Void Fill

Void fill - everything you need to know

  • 4th April 2023
  • 7 min read

Whether you’re a packaging manager for a retail company, or you’re an owner of an eCommerce store, you’ve likely had to get involved in the big world of packaging and everything that comes with it. 

From your product packaging, straight through to the packaging used for transit, it is vital this isn’t put on the back burner. After all, according to Armcor, 34% of packaging-related returns result in product damage, and 57% of customers expect a full refund if their package arrives damaged.

If you’re looking for ways to protect your products, while providing excellent customer service, then using the right void fill solution will  ensure your product arrives in perfect condition every time.

What is void fill? 

Void fill is used to fill empty spaces within packaging, helping to keep products in place without movement and so reducing the risk of damage. 

Types of void fill 

Void fill comes in a vast range of materials, including:

    • Paper void fill -  This is an affordable and easy to use option that's both recyclable and compostable. Its available in many different options depending on the requirement.
  • Air bags
      - These are a fast and efficient way to fill space in your packaging. They are  inflated just in time saving space in the packaging operation. Options include fully recycled material and biodegradable films. 
  • Starch based Loosefill chips
      - These are a great biodegradable option, however they can make a mess when customers open their packages. As they are starch based they can also attract rodents.
  • Carton shreddings
    - This is another great sustainable void fill possibility reusing old boxes to provide a void solution, however this can be dusty and means the boxes aren’t recycled or reused. 

Foam-in-place - This expands around your product to provide a custom protective fit.  However it is both  very expensive and  damaging to the environment, is difficult to dispose of and cannot be reused.


Sustainable void fill 

There are a variety of sustainable void fill products available for you to choose from, such as:

    • Biodegradable void fill - Biodegradable void fill is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, helping to reduce air pollutants. This type of void fill can come in the form of starch-based packing peanuts and shredded paper.
  • Recyclable void fill
      - Recyclable void fill is capable of being converted into reusable material. Examples of recyclable void fill include, air pillows, corrugated cardboard and kraft paper.
  • Reusable void fill
    - Reusable void fill can be used more than once and include options like, polythene air cushions, moulded pulp and shredded cardboard.

When should void fill packaging be used?

When protecting products

People often assume that void fill is only required when protecting fragile items, however there are so many other items that void fill can help protect. 

For example, customers may have ordered a new set of pans or multiple sized items. Void fill would be appropriate in this situation to prevent dents and scratches being made during transit. This in turn helps provide great customer service, as customers are receiving their products in the exact condition they’re expecting them to come in.

So you can provide a great unboxing experience

Void fill doesn’t just have to be used for preventing damages but can also be used to boost your unboxing experience. It’s not just the exterior packaging presentation that matters. You want to give a bit of wow factor when your customers open their packages. 

Using attractive void fill options can go a long way in showing your customers that you care about the quality of delivery and the way they experience your products.

Furthermore, loose fill peanuts are also great for being reused for coarse fishing or  around the home. Watch this video of a cat playing with them to see one of the many benefits of using void fill.

To limit damage on your packaging and products 

Using cardboard to protect heavy or sharp edged items can lead to your packaging being damaged, which as we’re sure you’ll agree isn’t a great look and will provide bad customer service. 

However, this is where void fill comes in handy, as it can cover those sharp edges, preventing any damage to your packaging. There are a few things to choose from, with some being more practical than others. However not all void fill products are sustainable, meaning you may want to look for recyclable options instead.

We worked with FairFax and Favor to help them to help make the inside of their packaging recyclable. The company moved away from using bubble wrap to protect customers' products and switched to using paper void fill instead. This has helped the company make all of their outgoing packaging 100% recyclable, while improving their customer’s experience with their brand.

IMG 4622

When using void fill you should also consider:

Weight, size and fragility of products

When choosing the right void fill you want to consider the weight, size and fragility of your products. 

You want to consider using void fill that doesn’t add lots of extra weight to your packaging as this can increase your shipping costs and add extra pressure to your fragile products.

What material is right for you 

Another factor you want to think about is what materials are best for your products and brand. This can include:

  • Avoiding void fill that adds a lot of extra weight to your packaging. You should choose materials that don’t add too much extra weight to your packaging due to increased shipping costs and risk of damage. 
  • Avoiding overpacking as this can also increase the risk of damage.

Using void fill effectively 

Not every product requires void fill, and if it does, you should consider sustainable alternatives, to help save the planet. If you’re unsure on where to start, you may benefit from bringing in a packaging consultant. 

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to tell your customers whether your void fill options are sustainable or not, as it can sometimes be confusing when it comes to getting rid of your packaging. 

Here are a few ways you can effectively use void fill:

  • Only use void fill to fill gaps between your packaging and products
  • Always ensure the box is the correct size so the void fill is not overused. 
  • Use different packing techniques to prevent products from moving around during transit. 

Optimise your packaging process with Titan Packaging 

Here at Titan we’re a dedicated group with shared values all centred around doing the right thing and putting people first, with packaging requirements a close second! We also understand that packaging can cost the customer and the planet more than it should, which is why we have worked with clients that want to improve their packaging sustainability.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can transform our packaging solutions.

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Written by: Anna Punch Sales Director

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