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A Guide To Sustainable Void Fill Options

  • 2nd May 2023
  • 7 min read

When it comes to selling products, it’s important to get your packaging right, not only to protect your products but to provide options that will have positive impacts on the planet.

One great way of doing this is to improve your packaging by choosing sustainable void fill.

Used to fill empty spaces in packaging, void fill protects items from breaking or moving around. However, the most popular void fill materials often use unsustainable materials that end up in landfill, and have a heavy carbon footprint such as polystyrene or polyethylene foam products

At Titan we’re committed to reducing harm on the planet through sustainable packaging solutions, so we’ve pulled together a guide on void fill options that will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Sustainable void fill 

When it comes to void fill, there are plenty of sustainable materials to choose from, making it important to pick the right ones for your products and business. Options could include:

Biodegradable void fill 

When something is biodegradable it is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, helping to avoid air pollution.

You can choose various types of biodegradable void fill, such as:

  • Starch-based packing peanuts
  • Shredded paper

Pro tip - There are many great ways you can get your customers to make the most out of their biodegradable void fill. For example you could provide clear instructions for your customers to show them how to properly decompose their biodegradable packaging. You could also suggest that products that use shredded paper be used for things like Guinea Pig hutches to help reduce wasted paper.

Starch loosefill can be put in the sink and dissolved in water to disappear or used for course fishing. However this is a mess for the customer to clean up. 

Recyclable void fill

For something to be recyclable it means it’s able to be converted into new materials or products. This could be done by consumers placing the item in their recycling bin or through reusing them at home

Recyclable void fill options can include:

  • Air pillows or cushioning (these can also be made with recycled content)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Kraft paper - this comes in a variety of types dependant on the requirement
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Pro tip - Provide clear guidance on how your customers can recycle or reuse your packaging. For example you could suggest customers use cardboard or kraft paper packaging to cut out shapes or fold patterns for children, as an extra source of entertainment. Alternatively, you should ensure you tell your customers how to recycle void fill effectively in their home recycling.

Reusable void fill

Reusable materials are able to be used more than once. 

You could choose from a variety of reusable void fill options like:

  • Polythene air cushions - these aren’t the most ideal option for the environment, however they are reusable as long as they are inflated
  • Moulded pulp 
  • Kraft Paper void fill

Pro tip - Tell your customer that their void fill is reusable and ask them to share how they've reused it on social media. This is great for user generated content and will help with marketing and brand awareness.

Why use paper void fill?  

Did you know that paper can be recycled up to 6 times, whereas only 9% of all plastic is recycled? This highlights the importance of choosing the right materials so that your packaging has a positive impact on the environment and your company’s reputation. 

As a result of paper’s recyclability, along with its flexibility for most packaging solutions, it’s a great void fill alternative. So why should you use paper void fill?

It boosts quality and value

Using products like tissue paper can be easily customisable, as well as recyclable making them a great planet saving option, while being able to boost customer experiences. Research shows that consumers prefer the use of paper as it’s a sign of a high quality product, as well as branded paper helping to increasing customer retention. 

Adding on to this, paper void fill can help elevate consumers' unboxing experience giving your brand a premium feel. Read our blog to learn more about giving a great unboxing experience.

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It’s an easy replacement for single use plastic

Replacing single use plastic with paper is a great way to reduce your company's negative environmental impacts. Swapping poly bags with paper bags can help reduce your carbon footprint, and can be just as weather resistant and highly protective as plastic poly bags.  

A great example of this is many companies using paper mailing bags instead of polythene. These bags are still weather repellent whilst also being recyclable and made from responsibly sourced materials.   

It’s a robust and easily moldable solution for most packaging 

Paper void can be crimped and creased to provide both protection and void fill, alongside absorbing shock and eliminating movement in transit.  

Putting the 'cycle' in recycling for a leading bike manufacturer

Here at Titan we work with various clients to produce the best possible packaging solutions. Due to this, many of our clients have benefited from successful sustainable solutions. 

For example, our work with a leading British bike manufacturer has not only been beneficial for them but also for us, as we were shortlisted for the UK 2022 Packaging awards, as a result of our work together. 

We worked with the bike company to re-imagine their packaging to help further protect their products, while making it 100% recyclable. The solution involved the courier carefully unboxing the bike for the customer and then recycling the packaging. This gave the customer a truly unique experience without having to find a way to get rid of the cardboard. 

We also used our logistics and operations to ensure the bike manufacturer had the right amount of packaging without wasting any packaging. 

To learn more about the British bike manufacturers success, read our blog. 

How Titan can help you switch to sustainable void fill

Here at Titan we value doing the right thing and putting people first with packaging requirements at a close second. Due to this we aim to perfect your packaging through positive progression, rather than being innovative for the sake of it.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help make you re-imagine your packaging solutions.

Written by: Samantha Hanson Procurement Director

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