens the package and spots the void fill, what is their initial reaction going to be? Boxes that are large and stuffed with unnecessary amounts of paper may be seen as wasteful. That isn’t a good approach or the first impression you want.

Also, consider how easy it is for customers to dispose of the void fill. Kraft paper, for instance, can be recycled and is also biodegradable. Not only does this show a commitment to being environmentally friendly, but it also has a positive impact on your customer.

Takeaway

Void fill reduces the amount of free space in shipping boxes and other packages, so your items arrive to the destination undamaged. If you are serious about presentation and customer satisfaction, then you need to use void fill. There are plenty of options out there, so you always have a way to protect your products during shipping and handling.

Looking for a broad range of void fill options that will fit your budget? Have more questions about packaging or using void fill? Then contact us by filling out the contact form! We’ll be in touch as soon as possible.