In the packing and shipping world, we’ve come a long way since the days of Styrofoam peanuts. However, with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, there’s been a push for cost-effective, and more biodegradable materials. As always, space is as much as a concern as eco-friendliness, and so even bubble wrap has its caveats in our industry. Bubble wrap tends to mean larger boxes and larger boxes means higher shipping costs and more fuel usage.

The Simplicity of Polyurethane

Courtesy of Instapak, foam-in-bag systems have been on the rise in shipping ever since their introduction. The real magic of foam is its ability to shape itself and take on any form. Whether applied to an electronic device or an archaeological artifact, foam easily imprints on the object it’s cushioning, filling in voids. Because foam originates as a liquid, it is exceptionally easy to store in our warehouses, too. Compared to packing peanuts, there’s no reason not to be enamored with it.

The Chemistry: from Liquid to Solid

What do you get when you mix polymeric isocyanate and polyurethane resin? Thankfully, this isn’t a chemistry quiz—but it is something to Google over. When these two chemicals collide, they expand proportionate to the amount of reagent. Once the chemistry is done, the foam solidifies (though this may require physical pressure, in some cases).

The process of foaming is conducted at one of our Instapak systems. With a box or carton in hand, an operator lines the container with a sheet of Instamate film. The dispenser then draws up its two chemical ingredients, mixes them up, and fills the container with the puffy perfection of foam.

The Modernized Cardboard Container

Whether you’re shipping gadgets, or janitorial products in Bucks County, PA or elsewhere, you’re probably doing so with cardboard. The cons of wooden packaging are as clear as a splinter in your finger. Today, we rely on cardboard because it is lighter, cost-effective, and safer. As a general rule, the more folds or cuts in your cardboard box, the more protective it is for packaging. Paired with expanding foam, it allows us to ship to Montgomery County, PA and across the country without a single scratch or dent.