Posted on September 11, 2008 by Dennis Salazar

Replace Corrugated Boxes with Mailers

Mailing envelopes

It may seem ironic that any company that sells boxes would help you minimize their use, but we are committed to providing application appropriate solutions, not just what we may happen to have on our website or in our warehouse. Brad Shorr recently posted a terrific article titled 7 Ways to Reduce Corrugated Box Usage, and I encourage you to read it. But let’s take it a step further and talk about how not only reduce corrugated usage, but eliminate corrugated usage completely.

I am amazed at how often people use RSC style boxes when they are not really necessary. Probably because of their popularity and availability, boxes seem to be the standard or “go to” method of shipment, but there are times and applications when they are NOT the best choice. The cost of using a box usually includes the box, tape, cushioning materials or void fill, and a good deal of labor to form and seal the bottom, fill it with product and void fill, seal the top of the box and then label it. An envelope style mailer is typically less expensive from both a material and labor cost perspective, and is an underutilized alternative to standard boxes.

Envelope style mailers are available in a wide variety of materials and designs. Most often they are made of chipboard (also known as paperboard), much like a FedEx envelope. They are also available in plastic construction resembling a rugged bag like you might get when you order soft goods from Land’s End or any other e-commerce or catalog company. Mailers are typically available in padded designs for more fragile goods and non-padded for sturdier products or those that do not require cushioning.

Here are some of the mailer options available to you for your product and application:

  • Custom printing. Branding is made easy with a variety of different print and imprint option. Printing is the imaging done in advance on the mailer, while imprinting is usually variable information that is imaged on the mailer as it is being used. The recipient’s name and address or a date code would be examples of what can be imprinted in line and as needed.
  • Gusseted. Many mailers can be created to be three dimensional for products that are higher profile. Example – a mailer designed to ship a CD-ROM probably does not have to include a gusset but if you were shipping out a blanket, a gusset might make it fit better and easier to load.
  • Mailers are as “green” as you want them to be. Most mailers are either all plastic or all paperboard, making them extremely easy to recycle. This does not apply to paper mailers that are lined with foam or bubble. The industry has responded and is now making both plastic and paper in high or 100% recycled content.

More information will follow on this excellent packaging alternative to RSC style corrugated boxes.