Forms Plus Launch Flexi-Hex Eco-Friendly Packaging

Flexi-Hex Bottle Sleeves

Forms Plus are delighted to have partnered with our Cornish neighbours Flexi-Hex to add their stunning, protective packaging for the premium drinks market to our range of environmentally friendly packaging.

Last summer, you may remember we conducted an extensive research project to assess the levels of demand for more eco-friendly packaging amongst our customers, other e-commerce resellers and amongst consumers.  Our research told us overwhelmingly that both sellers and their customers see it as increasingly important that products are shipped in packaging that has minimal impact on the planet.  87% of European consumers are worried about plastic and claim to have changed their purchasing behaviour to favour brands who choose eco-friendly packaging.  This figure is even higher amongst 18-34 year olds. (European Commission 2019 and Green Alliance 2020). 

Located just a few miles from us, close to the sea in Porthleven, Flexi-Hex have created an innovative range of paper-based packaging that protects the planet, the oceans and of course your products. Their packaging is all 100% Plastic Free, Recyclable, Biodegradable and Compostable.  Using a patented, expandable, honeycomb design, Flexi-Hex provides superior protection around fragile products, as demonstrated by their bottle drop video.



The first Flexi-Hex products to be available through Forms Plus are their Pinch Top Boxes and Bottle Sleeves for shipping one, two or three bottles.  Not only do they protect the planet and ensure your drinks arrive safely, they also look great, improving the customer unboxing experience with their gift-like appearance. Benefits of Flexi-Hex bottle packaging include:

  • Superior protection against drops, atmospheric conditions, shock and vibrations
  • Impeccable environmental credentials – Plastic Free, Recyclable, Biodegradable and Compostable. Made from FSC Certified paper
  • Post-ready, quick and easy to assemble – the bottle slides in, in less than 20 seconds
  • Compact and cheap to store – each sleeve packs almost flat and can expand up to 35 times its original size
  • Lightweight to pack and despatch
  • Can be branded for you, either directly onto the box or via branded tape
  • “Instagram-worthy” design to get your products noticed and improve the unpacking experience

The Flexi-Hex bottle packaging products are just a part of our growing range of environmentally friendly packaging.  We also stock Enviroflute eco-padded envelopes, eco postal boxes, book wraps, board-backed envelopes and packing tape. All our products are now scored out of 5 on our website to show their environmental credentials. This indicates whether they are Recycled, Recyclable, Biodegradable, Plastic Free or made from Sustainable Materials.  Not surprisingly, the Flexi-Hex products all score 5/5. If you would like to find out more about how Forms Plus can help you switch to more sustainable packaging for your business, do get in touch

Sustainable Packaging – An Introduction

Enviroflute Paper Based Recyclable Padded Bags

At Forms Plus, we work hard to ensure our business decisions have a positive impact on the environment. Living and working in Cornwall, close to the sea and beautiful beaches, we are lucky to benefit from stunning natural surroundings. It is only natural then for us to take a look at the packaging products we sell, and make sure they are selected to be as eco-friendly as possible. 

Over the past few months, we have been researching environmentally friendly packaging options and looking into the claims made around packaging and the environment. This has helped us to see the best way to develop our range, making sure we both provide what our customers need and do the best we can for the environment.  97% of those of you who helped us with our research said that it was important both to you and your customers to use eco-friendly packaging, so we thought we would share some of that information with you to help you make well-informed decisions of your own.

Enviroflute Plastic Free Protective Packaging
We now sell Enviroflute plastic free protective envelopes

We thought we would start by explaining some of the terms we already use on our products’ ‘Eco Benefits’ listings. We chose to keep this simple and focus on five main terms:

Plastic Free -these products do not contain any plastics made from fossil fuels.  Instead, they use natural materials which will biodegrade easily, for example our new Eco Padded Envelopes from Enviroflute. 

Recyclable – this means that a certain percentage of the product’s materials must be able to be made into something else, usually via normal household recycling. Our cardboard Mailing Boxes can be totally recycled. Other products can be partially recycled, for example the paper part of our padded envelopes can be recycled, if separated from the plastic interior.   

Biodegradable – the material in these products is free from toxins and will be broken down safely and naturally by bacteria over time, so will not pollute the environment.  Our Paper Tape is a biodegradable alternative to standard polypropylene tape.

Sustainable Materials – sustainable products are made from materials that do not deplete or degrade the environment.  For example, the paper in our Padded Envelopes is sourced within the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification which means that the paper is made from well managed forests that will continue to support their local environment and population for years to come.

Recycled – if a product is listed as Recycled, it means that the materials it is made from have been used before. All our Mailing Bags  are made from 100% recycled material. Using recycled, rather than single-use materials, reduces landfill and cuts down on usage of raw materials.

Using these terms to rank our products, we have now launched our Eco Products Range – do click to have a look. 

There are also a host of other terms you will hear relating to packaging. A few of these are explained below:

Compostable Packaging Logo

Compostable – the material in these products will biodegrade but will do so into organic matter that not only breaks down but does so in such a way as to benefit the environment, improving soil health and acting as a fertiliser.

Plastic Free – many of the new products we are looking into adding to our range, are plastic free alternatives to products such as bubble wrap or polythene packaging. Our research shows that both Forms Plus customers and the public are keen to see plastic free packaging used whenever possible.  However, it is still very hard to find plastic free products that are as resilient, as protective, and as affordable as the plastic version, so we are also working on making sure all our products that do contain plastic have other eco-benefits. This includes being made from recycled plastic, being recyclable or made from biodegradable forms of plastic. 

Current plastic free options in our range include Cardboard Packaging, Board Backed Envelopes and Paper Tape.

Carbon Neutral – whilst once a real buzz word, our research showed that our customers and the public found Carbon Neutral the least interesting of the eco-benefits discussed. Carbon neutrality is normally achieved by offsetting the carbon produced in making products, by funding projects which protect and restore carbon-rich environments such as tropical rainforests. Closer to home, you can help cut carbon emissions by choosing packaging that is the right size for the items you are shipping, saving on vehicle space and emissions by using products such as Book Wraps or Postal Tubes rather than large boxes. 


Overall, our research showed that demand for eco-friendly packaging is on the rise, both from online sellers and from their customers.  In general, every reseller wants to use eco-friendly packaging. The challenge is to find the right products to protect whatever you are shipping to at least the level it is protected now, whilst maintaining costs that we can all bear. 

We are working hard to research and develop our range and will let you know when new items become available.  At this stage, we would like to thank those of you who completed our survey or took the time out for a phone interview with us.   We learned a great deal from talking to you.  In the meantime, if you have any queries about the eco-benefits of our products, or other suggestions to help us develop our environmentally friendly packaging range, do visit our Eco Products Range or get in touch.

 

10 Facts You May Not Know About the Humble Cardboard Box

Cat in a Cardboard Box

How has your recycling pile been this past 12 months? Yes, the wine bottle collection might be larger than usual, but we’d also predict you’ve been drowning in cardboard packaging!

Online shopping and home deliveries have led to unprecedented demand for cardboard boxes.  As reported by the BBC, e-commerce companies, including Forms Plus, have worked hard to source sufficient quality packaging to meet this demand.  Whilst we have always managed to supply what our customers need, it led us to pay closer attention to the humble cardboard box. Here are a few facts you may not know…

10 Facts you may not have known about cardboard boxes:

  1. Whilst paper has been around since around 2AD, cardboard as a packaging material was not really used industrially until 1817 when Sir Malcolm Thornhill made the first single skin cardboard boxes. 
    
  2. Corrugated cardboard was first developed as a way to make tall hats stand up straight, with a British Patent issued in 1856. About 15 years later, we start to see corrugated cardboard being used to make boxes stronger. It is made up of paper, fluting (the wavy bit!) and lining layers.  Different fluting levels are available, which determine how thick the box walls will be. 
    
  3. One reason for the current shortage of cardboard boxes, is that during lockdowns, people are tending to store packaging in their homes or garages, rather than take it to the recycling centre. As many of the packaging items we sell are made from recycled cardboard, this has led to shortages as the raw materials have been less available.
Postal Boxes 3
We stock a wide range of postal boxes and cardboard packaging
  1. Most cardboard boxes are made from softwood trees that have long fibres, such as pine, spruce and fir trees.  The type of tree used can impact the eventual colour of the box with trees from Scandinavia often producing darker brown cardboard than those from Brazil, which are light brown, or China, which are more yellow.  The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) helps take care of these forests and their stamp of approval indicates that the cardboard is from a well-managed forest.  Many of our products are FSC-certified. 
    
  2. “If it fits, I sits” – we all know cats love cardboard boxes, but why? Ethologist Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University has actually run some research with cats in an animal shelter. The findings suggested that cats stress levels were considerably reduced by providing them with a box to hide in, whatever size it was.     
If it fits, I sits
  1. Unlikely to go as viral as a cat meme, but a question we get asked all the time, Royal Mail PIP (Pricing in Proportion) box sizes may well be important to you when deciding on postal boxes, so here they are:

Royal Mail Box Sizes

Box SizeWeightLengthWidthDepth
Large Letter750g35.3cm25cm2.5cm
Small Parcel2kg45cm35cm16cm
Medium Parcel20kg61cm46cm
Large Parcel30kg1.5m
Royal Mail PiP Box Sizes – for more info visit the Royal Mail Website
For large parcels, length and depth combined must not exceed 3m

We stock a full range of PiP Royal Mail postal boxes.

  1. Cardboard packaging is currently the most environmentally friendly protective packaging solution on the market. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, recycled, recyclable and can be cut to the correct shape and size for your parcels to take up less space during shipping, saving on carbon emissions. 
    
  2. The UK has amongst the world’s highest recycling rates for packaging.  The latest figures available from DEFRA indicate that in 2017, 70% of UK packaging waste was either recycled or recovered, including 4.7 million tonnes of paper and cardboard.
  1. There are a few things to consider when choosing the right cardboard carton.  Apart from choosing the best size for your packages, you will also need to think about thickness.  Boxes are available in single or double wall. Double wall boxes add an extra layer of protection around your products, are more likely to stack without crushing and are better suited to fragile, heavy or valuable shipments.  They don’t weigh much more than single wall boxes, so are unlikely to add to postage costs. 
    
  2. The Kellogg brothers invented the first cardboard cereal box in the early 1900s, but originally the cereal was loose in the box and a heat-sealed wax bag was wrapped around the outside. These boxes are now collectors’ items and can sell for thousands of pounds

If you’d like to find out even more about cardboard boxes, visit our Cardboard Packaging pages or get in touch – or once we can travel again, you might want to visit the Cardboard and Printing Museum in Valreas in France (yes it exists!).

Featured Product – Grip Seal Bags

Narrow Grip Seal Bag for Packaging Small Items

This year, we will be using our blog to feature products from our ranges and highlight information that might help you make the best selection to meet your packaging and label needs. This month we are starting out with the humble grip seal bags.

Grip seal bags, also known as zip lock bags, are clear polythene bags with a simple grip lock closure at one end.  Simply pull open and push the two sides together to close the bag, making a robust seal.  As no adhesive is involved, the bags are resealable and reusable time and time again.  Therefore great for the environment. 

Available in 19 sizes from 37mm x 62mm up to 375mm x 500mm, grip seal bags are ideal for packaging all types of products. We have seen them used for everything from tiny earrings, craft items, electronics, vitamins, food products, fashion accessories, books and brochures and even clothing.

With an almost airtight seal, grip seal bags protect your products from moisture, odours or other contamination. If you are sending out something perfumed, they will also keep that smell contained, protecting the rest of the package.   

Ideal for sending out different quantities of smaller products, these small, clear pouches are also helpful for keeping your stock organised and speeding up your picking and packing process. 

At Forms Plus, we have focussed on quality when selecting our grip seal bags.  This means that the closure is sturdy and a good fit, opening and closing easily. They are fully reusable should your customers choose to keep their bags as storage, once the parcel is received. 

Our bags are made from 160 gauge/40-micron LDPE (low density polyethylene) which means they are strong, fairly heavy duty and less likely to be punctured.  They can also be recycled or reused. 

Do have a look at our range of grip seal bags and get in touch if you have any questions.  We think you’ll find them a versatile and cost-effective solution to sorting and protecting many of the items you send out.  We also had some fun choosing products to fill them with for our photoshoot!