Depending on the use of packaging material, the packaging for export product can be classified into the following categories:
1. Plastic Packaging
2. Paper based packaging
3. Combined Plastic and card board packaging.
4. Miscellaneous packaging
1. Plastic Packaging
The various kinds of plastic material are used for packaging of the export product. The most common plastic material used for packaging are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (pp). Polyethylene film has to main varieties of consumer packaging namely, low density polyethylene (PE-LD) film and high density polyethylene (PE-HD).
PE-LD film is used for making plastic bags, shrink wrapping and stretch wrapping. The film is very useful to provide protection against moisture and dirt. It does not however, provide any mechanical protection. The exporters can use the plastic bag made of PE-LD films for wrapping articles to package products like T-shirt, table cloth, napkins, leather hand bags etc. These products are placed inside the plastic bags which are transparent and are suited for retail display.
In shrink wrapping, a special treated film is loosely wrapped around the product(s) and then shrunk with heat to form a tight package. This kind of wrapping is suitable for solid products like sets of drinking glasses, a group of egg-cups, and sets of table mates and so on.
In stretch wrapping, a thin film is tightly wound around the product, Often in several layers. When the wrap is completed, the stretched films tries to return to its original size, thereby holding the product or group of product tightly in place.
PE-HD is also used for making plastic bags because it provides better resistance against moisture and fats than PE-LD. PE-HD is more expensive than the PE-LD Both the forms of plastic films are environment friendly as there fairly easy to recycle.
The PP films are stronger than the PE films. It is better to use bags made up PP films for packaging textile and garment as these can be printed or can be used in plain form as well. PP film are better than PP films in term of providing better moisture protection but these film are more expensive. Another alternative to PP films is Polyvinylchloride (PVC) material. But from environmental point of view, PVC materials should not be used as these are not recyclable.
Plastic boxes can be used especially as retail packages for jewellery and other small, precious products. They are also well suited to add appeal such as embroidered handkerchiefs or table clothes, souvenir dolls, etc. They come in square, oval or round shapes; printed or plan.
2. Paper Based Packaging
Paper based materials are used as wrapping as paper board cartoons or corrugated fiber board boxes. The various type of paper can be coated with plastic, Waxed or treated with anti corrosion agents. Paper is either produced from virgin wood fibers or recycled fibers. The former is stronger than the latter.
Paper wrappings provide protection against dust and light, but do not provide mechanical protection.
Paper absorbs moisture when the surrounding air is more humid than the paper, and it gives up moisture when the surroundings are drier. Thus, paper wrappings can be used to some extent as moister protection inside the package as well as to slow down the harmful effect of moister in the air. One should use tissue paper instead of newspaper to protect the surface of product.
Paper board folding cartons
Folding cartons made of different paperboard qualities can be used as retail packaging for verity of reasons. Folding cartoons are fairly economical; they can be shaped in almost unlimited number of ways; they can be printed very decoratively; properly designed cartons provide mechanical protection to products; they protect products against dust and light, and are easy to handle are retail shops. The most important property of such cartoons is their stiffness.
Paper board cans
The paper board can is a form of paper based retail packaging which is quite inexpensive and is use to pack different type of product. These cans can be lined inside with aluminum foil or plastic films to provide additional protection against humidity. Such cans are used for packaging toys, puzzle, games, tennis ball and other sports goods.
3. Combined plastic and card Board Packaging
There are three main types of packaging that combine paper board and plastic material. These are as follows:
1. Skin packaging.
2. Blister packaging and
3. Plastic bags with a paper board card.
These packages are used mainly for retail packaging of pens, small toys, gift item light weight souvenir articles. This type of packaging has several advantages: the product is visible through the plastic; the paperboard card can be printed to provide information and to add sales appeal; especially small products do not get lost or stolen easily.
Skin packaging is a form of packaging where the product is first placed on a paper board card with heat seal coating. It is suitable for products which need protection against moister and are not very heavy or expensive. It is however, not suitable for products which are sensitive to heat.
In this form of packaging, the product is first placed into a pre-formed plastic blister. Then a paper board card is attached to it. Blister packaging can be used for a variety of products such as toys, pens, textiles articles and decorations etc. It should not be used for those products which are too delicate as there is always some space for movement inside the blister. This might damage the delicate product.
Plastic bag with paper card
In this form of packaging, a paperboard card is attached to the plastic bags through a hole in the bag. This adds sales appeal to plain plastic bags and it always very cost effective. The paper board card can be printed on adding information and attraction. The plastic bags can be made of any materials but PP films should be preferred in the interest of better product presentation.
4. Miscellaneous Packaging
Exporter can make use of wood, textile, straw, leaves or any other locally available material for packaging of the goods. Specially made wooden boxes can be used to package traditional packaging is used as gift or retail package, It has to be made with as much care as the product itself. This means that it should be smooth, clean, dray, with any hinges or locks well made and functioning. It also important to pack the product with sufficient cushioning material into a wooden package, so that the product is not damaged during transport. Before using wood as packaging material, one should always check, there are any regulations concerning the treatment or certification of wooden materials.
Paperboard cartoon or boxes can be covered or lined with cloth to give them a more decent appearance. Bags made of jute, cotton, velvet or other fabric could be used for the packaging of product which do not need much protection. Baskets made of local material can also provide very attractive packaging for handicrafts products.