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Paper vs Polythene Packaging Void Fill. The Pros & Cons.

By 13/02/2020August 13th, 2021No Comments

The Pros and Cons of Packaging Void Fill. 

Paper & Polythene Void fill is becoming more critical than ever for e-commerce traders. With the rise of the online store, it is vital to ensure the product arrives with the customer in perfect condition. That is why online traders need to bear in mind the importance of product security during the packaging process. What is one way to assure this? Packaging Void Fill.

As there are many different types of void fill, choosing the wrong void fill could have consequences on how well your product is equipped to survive transit. But, more importantly, if your choice of void fill does not protect the contents inside, it is certain this would harm your brand’s perception. Ultimately, this could stop clients coming back to you. Consequently, choosing which type of void fill to use could hugely impact your business’ persona.

In the world of packaging, there are two primary materials for packaging void fill – paper and polythene. Therefore, in this blog, we will discuss all the various types of void fill that fall into these categories and their pros and cons!

Our first void fill, is Packaging Peanuts.

As they are mostly made up from polythene foam (or as other now it as Styrofoam) – this void fill certainly falls into the plastic category. Manufacturers and retailers have used Packaging Peanuts for decades. But, due to the alarming news that Styrofoam could be carcinogenic, many companies have begun banning the material.

However, to also stop the pollution of plastics in the ocean, environmentally friendly packaging peanuts – made from material such as corn starch and recycled paper – are also available. But there has been a reluctance to begin using these materials due to their expense.

Packaging Peanuts Void Fill


  • Useful for rapidly filling up excess space.
  • Offer necessary protection for goods.
  • Affordable
  • There is also the option for reuse.


  • Packaging Peanuts require a lot of storage space in a warehouse.
  • Contribute to plastic pollution.
  • Environmentally friendly options are more expensive
  • Hard to recycle.
  • They are said to take over 500 years to biodegrade.
  • Not suitable for fragile items.
  • Have been known to annoy customers in the unboxing experience.

The customer’s favourite – Bubble Wrap

Just like our previous void fill, bubble wrap is one of the most widely used packaging supplies. Certainly, a favourite as it can be burst, bubble wrap offers manufacturers and retailers a protective layer for fragile items.

Again, as a result of the overuse of plastic, alternatives to bubble wrap are slowly becoming available. Paper bubble wrap offers the same level of protection but is environmentally friendly. However, due to original bubble wrap popularity, plastics counterparts still dominate the shelves.

Bubble Wrap Void Fill


  • Endless fun for kids (and adults!) Who doesn’t love popping the bubbles?
  • Affordable.
  • Bubble Wrap offers a sufficient level of protection for fragile items.
  • Reusable.
  • Doesn’t add to much bulk to a package, if wrapped correctly.
  • Very versatile. Ideal for interleaving, wrapping and cushion breakable items.


  • Recyclable and Biodegradable options are not readily available as of yet.
  • Large rolls can take up a lot of space within a warehouse.
  • Hard to recycle.

The newest kid on the block – Air Packaging.

Air Packaging - Ribtec

Not so long ago, we wrote a blog describing air packaging, it perks and how it could benefit your business. So, if you’re unsure what, exactly air packaging is, check it out!

Air-based void fill usually comes in the form of a plastic polythene bag that needs to be inflated by a machine. The compressed air either suspends the item in the bag or (and most often) used as a cushioning around a fragile item.

Here at Eastpac, we supply a unique form of air packaging – Ribtec. Designed with e-commerce traders in mind, Ribtec, which is part of our Securapac range, is becoming one of our most successful and popular items. Acting as an ideal buffer to prevent a hard impact. Available in a wide range of sizes, Ribtec is effective with all different types of product delivery.


  • Recyclable options are available.
  • Air packaging is lightweight – which helps with shipping costs.
  • Saves storage as they can be stored uninflated.
  • Compared to packaging peanuts and shredded paper, it is not messy.


  • Needs other machinery to inflate
  • Not fit for bulky items or anything with sharp edges.

The traditional Paper

Paper Void Fill

We often use Paper Packaging supplies to both wrap items or as cushioning. Whether that be crinkled or balled up, paper void fill comes in many different colour, weights and thicknesses. From colourful tissue, practical butcher to multi-functional newsprint – paper certainly offers an environmentally friendly solution.

Just think of your traditional chippy or antique fair, what do they wrap everything up in? Paper. It is a versatile packaging material which is why it has been so popular for all these years.

One of the most popular paper packaging void fill is crinkled paper. Mostly shredded cardboard or paper, the long strips of confetti are sprinkled in the box for decorative purposes.


  • Easy to customise and use for branding purpose. Perfect for retailers.
  • The best option in terms of recyclability.
  • Various recyclable options.
  • Doesn’t take up more storage space.
  • Crinkle paper adds a bit more fun to a box (especially for kids!).


  • Can be expensive (depending on the quality of paper).
  • A lot of material is needed to provide decent protection due to compression.
  • Can add significant weight to a container.
  • Paper does not offer full protection.
  • Crinkle paper can annoy customers as it is messy.

So, what should I be using? Paper or Polythene packaging void fill?

Overall, there isn’t one solution to the debate.

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t definitive, and although environmental awareness is undoubtedly growing, you shouldn’t dismiss polythene straight away!

Companies don’t have to sacrifice on quality or your green credentials when opting for a plastic packaging solution as there are plenty of durable, environmentally conscious options available. However, before making the decision, every avenue must be explored to prevent less product waste heading to landfill or the ocean.

But, do keep in mind, for e-commerce traders, your packaging is often the first physical point of contact between your customer and yourself. Therefore, the unboxing experience needs to please the consumer in regards. Don’t let a damaged product but them off coming back to you.

So, if you’re looking for an effective way to ensure your goods arrive at their destination in perfect condition – let Eastpac help.