5 Things to Consider Before Reusing Packaging for Shipping Products

When you’re trying to run an online business that generates profits solely through shipping out products, trimming down your costs on packaging can help tremendously. However, trying to reuse packaging when it’s not designed for the purpose it is being used for can backfire and cause you to lose customers and money. Consider these five factors before deciding between ordering new packaging and reusing what’s on hand.

Look for Damage

Corrugated cardboard boxes need to be in perfect condition to properly protect the contents of your package. The box’s durability drops by up to 70% if there’s a tear, fold, crease, or other form of damage to the material. A slight wrinkle might not look serious, but it’s reducing the box’s ability to resist crushing and tearing.

Consider Specialty Materials

If you’re dedicated to the idea of reusing your shipping packaging, consider ordering boxes and envelopes specifically designed to handle the rigors of multiple uses. However, remember that you’ll spend more time on storing, collecting, and inspecting these containers than you would with single-use packaging.

Resize the Packaging

Using a box that is far too big for a product greatly increases the chances of damage. This isn’t a problem for companies that only ship a single product with a fixed size, but if you ship a variety of different products, you’ll likely end up having to cut down a box to resize it. Is it worth spending the extra time on resizing the box to save a little bit of money on packaging? For most companies, it’ll cost more to pay employees to reassemble packaging than doing so will save through reuse.

Remember Branding

Don’t forget that your packaging is a strong form of branding and advertising. If you’re collecting materials to reuse from other companies, you’re advertising their business instead of yours and sending a less than cohesive image to your customers. It’s easy to order brand-new packaging that is custom printed with your company’s logo and name, but adding similar branding to reused packaging takes a lot more effort and cost with wrapping and sticky labels.

Watch Out for Fraud

Finally, you may not know that it’s illegal to reuse some packaging used for mailing products. The boxes and envelopes that the United States Postal Service provides for free can’t be used for anything but the service marked on the packaging. Turning the materials inside out or covering them so you can mail them at a cheaper rate or with a different shipping company is a violation of federal postal law, even if the packaging has already been used once for its legal purpose.

For more information about packaging, visit sites like http://www.commonwealthinc.com.