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Honeycomb packaging: from bees to bags

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Design
Innovation

There’s a buzz around honeycomb packaging — and for good reason.

Inspired by beehives, honeycomb packaging offers brands durability and sustainability in one neat solution. For them, it’s the perfect match: packaging that delivers effective protection but doesn’t cost the earth.

And for the planet, it’s the perfect match too: lightweight paper packaging that’s easy on emissions and is completely recyclable.

In this article, we dive into the wonders of honeycomb packaging, how it can benefit your business and explore a few of its many forms, including honeycomb wrapping paper.

What is honeycomb packaging?

Honeycomb packaging is any paper packaging that uses a honeycomb structure, in the same way as a beehive. It’s this exact hexagonal honeycomb shape that gives honeycomb packaging its name. Only in honeycomb packaging, that structure is made of durable kraft paper — not honey. Good news for your product.

As honeycomb paper packaging is defined by this structure, it isn’t really a single type of packaging but a category. For example, there are honeycomb paper mailer bags and there is also honeycomb wrapping paper.

3 benefits of honeycomb packaging

1. Efficiency and strength

One of honeycomb packaging's biggest strengths is, well, its superior strength. More specifically, it’s that honeycomb packaging is both incredibly durable and lightweight.

And — as you may have guessed — it’s all down to its hexagonal cells. As your product goes through the trials and tribulations of shipping (think bumps, rough handling and heavy packages), each honeycomb unit acts as a tiny shock absorber. In turn, they cushion your product and reduce the risk of damage during transit. All of which avoids breakages, replacement costs, returns and customer complaints.

What’s even better is that you can achieve all of that without the need for plastic bubble lining or void fill. It’s plastic-free protection at its best.

2. Tailored protection

If you’re shipping fragile goods like ceramics, adding extra protection is often a good idea. And luckily, this is where honeycomb packaging excels. Most manufacturers can customise the hexagonal structure and density of honeycomb packaging to precisely fit your product. This ensures a secure and snug fit, minimising the risk of movement during transit even further and protecting goods from potential damage.

If you don’t need the deluxe protection of custom honeycomb packaging, you can opt for standard honeycomb packaging which you can brand as well. As we’ve said, this is still a more than durable option and a great replacement for plastic bubble wrap packaging.

3. Embrace sustainability

Honeycomb packaging is made from kraft paper, which means it’s made from a renewable resource. Choosing this type of packaging means less finite resources are produced and used. A tick for sustainability.

It also means honeycomb packaging is (nearly always) fully recyclable, allowing your customers to play their part in tackling climate change. Add honeycomb packaging’s low weight that helps to reduce shipping emissions and you get a final product that is built for brands who care about the environment.

A bonus for honeycomb packaging is that it can be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is the gold standard for responsible forestry, and choosing FSC-certified packaging is a clear signpost to your customers that you’re taking active steps to reduce your impact.

It is worth saying, however, that not all paper honeycomb packaging is FSC-certified. We always recommend looking out for the FSC label to make sure your packaging is certified or asking your supplier.

And, sadly, not all honeycomb packaging is plastic-free either. Whilst the majority of honeycomb packaging is (like our honeycomb paper mailer bags), some suppliers may combine honeycomb paper packaging with plastic components. It’s rare, but do watch out as this may affect how you dispose of your packaging and what you can tell your customers.

Honeycomb wrapping paper

As the name suggests, honeycomb wrapping paper is wrapping paper with a honeycomb pattern, made by joining lots of individual bands of kraft paper together. It may seem like a small difference, but it allows the wrapping paper to expand as you wrap it. This creates the 3D honeycomb structure that protects your product, all whilst having the flexibility of normal wrapping paper.

Honeycomb wrapping paper is mostly used as a more sustainable option than plastic bubble wrap or void fill, for products from cosmetics to wine bottles. And as it only expands on use, it takes up much less space than bubble wrap, foam peanuts and the like.

How to use honeycomb wrapping paper

Honeycomb wrapping paper is just as easy to use as normal wrapping paper, with a few small differences. Here’s how to wrap the right way:

1. Measure: Measure the dimensions of the item you want to wrap to determine how much honeycomb wrapping paper you'll need.

2. Cut: Use scissors or a box cutter to cut your honeycomb paper wrapping to the desired size. Make sure it is slightly larger than your item for proper coverage.

3. Wrap (carefully): Gently wrap the material around your item, ensuring that it covers all sides. For extra protection, consider double-wrapping fragile items.

4. Secure: Use tape to secure the honeycomb wrapping paper in place, ensuring it stays snug around the item.

5. Pack with confidence: Once your item is securely wrapped, place it in a mailer box or shipping box. You’re now ready to ship!

A more sustainable future

From honeycomb wrapping paper to honeycomb mailer bags, honeycomb packaging is a great example of yet another more sustainable alternative in the packaging industry. And being recyclable, made from paper, lightweight, durable and more, it meets a wide range of needs for brands looking to protect their products and our planet. In short: it’s smart packaging.

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