Posted on December 22, 2010 by Michael Boik

Inflatable Packaging Products – Eco Friendly in Many Ways

Globe Guard 100% recycled content inflatable air pillows

Globe Guard 100% recycled content inflatable air pillows

The greatest challenge for a pick and pack operation is making sure the products they are shipping out do not get damaged in transit. To make this task even a little more difficult, ideally this has to be accomplished at minimal cost, and in today’s world, with as green a product as possible. I believe that our inflatable plastic products help accomplish those objectives and a whole lot more.

What is Inflatable Packaging?

It is essentially a plastic bag or pillow that is inflated with air using a piece of equipment that is usually provided by the manufacturer of the bags at minimal or no cost depending on the volume of the material you will consume. The real beauty of the process is that it is inflated on an “as needed” basis, so inbound shipping costs and carbon footprint are minimal compared to other product such as pre-inflated bubble packaging or loose fill products like foam peanuts. Inflatable products also take up very little space in your warehouse or in crowded, busy packing stations. In addition, plastic inflatable packaging products are much cleaner compared to most paper products, which typically leave behind a trial of paper dust on the contents being shipped.

One of the most important and overlooked green benefits of our inflatable packaging products is their impressive reusability. The plastic material is designed to contain air for prolonged periods of time, and we have literally reused the same inflatable product multiple times over the course of many months. Since they wind up being reused and re-shipped all over the country, no one is quite sure how long they actually last, but I am convinced it could be as long as a year, or possibly even longer.

Two Common but Very Different Uses for Inflatable Packaging

Void fill – This is really quite simple; the shipper box is larger than the product it contains. If the box is sized well, this difference in extra “air” space can be easily filled with just about any void fill product including paper, foam peanuts and, of course, inflatable pillows like we offer.

Blocking and Bracing – This differs from a standard void fill application because in most cases the product is heavy, possibly fragile and of high value. In most cases it is also dense, so it shifting within the shipper box is not just likely, it is probably inevitable. In an application like this, the goal is to basically immobilize the product within the shipper box, and usually a lightweight paper or plastic product is simply not going to work.

Compact Bubble Packaging on Demand sytem inflates and seals bags as needed

Our compact Bubble Packaging on Demand sytem inflates and seals bags as needed.

We offer a wide variety of different materials in different formulations, sizes and gauges, but here are four of our most popular stock items:

  • Globe Guard, 2 mil thick, 100% recycled content air pillows: This is a low cost favorite for people who prefer their plastics to be recycled and not virgin. It repurposes what would otherwise be waste, and each bag is printed, letting the recipient know that it is recycled, and recyclable.
  • Biodegradable, 1.5 mil thick air pillows: These are specially formulated to be recyclable and biodegradable. Each pillow is printed with an eco friendly message.
  • Standard, 2.8 mil thick, clear heavy-duty air pillows: The film used for this product is standard LDPE and it is recyclable anywhere a plastic bag can be recycled. For most people, that is as close as a nearby retail store.
  • Heavy Duty Biodegradable Bubble Packaging on Demand: This is our newest product and it has amazing blocking and bracing capability (pictured in the image above). For most challenging applications, this product will probably help you accomplish your packing and shipping objectives at a fraction of the cost and in a much greener way.

Every application is different depending on what you ship, where you ship, how you ship, how it’s packed, etc., so please contact us for a no obligation application review and consultation. Even if inflatable products are not the best choice for you, we are certain to have a product available that is.