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Compare and Contrast of Packaging Materials

Essay by   •  May 19, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,057 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,407 Views

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In a society where recycling has become a national movement and where the rise in the cost of one aspect effects everything, finding the most cost effective way to package products is a must. Companies must figure out what type of packaging would be useful for their product and of the ones they can use, which will turn the most profit and cut their spending costs. There are numerous options to choose from when choosing packaging material. Some of them are: paper-based, plastic, steel, glass, and wood-based packaging. The most commonly used of them are paper, plastic, and wood-based. The best way to figure out which of the three is the best type of packaging material is to compare and contrast each and examine the advantages and disadvantages of each.

First, there is paper-based packaging. Paper-based packaging consists of folding cartons, paperboard cans, and corrugated fiberboard boxes. The most commonly used of them is the folding cartons. Paper packaging is biodegradable and recyclable, which makes it easy on the environment. Paper packaging can be made into almost anything to meet any company's needs easily. Using this type of packaging is very cost effective. It is also very environmentally friendly. The fibrous base of corrugated cardboard is ideal for recycling (Jack, n.d.). When recycled, paper packaging can be turned into things like presentation boards and moving boxes. Paperboard packaging is inherently positioned to make a significant impact on renewable, recyclable packaging that saves energy from production to shipment to storage, and then back again to the paper mill (Paperboard Packaging, n.d.).

With every advantage comes a disadvantage. The measures it takes to produce paper packaging can cause pollution. According to certain studies, manufacturing paper emits 80 percent more greenhouse gases and also results in the consumption of three times the amount of water (McGrath, Aug. 2008). Paper packaging is not weatherproof. In order for paper-based packaging to be durable, manufacturers must make the packaging with double walls. If water were to come in contact with it, the packaging would not be as durable and holds the possibility of damaging the contents.

Next, there is wood based packaging. This consists of wood crates, wood boxes, and wood pallets. Wooden crates and pallets are the most commonly used of the three. Wooden pallets are recyclable and are made from renewable resources. It has high friction and it is very strong and stiff in relation to their cost. Wooden crates can also easily be repaired if damaged (Wooden Pallets, n.d.). The purchase price of wooden crates is lower than most material which, in some cases, may offset the higher costs for the volume when transporting them (Wooden Crates, n.d.). It is also easier to produce and acquire wooden crates. Being that these wooden crates have to be nailed shut, the risk of unauthorized access to the product is decreased. Wood based packaging materials are recycled many times and when they are no longer fit for use, the parts are used to repair other wood based materials or they are turned into other by-products. Most wooden packaging materials have a high tolerance pressure making them good for staking and optimizing storage space.

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