Save money on packaging materials

By Tony Lam

  • SumoMe

To reduce shipping charge and packaging materials cost,  packaging  materials should be durable but light in weight while not expensive. A penny saved is a penny earned. It is worth thinking about how to save money on daily packaging materials.  Here is my tips and tricks for you.

Save money on packaging materials

1)      Free shipping supplies from USPS, FedEx and UPS

Check about what free materials you can get from the major forwarders and use them as many as possible.  Just go the USPS website and search the shipping suppliers for free items. Find those suitable for your products. However, remember to follow the usage rules as set  by USPS and don’t abuse them.  As to UPS and FedEx, I found their free shipping labels  are quite useful for me. Here list my suggestions for your consideration.

USPS – Flat Rate boxes, Flat Rate padded or non-padded envelopes, triangular mailing tubes for Priority and Express Mail

UPS  Worldship labels for Laser printers or thermal printers

FedEx Laser labels (Part number  146525)


2)      Recycle boxes/peanuts/bubble sheets/air pillows/wrap paper/shredded papers/newspaper

I didn’t receive a single complaint from my buyers about  re-cycled shipping boxes. I believe as long as your re-cycled boxes are clean and tough enough to protect the items. It should be fine.  When I received parcels  from suppliers, I always flatten the shipping boxes and keep all the packaging materials for re-use in my shipments.  If I don’t have the right size of box, I will trim the boxes with a knife to suitable size. I find it more easy and safe to control a serrated knife to trim a box than using a cutter. For some suitable gift boxes, I will unfold it inside out and  ship it again like Kari@ She Thrifts. Or you may ask your friends to keep some bubble sheets, air pillows and wrap paper for you. As suggested by plugcottage, it is no harm to ask for a Dollar store nearby  for the peanuts and bubble wraps since they always unpack newly arrived goods .

3)      Compare price for the bulk purchase from eBay, Amazon, Walmart, Uline.

To save money on packaging materials, you can buy them in bulk with optimized shipping charge. The optimized unit price is the total price (shipping plus material) divided by the total quantity. For example, when I buy #1 bubble mailer, the unit price is much cheaper when I bought 200 pcs or 250 pcs when comparing with 500 pcs or 1000 pcs. My research shows that overall, eBay offer the most competitive price for most of my mailing bags. You may try my method of finding the cheapest price from a reliable supplier at eBay.

Packaging Material Cost $/pc Package Total Price $ (with shipping) Vendor
24″x24″ poly mailer 2.8 mil




24”x24” poly mailer #7




6 x 10 bubble mailer #0




6.5 x 10 bubble mailer





Below is my favorite vendors for packaging materials.

eBay – Bubble mailers, poly mailers, bubble sheets, Fragile labels.

Walmat – peanuts

Uline – Circular mailing tubes, corrugated boxes


4)      Looking  for special sales or promotion offers to save money

Some retailers such as Quill, Office Max , or Office depot, they will mail you discount coupons in a regular basis if you register at their website or stores.  You can use the coupons to buy boxing tapes,  tape guns, stationary or packaging labels.  Also, near the end of the year, Uline has a super carton sale for almost all sizes of corrugated boxes at 39%  off  for a minimum order quantity of 100 pcs. This year, the carton sale offer just started and will end on 1/13/13. You can purchase the items using this special promotion code is #SP322.


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