Packaging

Cardboard Box Alternative: 3M Flex & Seal

Cardboard box alternatives look to both reduce packaging materials and create supply chain efficiencies. 3M enter the market with Flex & Seal.

US-based company 3M has entered the sustainable packaging market with a cardboard box alternative released as ‘3M Flex & Seal’.

Cardboard boxes are generally regarded as a sustainable option. The lack of flexibility in sizing, however, results in a significant amount of additional packaging materials used.

How often do you receive an item in a large cardboard box with either bubble wrap or polystyrene used to fill the dead space? These materials do an excellent job in preventing items from bouncing around; however, they immediately find themselves being disposed of by the end consumer.

3M Flex & Seal cardboard box alternative requires no tape or no filling materials, with the packaging creating a customised fit around any product. The material is made up of three layers:

  1. Outside protective layer- tear and water-resistant
  2. Middle cushioning layer- similar to bubble wrap
  3. Internal sealing layer- self-adhesive to seal package without tape

Alongside reducing packaging materials required, the most significant upside of a cardboard box alternative is the substantial efficiency improvements in the supply chain. Items packaged in 3M Flex & Seal will take up much less space in trucks and planes compared to the same thing wrapped in a cardboard box.

Scale this across the entire eCommerce sector, the potential reduction in emissions would be significant.

A crucial further call-out here would also be the potential financial upside. With logistics companies using volumetric weight to determine shipping rates, the reduction in the size of the package as a result of this cardboard box alternative will reduce costs.

The release is scheduled for August, initially directly via the 3M website.

Source: Fast Company

Further Reading: Reusable Packaging: The Sustainable Future. Read More