Back to top

Types of Packing Materials and Their Uses

Conventional packing materials come in different types and serve various roles in packaging, such as primary, secondary, and tertiary functions. Their primary function encompasses the initial layer, safeguarding individual products from potential damage. In turn, the secondary function of packing materials is to transport goods contained within primary packages. At the same time, their tertiary function is to facilitate the shipment of products enclosed in secondary packaging, commonly in warehouses. Here are the different types of packing materials and their respective functions.


This packing material is highly versatile and recognized for its lightweight, flexible nature, capable of forming packaging in diverse shapes and sizes. You can use it to pack rigid materials such as bottles, jars, and tubs and hold materials such as detergents, drinks, and more. Plastic can also be used inside other types of packaging, such as bubble packaging. Since it is lightweight, affordable, and durable, it can protect products during shipping. Also, it can serve as a binding material in tape form.


Its nonporous, nontoxic properties characterize it, and it is usually sourced from sand. However, one of its downsides is that it is heavier than plastic and may break during transit. As such, it requires extreme care when packaging and shipping products.

Products with high value are still packaged in glass containers because of their aesthetic appeal and because they preserve food and drink flavor without leaching particles into them. Glass is a preferred packaging material for the following reasons:

  • It can be sterilized
  • High recycle value
  • Transparency makes the product inside clearly visible
  • Protects the product from moisture and gas
  • Its tamper-resistant
  • Glass is a popular choice for packaging agencies because of all these functions.


This type of material is made from renewable resources such as pulp from wood. Packing paper can be layered to offer added protection to the items it encases. This type of material is preferred for packing because it's affordable and is recyclable.


Various types of metal-based packaging materials are available on the market, typically composed of stainless steel, aluminum, and tinplate. Cans can be made of steel or aluminum to store food. Nonetheless, metal cans that pack acidic food may be susceptible to corrosion.

Currently, progressive manufacturers make metal packages with recyclable materials layered with organic material to prevent contact between the food and the metal. Metal packing materials serve the following functions.

  • Prevent products like food from spoiling
  • Steel drums can ship large quantities of liquids
  • It can pack diverse products such as paint and foodstuff
  • It's temperature tolerant and highly recyclable


Although paperboard is less substantial than cardboard, it's more robust than traditional paper packaging. It makes an excellent choice for packaging materials because it's easily shaped. Paperboard is often used as the primary packaging for TV dinners, cereals, and crackers. It's a highly recyclable and affordable packing material that offers more protection than paper.

Corrugated Fiberboard

Most manufacturers make it from fluted corrugated sheets and one or two flat liner boards. It's a preferred choice for shipping because of its enhanced protective qualities. You can use corrugated fiberboard to ship fragile products that need extra protection, like electronics or mirrors.

Bubble Packaging

This is a flexible plastic sheet with air-filled bubbles that stand out from its surface. It's used as a cushioning material within the packaging and as a wrap to encircle the product. The sheet is used to pack fragile goods such as ceramics and glass to protect them from damage during shipment. Bubble packaging is available in various sizes and thicknesses, and its primary function is to provide shock and vibration isolation, protecting the product from damage.


This is a type of plastic made from petroleum polymers. Polythene is one of the most durable, inexpensive, and chemically resistant plastics. These plastic sheets are great for insulating products against heat and are particularly suitable for frozen foods and other perishable items that need temperature control.

Any packing material you choose will depend on your items and your needs. Pak Mail offers custom crating services and other packing supplies if you plan to do it yourself. Our packing experts are ready and happy to help you choose from our wide array of packing and moving materials.

See All Blog Posts