Does your business need same-day delivery on a regular basis? Are you looking for new ways to package retail items or healthcare materials?

Whether you’re shipping across town or to another state, the way you pack your goods does matter. Returns on used and damaged goods cost retailers more than $350 billion each year.

If you’re looking to ship it right the first time, this article’s for you. We’ll give you an overview of the most common packaging materials and help you get started with rush couriers and on-demand deliveries.

1. Bubble Wrap

If you’re shipping something that’s a bit fragile, chances are you’ve used bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is a great packaging material option that doesn’t have to break the bank.

There are several types of bubble wrap, though, so how can you be sure you’re using the right one?

In general, you’d use multi-purpose bubble wrap for medium-sized items that aren’t too fragile. If you’re shipping a smaller item, you might want to use two different sizes of bubble wrap: small bubbles for the inside and then larger for the outer layer.

There is bubble wrap available for shipping electronics. It is spark-resistant and can be used for computer components, cords, and cell phones.

There’s also food-grade bubble wrap that’s FDA-approved. It’s moisture-resistant and travels well. Talk to your shipping company to see if they can help you source the appropriate packaging materials.

2. Packaging Paper

When you’re making a packing material list, paper should be right at the top. If you’re shipping perishable materials, though, try to avoid using newspaper.

Newspaper can stain antiques and is also susceptible to water damage. Many retailers like it because it’s easy to obtain and reusable, but they don’t realize that there’s another option.

Packaging paper is a thicker, sturdier kind of paper that doesn’t add too much weight to your packages. It’s great for keeping delicate items or electronics segregated and can be reused more than 10 times.

If you’re shipping electronics, however, you should use an electronics-grade bubble wrap as your first layer. You can then separate items with packing paper as needed.

If you’re using packaging paper, you can crumple up individual sheets or you can take several sheets at a time and wrap up your items. You can also use packaging paper as an outer layer to protect bubble-wrapped items.

After you’re done with your packaging paper, you can donate it to local art programs or you can recycle it. About two-thirds of all paper products in the United States are eventually recycled.

3. Foam

One of the most popular types of packaging for large items is foam. If you’re transporting delicate electronics, you should probably invest in custom foam packaging.

There are a few options with foam: packaging peanuts and hard foam containers. The hard foam option is popular for courier and rush delivery of healthcare items. If you need a local delivery, you might even skip the outer cardboard layer in favor of a reusable foam container.

The thing to remember about foam is that it can retain moisture and is not a good option for electronics. If you’re reusing the same hard foam container more than once, you should liberally spray it with bleach between uses.

The biggest news in foam packaging these days is the invention of biodegradable packing peanuts that you can use to cushion larger items. These work the same way as foam peanuts but can be dissolved in water after use.

There is a good reason to stick to foam peanuts, however. They can also be recycled and are a much more lightweight shipping material. If you’re concerned about environmental impact, you should know that “green peanuts” are made with more than 65% recycled material.

You can tell your packaging peanuts apart by color. Pink and white peanuts are not made from recycled materials. If you need to dispose of them, just call your local recycling hotline.

4. Cardboard

If you’re looking for lightweight food packaging materials, you might want to consider cardboard. If you’re shipping glass or aluminum containers, you can put small cardboard pieces between them for shipment.

Cardboard boxes are such a common material for shipping that many retailers have quite the stack taking up space in their back rooms. Breaking down those boxes and putting them to good use is a great way to minimize waste.

Cardboard is prone to moisture damage and should not be used to insulate breakable items. If you use bubble wrap, however, as a base, you can separate items with pieces of cardboard.

You can also ship items that are wrapped in packaging paper and then separated with cardboard pieces.

You can even find cardboard that’s thinner than traditional cardboard boxes. You can even order custom cardboard dividers if you’re shipping dozens of the same item.

If you have time, try to experiment with your packaging materials. Ship a non-perishable, unbreakable item along your local delivery routes to see how your cardboard packaging stands up.

You might be surprised to find that cardboard is a serious contender for the “best packaging material” award.

The Best Packaging Materials for Same Day Delivery

Whether you’re shipping to another state or just across town, you should know that demand for same-day delivery is poised for explosive growth.

Right now, about 50% of all retail stores offer same-day delivery. In the next two years, that number should grow by half. If you’re not offering same-day service, you might have some shrinkage in your bottom line.

As more customers demand same-day and next-day delivery, your business will only be as good as its logistics provider. That’s where we come in.

If you’re looking for delivery solutions and wondering about the perfect packaging materials, we’ve got your back. We can work with businesses of any size to provide warehousing, courier services, and last mile delivery.

We also have air freight options and an online package tracking system.

Just give us a call or drop us an email online to get started. We also have live chat agents standing by to answer all of your questions!