What is Flexible Packaging?

Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging is a subcategory of packaging which consists of a variety of packaging products that are made with flexible or bendable materials. These flexible properties allow the package to readily change in shape when filled or closed.

Today, flexible packaging is used by many businesses to promote, ship, display, and protect their products. With technology advances flexible packaging has become more cost efficient and requires less material consumption in manufacturing. As a result, it has become a more favorable option over the years over alternatives such as rigid and corrugated packaging.

Here is a quick overview on flexible packaging:

flexible packaging infographic explanation

Flexible Packaging: What You Need To Know

With a variety of flexible packaging options to choose from, many packaging buyers need to know which type of packaging product is best for them. In this guide, we will help you understand the different types of materials used, packaging products, real life applications, and benefits in regards to flexible packaging.

Materials Used

The materials used to make your packaging plays a huge role in the packaging product you create, what you will use your packaging for, and the benefits that it will bring. We have narrowed down flexible packaging in these 5 most flexible packaging materials used:

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Polyethylene is the most commonly used type of plastic in the world. LDPE is a softer, clearer, and flexible plastic than HDPE. It is commonly used in bags or film applications where heat sealing is necessary. LDPE is corrosion resistant to acids, bases, and vegetable oils.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE contains chemical resistant properties which makes it ideal for many household cleaning supplies, poly mailers (flexible), detergents, bleach and other chemical products.

Polypropylene (PP)

PP is known to be the most durable type of plastic with superior heat resistant capabilities than others. It is an ideal packaging solution for warm food products packaging and storage, as the plastic can withstand direct heat. PP can retain its shape and form for a long time making it great for long shelf life products. 

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

PET, also sometimes called PETE, is a tough and clear plastic with moisture and gas barrier properties. PET is popular among many businesses including the food industry due to it being recyclable. It can be picked up at most recycling centers.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is a rigid type of plastic that is resistant to chemicals and weathering. It is amongst various industries as shrink film and other plastic products. PVC provides products with superior product protection and durability. 

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Packaging Products

Pouches

A pouch is a flexible packaging product made up of multiple layers such as a plastic barrier film, aluminum foil, barrier film or other materials. Pouches can come with many sizes, features, and styles. The most popular pouch styles include: stand-up, flat, side gusset, block bottom, stick pack, and sample packs. 

Ultimately, depending on your product will determine which product specifications you will select. However, pouches are generally limited to flexible materials such as PET, LDPE, and PP. 

Pouch Real Life Applications

Here are some real life applications of what pouches can be used for:

  • Food products: candy, snacks, supplements and nutrition, powders, beef jerky, and other food products.
  • Small clothing and accessories
  • Beverages: liquids and coffee beans
  • Cosmetics or beauty samples
  • Medical tyvek pouches

Roll Stock

Roll stock is a roll of laminated film. It can be several layers of material to accomplish the most adequate protection for your product while allowing the best print and sealing quality. Roll stock can be created with PET, LDPE, and PP materials.

Roll Stock Real Life Applications

Here are some real life applications of what roll stock can be used for:

  • Candy and nutritional bars
  • Chip bags
  • Other small individual food products
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Powder

Poly Bags

A poly bag also known as a plastic bag is a type of flexible packaging that is made with thin film. Like pouches, poly bags can be customized to size, features, and styles. The most popular poly bag styles include: flat, gusset, re-closable, tubing, and antistatic. These plastic bags are made with HDPE and LDPE material. 

Poly Bag Real Life Applications

To get a better picture of what poly bags used for, here are some real life applications:

  • Restaurant take out bags
  • Retail shopping bags
  • Small electronic components
  • Small industrial hardware
  • Produce bags
  • Magazine covers
  • Ice bags

Plastic and Bubble Mailers

Poly mailers also known as plastic mailers are lightweight and durable bags created to ship products. This type of mailer is self sealable with a foldover lip that does not require any tape, and shipping labels can be directly attached to the bag. For extra protection many businesses use bubble mailers.

Poly mailers are used in all industries to ship products to business partners or customers. They are primarily created with LDPE material.

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Benefits of Flexible Packaging

There are many reasons why packaging buyers choose flexible packaging. Often, they select this type of packaging because it is the most rational form of packaging for their products. This is because they understand the benefits and characteristics of flexible packaging and use it to exploit their advantages to help meet their business goals.

Here are some benefits of flexible packaging:

PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, and PP are all environmentally friendly and recyclable. Depending on your manufacturer’s capabilities and the materials you use, your package can become biodegradable or compostable. 

Flexible packaging is quite flexible in terms of customization. Many brands can add their logo, brand colors, product information and more onto their packaging. Structure and size of the package can be customized, designed and fitted to your products to help limit material consumption and costs.

In most cases, these types of packaging are a lot more flexible in storing and shipping as they can easily bend or lay flat. Many buyers find it quite valuable as they can fit more product and merchandise onto a pallet and truck than other forms of packaging. 

Many prefer to package their products in flexible packaging due to their characteristics and advantages. However, these advantages such as durability, strength, weight, and more will largely depend upon the material you select in creating your package.

Summary: What is Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging is a type of packaging that is made with material that is easily bendable and flexible. Due to the characteristics of flexible packaging, many businesses opt in to package their products in flexible products such as: pouches, poly bags, rolls, stock, and other items to be cost efficient, supply chain efficient, meet business goals, or other product specifications.

If you are interested in flexible packaging, then contact Brown Packaging today to get started.

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