Boxes vs Bags: What’s the Best Packaging Option

Posted on

Derrick Lin


Le Parcel 2015 Packaging System designed by Seven Fifty Five

Written by Joe Hickman. Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging and writer for Packaging of the World.

Not sure whether cardboard or paper is the best packaging solution for your needs? Here are a few ways to narrow down the search:

When it comes to choosing a packaging material it can be a difficult decision between using cardboard or paper, so which is best?

‘Best’ will be largely dependent on what type of items you need packaging. Things like weight, size and texture play a huge part in selecting the best packaging. To help make this decision easier for you, we’ve put together a quick comparison of these two types of packaging.

Similarities between Cardboard and Paper Packaging
Unsurprisingly, cardboard and paper share a lot of traits that make them a good option for a variety of packaging needs. A shortlist of these benefits include:

  • • Recyclable and eco-friendly – both products are biodegradable and widely recyclable, helping to minimise the damage to the environment.
  • • Inexpensive – generally paper tends to be cheaper than cardboard, but both of these products are less expensive than other alternatives.
  • • Wide range of shapes, sizes and designs – there are a huge range of possibilities with both types of packaging, giving you a vast scope for tailoring your packaging.
  • • Completely customisable – both these materials lend themselves well to print, making it as easy as possible to customise your packaging.
  • • Available worldwide – as these are common materials, finding packaging suppliers near you should be relatively easy.

Despite all these similarities, these are still two very different solutions and should therefore be treated separately. If you’re looking for an affordable, lightweight, eco-friendly packaging material then you’re looking in the right area, here are the key differences:

Paper and Cardboard Differences
Cardboard has more ‘give’ in it thanks to air pockets acting as cushioning, making it more suitable as a tertiary packaging option as it protects the products during transport. This is vital if you ship your products in bulk, however it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing packaging and can put some buyers off – especially at a consumer level.

Paper packaging is best used as a primary packaging solution, especially for food items, as things like block bottom paper bags can help to maximise your products visual appeal. This is great for display items and makes them stand out on the shelves.

One of the main differences you’ll find is that paper packaging is much lighter and allows for a wide range of customisation. This means that they will typically help to keep costs low, while the possibilities for your marketing efforts are endless thanks to custom printed packaging.

Cardboard is also quite limited when it comes to small sizing, whereas paper packaging can allow for a much greater selection of sizes. If you’re looking to diversify your products with more options in terms of quantity this is an ideal solution.

More types of paper
Arguably the biggest difference between paper and cardboard is the types of paper available, making it highly suited for food packaging purposes. The varieties of paper designed for use with food stuffs includes:

Whyte & Mackay. New York Limited Edition designed by Egor Myznik
  • • Kraft paper – a strong paper that has been treated to be suitable for food products, this material is typically used when packaging flour, sugar, coffee and tea.
  • • Greaseproof paper sheets – these are oil and grease resistant paper that’s brilliant for wrapping items like snack foods, deli meats, cookies and other oily foods.
  • • Glassine paper – this is a great lining paper for very greasy products like fast foods and baked goods.
  • • Parchment paper – best suited for packaging products such as butter, lard and soap due to the surface being impervious to water and oil.

All these variations makes paper packaging a clear winner for a wide range of products, however there will be some products that are far more suited to cardboard or even film and plastic packaging. If you’re looking for advice on the best material to use then talk to Charlotte Packaging today. As food packaging suppliers with years of experience, we can offer expert advice based on your products and requirements. Talk to a member of our friendly team today to find out more.

About the author
Joe Hickman is the Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging. Charlotte Packaging is a family run business with over 40 years of experience in the packaging industry. They are specialists in providing custom printed plastic and paper packaging to both local and international companies.