A Comprehensive Guide to Commonly Used Packaging Material

In today’s competitive market, the packaging of a product plays a crucial role in its success, making it essential to choose the right materials to protect, preserve, and showcase your goods. With so many options available, it can be hard to know which packaging material is right for your product.

In this comprehensive guide, we aim to provide a helpful overview of some of the most commonly used materials and techniques employed in today’s market. As manufacturers, wholesalers, or trade show exhibitors, you’ll gain valuable insights into the world of packaging, ensuring your products stand out from the crowd. So, join us as we delve into the various types of materials available, and learn how to make the best packaging decisions for your business.

Selecting the right packaging material is crucial for businesses, as it can significantly impact the product’s protection, transportation, and presentation. When choosing a suitable material, there are several factors to consider, such as durability, cost, sustainability, and appearance. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of commonly used packaging materials, their benefits and drawbacks, to help businesses make informed decisions about their packaging needs.

One of the main benefits of cardboard and paper-based packaging is that they are lightweight, which can help reduce shipping costs. They are also easily customizable, allowing for unique designs and branding opportunities. Additionally, these materials are recyclable, making them an environmentally friendly choice for businesses looking to minimize their carbon footprint.

However, there are some drawbacks to using cardboard and paper-based packaging materials. They may not be suitable for heavy or fragile items that require additional protection, and they can be susceptible to moisture damage. Despite these limitations, cardboard and paper-based packaging materials remain popular choices for a wide range of applications due to their many advantages.

Plastic Packaging

Plastic packaging is widely used due to its durability, lightweight nature, and versatility. It is available in various types including polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, and PET. Each type has its unique characteristics, making them suitable for different applications and industries.

One of the main benefits of plastic packaging is its durability, which ensures that products are protected during transportation and handling. Its lightweight nature also helps to reduce shipping costs, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to minimize expenses. Additionally, plastic packaging can be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes, allowing for a high degree of customization to suit specific product needs.

In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on sustainability and reducing plastic waste. As a result, recycled plastic packaging has gained popularity as a more eco-friendly alternative. Recycled plastic packaging is made from post-consumer or post-industrial plastic waste, reducing the need for virgin plastic production.

Using recycled plastic packaging offers several benefits. Firstly, it helps to reduce the demand for new plastic production, conserving natural resources and reducing carbon emissions associated with plastic manufacturing. Additionally, it diverts plastic waste from landfills, contributing to a more circular economy.

Recycled plastic packaging can be just as durable and versatile as traditional plastic packaging. It can be molded into various shapes and sizes, providing businesses with the flexibility to create custom packaging solutions. Furthermore, it can be recycled again at the end of its life cycle, closing the loop and minimizing waste.

Glass Packaging

Glass packaging has long been favored for its aesthetic appeal and ability to preserve the quality of products. It is commonly used for food and beverage items, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Glass packaging offers several advantages, such as being inert, impermeable, and recyclable.

One of the main benefits of glass packaging is its ability to preserve the product’s freshness and taste. It is impermeable to gases and liquids, ensuring that the contents remain uncontaminated. Glass is also inert, meaning it does not react with the product, ensuring its integrity and purity.

Glass packaging is highly sustainable as it is 100% recyclable. It can be endlessly recycled without losing its quality, making it an environmentally friendly choice. Additionally, glass packaging is considered premium and can enhance the perceived value of a product.

However, glass packaging has a few drawbacks that businesses should consider when choosing their packaging materials. Glass is heavier and more fragile compared to other packaging materials such as plastic or cardboard. This can increase shipping costs and pose a higher risk of breakage during transportation.

Metal Packaging

Metal packaging is a popular choice for products that require a high level of protection and durability. The most commonly used metals in packaging include aluminum, tinplate, and steel. Each of these materials offers unique properties and benefits for various applications.

Aluminum is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and offers excellent barrier properties, making its ideal for beverage cans, aerosols, and food containers. Tinplate, a thin layer of tin-coated steel, is frequently used for food cans, preserving the contents and maintaining freshness over extended periods. Steel, on the other hand, is often used in industrial packaging due to its strength and durability.

One of the main advantages of using metal packaging is its recyclability, as it can be easily melted down and reused for other products. This makes metal packaging a more sustainable option compared to some other materials. Additionally, metal packaging is known for its ability to maintain the freshness of products, as it provides a robust barrier against external factors such as light, air, and moisture.

At Universal Package we specialize in custom metal racking and cart systems that can be utilized to help with manufacturing processes, storage and transportation of your products.

Biodegradable Packaging

Biodegradable packaging materials are gaining popularity as businesses and consumers alike become increasingly concerned about their environmental impact. These packaging options are designed to break down naturally over time, reducing waste and contributing to a more sustainable future. Some common types of biodegradable packaging include PLA (polylactic acid), starch-based materials, and molded pulp.

PLA, derived from plant-based resources like cornstarch, offers a biodegradable alternative to traditional plastic packaging. Starch-based materials, made from renewable resources such as corn, potatoes, and tapioca, also provide an eco-friendly packaging solution. The molded pulp, created from recycled paper and cardboard, is often used for packaging fragile items and can be easily composted after use.

The benefits of biodegradable packaging are numerous, with the primary advantage being its reduced environmental impact. By choosing these materials, businesses can help decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills and lower their overall carbon footprint. Additionally, biodegradable packaging can enhance a brand’s image by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Despite these advantages, there are some considerations to bear in mind when selecting biodegradable packaging. Often, these materials come with a higher price tag compared to traditional packaging options. Moreover, the durability of biodegradable packaging can be limited, making it unsuitable for certain products or applications. It is essential to carefully assess whether biodegradable packaging is the most appropriate choice for your specific needs, taking into account factors such as product type, shelf life, and transportation requirements.

Choosing the Right Packaging Material for Your Product

When selecting the best packaging material for your product, it’s crucial to assess the specific requirements of the item. Consider factors such as weight, fragility, and perishability. Each product may have unique needs, and it’s essential to choose a packaging material that addresses these requirements while providing adequate protection during transportation and storage.

In addition to meeting your product’s specific needs, take into account the environmental impact and sustainability of the packaging material. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the ecological footprint of their purchases, and businesses should strive to minimize the environmental impact of their packaging. Balancing cost and quality is also essential in determining the most suitable packaging for your product. Evaluate the long-term value of investing in higher-quality materials that provide better protection and durability, potentially reducing waste and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Customized Packaging Solutions with Universal Package

With a wide range of materials and options available, Universal Package can create customized packaging solutions tailored to your unique requirements. Although we do not specialize in all of these types of packaging, our extensive selection allows us to cater to various industries and product types, ensuring that your packaging not only protects your product but also enhances its overall appeal.

Personalized design and branding for your packaging play a significant role in establishing your brand identity and setting your product apart from the competition. Universal Package offers custom design services to create visually appealing protective packaging that reflects your brand and stands out from the competition. We also provide a variety of standard packaging solutions for customers seeking more straightforward options.

In partnering with Universal Package, you can trust that your packaging will be of the highest quality, durable, and environmentally friendly, while also being cost-effective. Our commitment to providing exceptional packaging solutions ensures that your product is well-protected and presented in the best possible way, ultimately contributing to your business’s success.


As we’ve explored in this comprehensive guide, choosing the right packaging material for your product is crucial for ensuring its protection, preserving its quality, and making a positive impact on the environment. By considering factors such as durability, cost, sustainability, and appearance, you can make informed decisions about the best packaging materials for your unique needs.

At Universal Package, we understand the importance of customized and standard packaging solutions that cater to various industries. Our expert team is ready to guide you through the process of selecting and designing the perfect packaging solution for your business.

Don’t leave the success of your product up to chance – trust in our wide range of materials, options, and personalized design services to elevate your packaging game. Get in touch with us at Universal Package today and let us help you make the best packaging choices for your products.