The Lifecycle of a Cardboard Box: Corrugated Packaging & The Circular Economy

The environmental impact of materials and products has become a growing talking point across many industries because of the huge amounts of waste going to landfill. It’s time to make a change and we’re here to share with you the many benefits of adopting a circular economy.

A lot more goes into the lifecycle of a cardboard box to make it eco-friendly, than you might think and the process of being environmentally friendly starts early on. In fact, 80% of a product’s environmental impact is locked in at the design stage!

What is the circular economy?

Traditionally, the economy used to operate a linear model, where we would make a product, use it and then dispose of it. The difference with a circular economy is that resources are kept in use for as long as possible by extracting the most value from them at every stage when in use and at the end of their life by recovering and regenerating products and materials.

Moving from a “make, use, dispose of” to a “make/remake, use/reuse” process.

How does the lifecycle of corrugated cardboard relate to a circular economy?

The circular economy is just the way of life for the corrugated packaging industry. After all, it is one of the most recycled paper products. as its 100% recyclable and biodegradable. At Ribble Packaging, all our corrugated papers are FSC Certified meaning that all the papers used can be traced as far back to the specific tree that they came from. Here’s a summary of what happens at each stage…

The Circular Economy Model

Stage 1: Design & Manufacture (using raw materials to create a product)

When designing a product, the designer must consider how a product will be collected and recycled after use, how to select materials and processes that reduce any impact on the environment and lastly, how they can extend the life of the product.

Stage 2: Retailer (selling a product to consumer)

In the circular economy, there’s an opportunity for retailers to improve customer experience and connect with new customers on a deeper level by establishing shared values concerning the environment. Consumers are demanding these days with online retailers playing a particularly big role in the delivery of a circular economy.

The retailer should consider how they can increase the lifetime of products and how they can make it easier for consumers to recycle, resell and donate. As well as reducing packaging waste when sending products in the wrong size boxes with excessive void fillers.

Stage 3: Consumer

Whilst consumers are wanting a more sustainable world, they are reluctant to overpay for this. Therefore, it’s important to consider the consumer when pricing. Prices need to be fair and reflect quality.

Stage 4: Re-use/Repair/Repurpose product if possible

Re-use and recycling are not the same. Re-use of products and materials is more beneficial

as it retains a product’s value by keeping it in use for longer. Thus, minimising waste, creating jobs, and reducing consumption and the carbon impact it has.

To reduce the amount of product we send to landfills we need to increase the rate of re-use for products and their components. The supply chain and consumers both play an important role in this stage of the circular economy model.

Consider an incentivised return for returned products that can be refurbished and resold. As well as maximising the product lifetime to reduce repeated purchases.

Stage 5: Recycle into raw material to begin at stage 1 again.

This involves the collection, sorting and processing of disposed materials for use in other manufacturing processes. Depending on the complexity of the product being recycled, the process will vary, and care needs to be taken to maintain the integrity of materials each time they are recycled.

To conclude, the circular economy essentially feeds material back into the process ready for something new to be created using the recycled materials. In relation to corrugated boxes, a new box is created by feeding the used paper back into the cycle.

Eventually, the UK will run out of natural resources if we don’t move to a circular economy. It sounds sensationalist but the evidence is stacking up and the impact of our linear economy is becoming increasingly apparent across many industries.

If you’d like to speak to us about how Ribble is helping companies like yours to reduce their environmental impact by reducing packaging waste, give us a call on 0161 284 9000 or email

6 Stunning Bespoke Ecommerce Packaging Designs for Inspiration

When it comes to e-commerce, companies have become more inventive in recent years about the packaging they use. It’s no longer enough to send a product in a plain cardboard box. Instead, you need to think about your brand and the message you want to send when a box from your company arrives with your customer., creating bespoke ecommerce packaging is one way to do that.

Inspirational packaging design

Once you have your branding down, you can start designing your packaging.  Here are six inspirational packaging design ideas to get you started:

  • Colour

Colour is a powerful tool when it comes to sending a message about who your company is and what it stands for.  It allows you to catch your customer’s eye when the package arrives and helps ensure it stands out from the crowd.  Right now, blended colours are especially popular as are black and white designs, which can allow you to create intricate and intriguing designs that make people look twice.

An example of the use of black and white can be seen in the Allsorts packaging, which came out a couple of years ago and allowed the sweets to stand out against all the others on the shelf.

  • Minimalism

If you do go for black and white, one of the things to remember is to keep things simple.  Black and white packaging makes a statement, and you don’t want to confuse this by making it too busy.  Minimalistic packaging works well in lots of ways. It sends a message that your company is open and honest, for example, and that you don’t focus on style over substance, something more and more customers want to see right now.

With minimalism, because there isn’t anything to distract the eye, you need to think about the colour(s) you use, and the typography but function is important too.  There is no point in keeping the packaging design simple if the packaging itself isn’t fit for purpose. Beauty brands are experts at minimalist design and worth looking at for inspiration.

  • Typeface

Beauty products are good at typeface too.  They tend to keep it simple (space is often a premium) but use creative placement to add a twist to the design.  An example is Thomas Kosmala, who wrapped the typeface around their packaging rather than have it placed on just one side.  It’s an approach that can be used on any type of box, regardless of whether it is packing the product itself or being used for shipping.

  • Images

Images can also be used on product packaging or packaging used for shipping.  They can be as simple as your company logo or more involved. If you have the budget, speak to an illustrator to come up with something unique for your company.  Vintage imagery is particularly popular right now, and it’s definitely worth seeing if this will fit with your brand. Remember, it doesn’t have to be too literal, but it does need to be eye-catching.

  • Themes

Whether your use images or not, it’s essential to try and stick to a theme with your packaging. This links back to your brand and the need for consistency.  Use the same colour, or range of colours, in your packaging and the same typography.

If you do use images, remember, you don’t need them all to be the same, but they do need to have something in common in order to tie your look together.

  • Inclusivity

Recently, Lego began a pilot for braille bricks. A similar approach can work in packaging and designers have been working on this.  You could, for example, include braille text on your boxes or consider using fonts that are better for those with dyslexia to read.  

  • Quality and consistency

Once you decide on your design, you need to make sure it runs through all of your packaging from boxes to bags. The quality of your packaging matters too. This doesn’t mean you need to blow the bank, but it does mean buying the best packaging you can within your budget.

To make sure you get the best quality, look at ways you could save money on packaging. With Right Size, for example, you get good quality cardboard boxes at an affordable price because you only produce the boxes you need when you need them. You can also print directly to these boxes, meaning you can add a design without the added costs that other companies might charge.

7 Ways To Make Your Packaging More Customer Friendly

Each year, the number of people shopping online increases.

In the UK, we have the third largest eCommerce sector in the world, accounting for over £500 billion annually in sales.

As a result, this means there is a need for online businesses to access a wide range of packaging options in order to ship their products.

For years, this need was filled with cardboard boxes produced to standard sizes, resulting in a need for additional – and often excessive – fillers such as bubble wrap.  Consumer trends, however, are changing, as are levels of environmental awareness, meaning traditional packaging methods are no longer acceptable.

Consequently, online businesses need to find more customer friendly packaging options. Here, we look at seven such customer-friendly packaging options:

  • Package Size

The internet is full of customers commenting on the fact that their products were shipped in boxes that were much too big for the items inside.  And, while seeing an Instagram post of someone sitting in a large box that was used to deliver a small bottle of shampoo can be funny, it’s actually quite frustrating for customers who are left having to get rid of the packaging.  

Today, technology such as Right Size means that your packaging can be made to fit the products themselves, something customers will no doubt appreciate – especially if that packaging can fit through a letterbox.

  • Pack Smartly

If customers order more than one item from you, think about how these can be packaged to reduce the amount of packaging you use and the risk of any damage.  Can items be stored inside each other, for example, or can you use softer products to cushion those that are more breakable?

  • Harmful Products

Most packaging is mass produced, meaning it may contain chemicals that can harm the environment or cause allergic reactions in humans. Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact chemicals can have and want products and packaging made from less harmful alternatives.

Look for customer friendly packaging options, therefore, that are made from these alternatives; you can buy plastic packaging made from corn starch, for example, or have boxes printed with soy ink, which is biodegradable.  

  • Environmental Impact

One of the main reasons’ customers don’t respond well to packaging that is too large for their order is the negative environmental impact they believe it has; even if the packaging can be recycled, today’s consumers are environmentally aware and will see this as wasteful.  

Beyond this, however, your customers will want to know how sustainable your packaging is and the easiest way to let them know is to tell them by having it printed on the packaging – if it’s made of recycled materials for example – they’ll appreciate not having to search your website to find the answers to their questions.  

  • Excess Packaging

Excess packaging isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s bad for the customer, especially if it means they have to spend more time than is necessary for unwrapping your products.  When it comes to customer friendly packaging, remember, anything beyond what you need to keep an order free from damage is probably too much and won’t be appreciated.

If anything, it is likely to lead to the customer getting frustrated as they try to pull off additional plastic wrapping or snip through plastic ties.

  • Branding

People tend to order more online during peak times such as Christmas, at which point they may well get overwhelmed by the number of plain brown boxes arriving on their doorstep.  If they’ve ordered gifts for different family members, this can lead to frustrations if they don’t know what is in each box. And, while you won’t want to give the game away by not using any packaging (as Amazon did the other year), having your brand name printed on your packaging can go some way to letting them know just what is inside the box.  

  • Information Sharing

Depending on the products you sell and ship, there may be care instructions you need to share with customers.  Making this clear and easy to find on a box or bag will go a long way to creating customer-friendly packaging, especially if it requires customers to do something as soon as their order arrives – storing it in a cool, dark, place, for example.  

Packaging can be used to share information on other products that might be of interest too, or to thank customers for their order, something which will definitely be appreciated.

How Is Smart Packaging Changing The Packaging Industry?

In the packaging industry, smart packaging is the hot new trend.

Comprising of both active packaging and intelligent packaging, smart packaging is more than a passing fad. With the adoption of smart packaging across all industries, it may just change the packaging industry entirely.

At the moment, the smart packaging industry takes less than 10% of the packaging industry.

The industry is expected to reach $40 billion by 2020.

However, the overall packaging market is valued between $400 and $500 billion. That said, smart packaging is one of the fastest growing sectors in the packaging industry.

It may be fruitful for companies to adopt smart packaging sooner in order to get ahead of the curve.

With this in mind, is it time your business started incorporating new packaging methods into your organisation?

What Is Smart Packaging?

Smart packaging describes packaging that enhances its own functionality. It may use a range of specialist materials or technology in order to either improve the packaging, doing more for its contents or communicate a message.

An example of smart packaging would be in the food industry where packaging can sense the temperature, time and ripeness of products and the environment to help retain the microbiological quality of the contents. This can help to reduce wastage and ensure the safety of the contents.

Packaging can then even add the barriers, absorbers and necessary controllers to extend the life of products and protect its contents as best as it can.

Another aspect of smart packaging is intelligent packaging which works to sense changes in the environment which could be a risk to the contents. For example, the intelligent packaging could have anti-counterfeit measures, monitor microorganism growth within the packaging.

Intelligent packaging can also display marketing and branding messages as well and control and manage the supply chain.

What Does Smart Packaging Consist Of?

There are four key elements of smart packaging, which include;

Protection – Materials, technology and methods of extending the protection methods of the packaging. For example, this could be thermal layering to keep contents cooler for longer.

Communication – The packaging’s ability to communicate a message. This could be a marketing or branding message or a warning that contents is above its required temperature or passed its expiry date.

Containment – Minimising waste while adequately containing the contents so that the contents are fit for purpose when removed from the packaging.

Convenience – Packaging must consider both the ease of the production line and convenience of the customer. It should be easy for customers to get rid of the packaging (such as through recycling) but also be easy to create to reduce cost and time on the packaging line.

What Are The Benefits Of Smart Packaging?


  • Increase the shelf life


In the food industry and the medical industry, it is essential to reduce spoilage and wastage. Smart packaging can help to extend the shelf life of products. In fact, even if there was just an increase of one day for the shelf life, the cost savings could be significant for many companies.


  • Branding


For brands that suffer from counterfeiting, it can help to verify the goods and the brand and prevent items from losing value due to the black market. There can be measures in place to ensure the authenticity of the product.


  • Safety


For companies transporting hazardous goods, then it is essential to have adequate packaging to protect the contents. Packaging can increase the safety measures in the logistic process. As accidents and poor packaging can ruin the reputation of a business, safety through packaging becomes essential.


  • Cost saving


Smart packaging can offer a number of savings, from extending shelf life, as mentioned above, to creating reusable packaging that can be reused and repurposed to reduce the cost of packaging production.

At the moment, some brands may struggle to realise the cost savings straightaway.

This is because smart packaging is still new and requires substantial investment to develop the products. However, for many companies, it is well worth conducting a cost-benefit analysis to see if the investment into smart packaging can save money or be good for business by meeting customer demands.

What about sustainability?

The main barrier to the use of smart packaging is the fact that demand requires packaging to be as sustainable as possible.

Our Top 5 UK Packaging Designers

Innovative packaging designs are changing the way we view and perceive products.

A beautifully designed product package can be the difference between a customer choosing a product on a shelf or not. Similarly, making us delighted when we open the box or less than thrilled with our online purchase.

Packaging is powerful, and many people believe that a product’s package is just as important as the product itself. Getting an experienced packaging designer to create something beautiful that represents your brand and product perfectly can make all the difference in product sales and overall success.

Roughly 95% of new products fail, so a well thought out package, created by an experienced packaging designer is essential for success and to make the impact you need.

A product’s packaging is often the first point of contact a new customer has with your brand, so you need to try to make it memorable and engaging enough to make them try a new product or company they have never even heard of.

Packaging designers can create feelings and emotions around your product, that will encourage consumers to pick it on a shelf full of competitors. Even the simplest of designs have been the work of a professional packaging designer, and sometimes less is more when it comes to packaging.

Apple products are infamous for coming in clean, basic and minimal packaging and it works perfectly for the brand and product inside. Here we take a look at the people and agencies behind the packaging with our list of the top 5 UK packaging designers:

Top Packaging Designers: Top Five UK Designers

Design Bridge is one of the most prominent and most accomplished packaging designers in both the UK and internationally. They have won a number of awards for their impeccable packaging design for big name clients such as Tiger Beer, Nescafe and UEFA Champions League.

The packaging designers have been around for over 30 years so have a lifetime of experience under their belts, and as well as studios in London they also operate in Amsterdam, Singapore, New York and Shanghai. They pride themselves on their original and outside the box ideas and aim to keep this at the heart of everything they do.

Top packaging designers are those that understand the importance of a brand’s packaging conveying its unique character at just one glance. Jones Knowles Ritchie have designed packets for Guinness, Birds Eye, Heinz and many other big businesses, and they focus on projecting the things that make each brand different instead of reflecting their comfortable conventions.

These experienced packaging designers have won a handful of awards, including five DBA Effectiveness Awards and two Marketing’s Design Awards. The creative agency was established in London in 1990 and have since expanded to New York, Singapore and Shanghai.

The proud winners of 40 DBA International Design Effectiveness Awards, Elmwood hold more of these awards than any other agency ever! They are skilled packaging designers with an incredible ability to increase product sales without any advertising.

Elmwood has even put their own skills to the test by designing and marketing their very own brand of beer and tea, both with beautifully designed packaging. Their significant clients include ASDA, BBC Talent and Comic Relief, and their portfolio makes it easy to see why they are one of the best packaging designers around. Elmwood has six studios across the globe, with three in the UK and the others in New York, Melbourne and Singapore.

Bloom London take a unique approach to their work and act as Brand Identity Partners to their clients. They strive to deliver identities through packaging and beyond, in a way that can stand the test of time in a world that is ever-changing.

As the name suggests, they are packaging designers that strive to help their clients blossom and bloom to reach their full potential. The agency doesn’t tend to enter awards, allowing their work to speak for itself, and even with this approach, they have still managed to win a few.

The last on our list of top packaging designers, but by no means the least talented; Bulletproof pride themselves on unrivalled creativity and strategic ideas. Taking spirit from their name, Bulletproof believe that all their work must come from impenetrable ideas.

Bulletproof has been named the 4th best design agency by The Drum Magazine, and it is clear to see why. They do a lot of work within the food and beverage industry, with some of their biggest clients being Coca-Cola, Schweppes, Heineken, Strongbow, Bacardi and Cadbury’s.

15 Innovative Types Of Packaging Box

Packaging is not only a practical and necessary part of your product but also an excellent opportunity to market your product and brand to potential customers.

When done correctly, product packaging will draw attention to your products, send a message and even make your consumers feel a certain way about your brand.

Packaging can come in any shape, size, material and colour for every type of product out there, and while box packaging might be considered boring and mundane, that does not have to be the case.

Boxes can be used to create a powerful exterior for your product, and there are thousands of various types and designs that can be used to package products of any shape or size.

Making your product stand out amongst the rest is no easy task, so here we take a look at 15 different types of packaging boxes to inspire your product marketing:

  • Folding Cartons

Folding cartons are one of the most common types of boxes for retail products in stores. Just because they are the most basic of packaging boxes doesn’t mean they can’t be inspiring. Check out these stunning insect-inspired light bulb boxes that are a brilliant example of how amazing packaging can make simple products stand out.

  • Rigid Boxes

A step up from the folding carton, rigid boxes are sturdier and generally used for presentation purposes and luxury products. They offer added protection as well as a high-end finish.

  • Shoulder Boxes

Shoulder boxes are a type of rigid box where the base and lid don’t meet, creating a middle section called the shoulder. The shoulder can be used to make a feature by using a contrasting colour to the top and bottom of the box.

  • Collapsible Boxes

Another type of box that can be really effective for product marketing is the collapsible box. These can save on shipping costs and storage space and offer a vast range of design options to make your products really stand out.

  • Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

Made by glueing a curved flute to two liners, corrugated boxes have traditionally been used for outer packaging, but are now becoming increasingly popular within small companies. They can be created in nearly any shape and size and are relatively cheap to produce. This wine carrying box designed by Maegen Brown is a perfect example of the flexibility of corrugated boxes.

  • Regular Slotted Containers

A standard box for the packaging industry, where all the flaps are the same length from the score to the edge; these boxes are ideal for shipping small individual items. They don’t offer much by way of customisation other than changing the print and external design, but sometimes less is more.

  • Corrugated Trays

If product visibility is vital to you and your product, then corrugated trays could be the answer. They are typical for point of sale displays as well as product packaging and essentially used to hold other objects.

  • Half Slotted Containers

Similar to regular slotted containers. However, this type of box has one open side making it perfect for sliding over pre-boxed products.

  • Roll End Tuck Top

An unglued box that is assembled by simple folding, these boxes are perfect for shipping retail products. A beautifully creative design of a roll end tuck top box is this design for Thelma’s cookies by SaturdayMFG. The box is simple yet tells a story of the brand and is instantly memorable.

  • Full Over Lap

These types of boxes feature outer flaps that overlap the entire width of the box making them tough and resilient. They are a practical choice for shipping products and can be enhanced with stunning print designs.

  • Telescope Type Boxes

A telescope type box will consist of two completely separate pieces; a base and a lid. They are popular for presenting high-end products such as technology, and a well-known example is Apple’s iPhone packaging.

  • Slide Type Boxes

Another box that consists of two separate pieces, slide type boxes have a sleeve and inner box. A stunning example of a slide type box used is the Girlfriend Collective packaging designed by Natasha Mead Studio.

  • Mailer Boxes

Mailer boxes are designed specifically for posting small products. They are created to fit easily in letterboxes and post boxes, for easy deliveries and meaning your customers don’t have to dash to the post office if they aren’t home for a delivery.

  • Shelf Ready Boxes

Shelf ready boxes are created specifically for retail shelves and displaying products in store. They can be designed to showcase a product and make it stand out to retail customers.

  • Custom Boxes

Boxes for packaging are versatile and can be created into nearly any shape and size you desire.

Creating unique and custom boxes for your products is an excellent way of giving your customers a memorable experience. Some great examples of custom box designs include this pistachio box for Mighty Nuts, this innovative flower packaging and this unfolding box for beauty products.

How Much Is Bad Packaging Design Costing Your Business?

If you haven’t thought much about your packaging design, then its poor quality is probably going to cost your business money. Of course, due to busy online and offline shopping shelves, there is a need to create a stand-out design that will mean your customer picks up your product instead of your competitions’.

However, bad packaging design is not just about avoid haphazard designs that are unpleasing to your customers’ eyes; this is also about creating sustainability for the environment and cost-effectiveness for your business. To simultaneously improve our business bank accounts and the world around us, we must start thinking ergonomically when we design our packaging.

The problem with excess packaging

Excess packaging will not only annoy your customers by taking up unnecessary space in their houses, offices and bins; it will also cost you money. It will cost you money because you are irritating and losing customers; paying for additional packing material; investing in extra storage space, and spending extra cash to transport all the extra weight that the packing adds to your products.

Moreover, carelessness when designing your packaging will shine through when your customers receive the products. By simply falling on those commonly used plastic packaging methods, and not even personalising them to your products, your customers will think you are trying to sell on the cheap. Even within the capitalist society in which we all live, don’t insult your customer – they are fully aware of cheap-skate companies. The short-term costs of investing in proper design will certainly save you bad reviews in the long run.

The environmental cost

In turn, bad packaging will also cost the environment. It will cost the planet because you are superfluously using the world’s limited resources; increasing pollution by requiring extra transportation for heavier products; and using up extra land to store the products. This is not sustainable, and your customers won’t appreciate your thoughtlessness for the world around them.

Today, there are growing numbers of environmental and sustainability movements, as well as more and more people opting for eco-friendly, vegan and vegetarian lifestyles than ever before. This alone should be enough to convince you that investing time in green packaging solutions is a worthwhile endeavour.

The alternatives to bad packaging

There are thousands of other options to traditional packing methods now. Instead of using plastic, you can buy on-demand corrugated cardboard boxes which are personalised to fit your product exactly. This not only cuts down on excess packaging, but its snug fit also looks just as professional as plastic alternatives.

If you simply can’t go without plastic packaging, there are now many sources of recyclable plastic packaging. This will be better than nothing. You could even leave a little note to your customers in product boxes which suggests a way for them to reuse the packet – this way, you’ll at least illustrate to your target market that you do care.

Moreover, if you are transporting a delicate product to a customer, there are now many alternatives to those environmentally-unfriendly packing peanuts.  From using nearly-weightless popcorn to using inflammable coconut husk and flexible, spongy peat moss. Alternatively, if you want your alternative to look similar to the usual packing peanuts, corn-starch packing peanuts are similar in size, shape and consistency and can be easily disposed of by dissolving them under running water.

Best fitting packaging

Common sense should tell you that customers prefer well-fitting packaging. Think of all those Apple products you’ve bought. They come in neatly packed boxes; the product is nested within holes fit exactly to the items size, and the box slides open with ease. You should aim for this, but if you do this with sustainable packaging methods, you will be on to a winner in this new generation of eco-warriors. Moreover, you already know your aim must always be to follow what your customers want if you want a profitable business.

So, if you are told you packaging is unsustainable, you should think that it is unsustainable in two senses. Firstly, it’s not feasible for your business to continue unsustainably, because your customers won’t like it and because you are using up extra money that you needn’t be. Secondly, its unsustainable for the environment that you love doing your business in.

Though you may be worried about the short-term costs of investing in alternatives, you can be assured that you will save, if not increase, your business bank account’s earnings if you switch to sustainable packaging. Spending just a short amount of time searching for eco-friendly alternatives and rethinking your packaging is the least you can do for the world, your customers and for your business.

Bad Packaging: When Companies Get It Really Wrong

When it comes to packaging, consumers get to enjoy really innovative designs but also struggle with impossible and seemingly inconceivable bad packaging ideas. Packaging is there to protect items, promote the brand and generally make like easier, ideally in an environmentally friendly way.

We see the use of intelligent packaging materials and packaging that has a secondary purpose as well as enjoying recyclable packaging. However, what about the times where manufacturers have got it badly wrong?

What constitutes bad packaging?

  1. Unnecessary
  2. Waste of material
  3. Misses the point
  4. Poor design
  5. Bad branding
  6. Mistakes, translation and grammatical errors
  7. Bad/unfortunate positioning
  8. Not recyclable
  9. Does not protect the product
  10. Does not serve a purpose.

We have all been infuriated by bad packaging in one form or another, here are just a few examples of bad packaging frustrations.

Truly terrible bad packaging

When buying scissors or a knife, it is impossible to cut the rigid plastic case to access the product without scissors or a knife. If you buy a product designed to open the annoying plastic packaging we face, would it not be smart to make the packaging opening product easier to access?

There have been so many cases where tough to open plastic packaging has broken scissors, so when you purchase a replacement pair, manufacturers would save plenty of stress by using packaging that is easier to open. The irony is not lost when buying scissors, and the instructions tell you to cut on the dotted line or tab to open.

  • Doorstep sandwich box

As consumers we understand, why choose a thin, supermarket on-the-go sandwich when you can select chunky doorstep bread with a deep sandwich filling? However, consumers, do not need the sandwich to actually be packaged to look like a doorstep in order to know what it is. Instead of wasting more packaging than necessary, a simple label may have sufficed.


The great thing about nature is that it comes up with its own ingenious packaging solutions. The humble banana, for example, has a thick protective skin which means the fruit stays damage free and tasty when it comes to eating. What’s more, the packaging is biodegradable meaning no impact to the environment, unless it is slipping on a banana skin humour.

With this in mind, it makes us question why Del Monte decided that wrapping individual bananas in plastic was a good idea. They claim that their wasteful use of packaging was to be a ‘green initiative’ to make picking a healthy snack easier when on the go. We think a typical banana does its job perfectly.

Just like the banana, the avocado does a great job of providing its own packaging. Considering that it takes only a few seconds to cut an avocado in half, it seems unfathomable that companies would individually wrap avocado halves in shrink-wrap plastic packaging and then encase two halves within a cardboard box to waste yet more packaging.

Not to mention that buying pre-cut packaged avocado halves is more expensive than purchasing an avocado as a whole. If you only want to use half an avocado, then leave the stone in place and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep it fresh, without needing plastic.

While having individual packages may be handy, they are only useful when they are small and fit the product. Zyrtec have a huge plastic container to contain five individually wrapped tablets. However, the individual sachets are ten times the size of the actual product. So much wasteful packaging, we do not know where to begin.

Ever-present in the technology industry is the draw of small products and micro sizes. So why do small products need such big packaging? Usually, USB drives and memory cards are encased in a little plastic shell; they do not need extensive cardboard backing and a plastic case as well. Furthermore, this plastic case is usually one of the hardest aspects to open. People have reported accidentally stabbing themselves and breaking scissors in an attempt to get through the rigid plastic package.

  • Packaging that leads to disappointment

Can’t wait to tuck into that big bag of crisps, sweets, nuts or popcorn? How disappointing once you open the packet, the air whooshes out, and you are left with at least half of an empty bag. Big packaging can be misleading for customers. Packaging can make us believe we are getting good value for money. Alternatively, packaging can lead us to have an expectation of the product inside the protective box or bag. However, sometimes over exaggerated packaging can dash our hopes and disappoint us.

It is worth noting that there is a requirement for a certain amount of air in crisps packaging to prevent the snacks from being crushed. However, the packaging also poses a problem as crisp packets (especially the foil layer variety) cannot often be recycled.

So, the next time you grab a jumbo-sized product because you think it is good value, check the weight or description to see if it will actually live up to the mark. In the meantime, we hope packaging companies will cut their costs and reduce their packaging sizes.

With a solid shell, it is hard to imagine that a coconut needs any more protection. However, companies providing coconut juice fresh from the coconut had added a straw and pull top for ease. Added to that, they have then wrapped the coconut in plastic film and added a cardboard base so that the coconut has stability on the shelf.

This excessive packaging became a viral sensation and caused outrage for its wastefulness. One company responded by saying that the plastic film is vital for keeping the freshness and maintaining the green flesh to prolong their shelf life.

We have all had an online delivery where it feels like we play a game of pass the parcel. Opening one large box only to find shredded paper, polystyrene packing peanuts, the uncover another box and then another one until you actually discover the product you were looking for.

With excessive waste filling the recycling bin, it angers many consumers. In fact, many customers campaign for businesses to use less packaging where possible and where relevant, eliminate packaging altogether. Some delivery companies now ship products without packaging and just use a simple address label.

  • Cosmetic products

Lots of cosmetic products use their packaging to appear more exclusive and high-quality. However, a glass or plastic containers already uses a high amount of packaging. This is increased when the jars are then placed in cardboard boxes and then wrapped in plastic. For products with such as a small volume, the amount of packaging often weighs and costs more than the product itself.

The packaging also comes into consideration when the products are transported. With excessive weight from bulky packaging and increased volume, it can create significant emissions through the logistics process.

  • Sushi packaging

Grabbing an on-the-go sushi box for a lunchtime treat may mean spending most of your lunch break unwrapping each item before you run out of time to eat it. Sushi boxes will have chopsticks, wrapped in a paper packet, a plastic sauce container, sachets to season your meal to taste. The outer packaging itself is often wasteful because it is moulded plastic, using more plastic, to separate each section.

As a side dish, you may opt for a convenient fruit snack, such as pineapple fingers, apple slices or grapes all in individually sealed plastic bags that many of us forget to check whether they are recyclable and dispose of it correctly. Remember, many packaging options such as pizza boxes cannot be recycled if they have food contamination.

How To Get Rid Of Void Fillers Packaging In Your Business

For manufacturers, businesses and customers across the globe, void fillers packaging is one of the biggest irritations.

Void fillers packaging can help to protect products and can serve as a vital armour for logistic problems that can affect products such as dropping, shaking, impact, crushing and shock. However, there are many negatives associated with void fillers too.

What is void filler packaging?

Void filler packaging is the added material that is used to fill any empty spaces in packaging to help protect a product. Void filler effectively fills in any gaps in boxes and packaging to help keep the product in its place and to stop it moving. The protection can also help the product during transport.

There are many different types of void fillers packaging, some of the most common materials used for void fill include;

  • Cardboard strips
  • Board honeycomb
  • Polystyrene pieces
  • Paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Shredding
  • Packing peanuts
  • Airbags.

The problem with void fillers packaging

1. Expense

One of the main issues with void packaging is the additional expense that it brings. Void filler means that you are using packaging that is too big. Your business is, therefore, paying unnecessary postage or logistics costs to transport empty space. Furthermore, you are not only paying for the privilege of shipping empty space, but you are also paying for the void filler material itself.

2. Time-wasting

Filling packaging with void filler is a task which takes valuable time. In fact, staff could be using the time with wasteful void filler by packing more products into better packaging solutions. With the right packaging, you do not need to fill spaces in boxes and packages. This time spent ensuring that there is adequate filler protecting the product could be spent so much better.

In fact, with the right packaging for your product, you can reduce the packaging and fulfilment time. You can then, therefore, increase your delivery cycles and better utilise staff time for value-adding activities rather than non-value adding activities such as void filling.

3. Space utilisation

Another irritation of void filler is the use of your valuable space on your premises. Often void filler packaging can take up premium warehouse space that could be utilised for storage of products, machinery or other profit-making activities. Often void filler is large and cumbersome, making it difficult to store, especially when it is needed close to hand for packaging on the process line.

4. Environmentally-unfriendly

Void fillers packaging will significantly lower your green credentials as a business. Using excess cardboard which needs recycling and process or harmful plastic which is often not recycled can be damaging to the environment.

Many consumers will not know how to process void fillers, which means they may not be recycled. Regardless of whether you are using recyclable materials or not, the fact is that you may still be wasting material which is unnecessary and does not showcase a business as being eco-friendly.

How to reduce void filler

1. Choose the right-sized packaging

Instead of choosing a generic box or envelope to pack your products into, consider offering a range of packaging sizes to suit your product needs better. It can be much more efficient to use the right sized packaging rather than a generic box and adding the necessary void fill to reduce the space.

Using right size techniques which give you the right sized box for every product can be a significant cost-saving investment for your business. Alternatively, taking the time to find a more suitable sized package may be worthwhile.

2. Seal boxes correctly

By sealing products with strong materials such as pressure sensitive tape, you can significantly enhance the strength of the packaging as well as its stability. By sealing products, you help to protect them from harmful conditions such as moisture and odour. Furthermore, it can help with the balance when the product is in transit, assisting the package to maintain its shape and reducing the risk of crushing and compression.

3. Test your packaging

If you feel void fillers are inevitable, then you may still be able to reduce the amount you need. It is worthwhile conducting a range of ‘stress’ tests with your products to see how they fare and therefore work out what is the optimal packaging that you need. It may surprise you to find that your product is just as protected without void filler as it is with it. By checking your products and packaging in a variety of situations, you can then standardise your packaging process which can help you to save money and become more efficient.

Why The World Needs Us To Move To Custom Product Packaging

For every business, having the right packaging is essential.

Your packaging is often the first impression that customers have of your business and it needs to count. Packaging should not only be practical but it also needs to add value, while it can protect your product from damage, it can also help to sell your brand.

Custom product packaging is a highly effective way to not only improve customer experience but your brand reputation as well. In fact, there are many reasons why businesses should move to custom product packaging for their products, here we have analysed some of the best reasons why you should make the change to customised packaging.

Five reasons to use custom product packaging

  • Brand awareness

Having customised packaging can help to get your brand noticed. By introducing a unique box that precisely fits the shape of your product to printed packaging which helps to market your business, custom product packaging can help to get your business noticed.

Tailored packaging can quickly become distinctive. For example, although Amazon has a very low-key packaging type. However, their brown boxes and envelopes with signature tape and printed logo make the parcels instantly recognisable.

  • Environment impact

Instead of using a one-size-fits-all packaging, a custom-sized package can significantly reduce the impact on the environment. For a start, custom packaging cuts wastage as you can tailor it to the size of your product. You also reduce the amount of filler product used which again reduces the waste of resources.

Customised packaging can also be eco-friendly, such as the recycled cardboard used by Ribble in our Right Size packaging solution. By choosing environmentally-friendly product packaging, you can show your customers that you have a commitment to saving the planet. You may even decide to make a pledge to go plastic-free to reduce the harm that your custom packaging has on the earth.

  • Reduce returns

It makes sense that the right-sized packaging for your product will help to keep the item secured and steady while in transit which reduces the risk of damage to the product. This is particularly pertinent for businesses that ship fragile, high-value goods.

Tailored packaging can help to keep the item safe and in perfect condition so that the object arrives safely. This not only improves customer satisfaction, reduces the administration and reverse logistics associated with returning items, it also can help to improve your bottom line too.

  • Cut transportation costs

The costs of shipping can be significant for your business. However, by using the right-sized packaging for your products, you can reduce the amount of space your products need while in transport, which can significantly cut costs. Whether you pile products onto a lorry for shipping or utilise a logistics company, the weight and size of your product will impact your costs.

By reducing the size of the packaging, you are able to fit more products on the necessary transportation which can allow you to transport more or cut your costs whether you use your own transportation or use a logistics provider.

  • Shrink your carbon footprint

Another benefit of using custom product packaging is the ability to shrink your carbon footprint. You can lessen your carbon impact by using less packaging which reduces the amount your business need which, in turn, reduces the energy required to produce the packaging.

As products have only the necessary packaging that they need, it can also help to reduce the weight while in transportation which can cut your fuel consumption and size of transportation required which can all contribute to lowering your carbon footprint.

Create custom product packaging with Ribble

The team at Ribble are committed to lowering the cost of packaging for business and being kind to the planet. As standard, all of the packaging products that we supply are fully recycled. Furthermore, your customers will be able to recover them easy once finished as a packaging function as all of our cardboard is fully recyclable too.

Using our innovative Right Size solution, you can create customised packaging to suit the exact size of your product. Furthermore, our on-demand box making machine can change for each product or be used for batch production. With Ribble Automate, you can create the exact sized box that you need helping your business to lower packaging costs as well as your impact on the environment.

To find out more about our innovative on-demand box making machinery, contact the team at Ribble by calling 0161 284 9000.

Copyright © Ribble Packaging Ltd.

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