If there’s one thing that is common across all ecommerce platforms, shipping methods, and fulfillment centers, it’s the classic cardboard box. Granted, packaging materials have come a long way in the last few decades, and most cardboard is made with post-consumer recycled material and further recyclable, too. However, 3M, one of the world’s biggest and most well-known companies, is offering something a little different that may change the shipping game forever.
The Problem with Packaging
Instant gratification is everywhere. You can order a phone charger, a bottle of shampoo, or even a diamond ring and have it delivered to your door the next day – and in some markets, even the same day. However, even though these products are all vastly different, they have one thing in common: they are likely to show up on your doorstep in cardboard boxes that are far too large for their contents and stuffed with filler. This creates a great deal of waste, and while much of that filler is recyclable, not everyone participates in recycling. This is a big problem for many areas where landfills are filling fast.
3M’s Ingenious Plan
3M, world-renowned materials company headquartered in Minnesota, has developed a brand-new packaging material that does not require tape or filler. While it is only suitable for objects weighing less than three pounds, the experts at 3M claim that 60% of all items shipped via ecommerce outlets meet this requirement. The product, called the Flex & Seal Shipping Roll, is designed to reduce many of the frustrations according with today’s packaging standards. This product can:
- Reduce the time spent packaging orders. Packing orders can take quite a bit of time with preparing boxes, filling them with the objects ordered, stuffing filler inside to keep the objects safe, and then sealing the boxes. With Flex & Seal, packers simply lay out a sheet of the product, lay the object inside, fold the product over the object, and press the edges to seal the object safely inside.
- Reduce the amount of required packaging materials. Instead of requiring a box and packing peanuts, crumpled paper, or bubble wrap, all that is needed to prepare a package with this innovative item is the Flex & Seal Shipping Roll and a pair of scissors. The product is designed with three layers of very unique plastic that protect and cushion the objects inside, too.
- Decrease the space needed for preparation. It is no longer necessary to keep a stack of boxes, rolls of tape, and tubs filed with filler material nearby to prepare an object for shipment.
Though companies like Target and Amazon are making huge strides in reducing excess packaging, the methods they use do very little to actually protect orders, which means they often arrive damaged. With this new option from 3M, which is waterproof, padded, and easy to use, it may very well replace cardboard boxes for about 60% of all the products shipped from ecommerce platforms in the future – especially if order and shipping fulfillment service providers catch wind.