Differences Between Packaging and Packing

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Proper packing is essential during shipment of goods.
Proper packing is essential during shipment of goods. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Although people often use the terms "packaging" and "packing" interchangeably, they actually refer to different things. They both involve products in a related manner; hence the source of the confusion. Both packaging and packing help in the safe shipment of products so they do not get damaged during shipment. However, they involve different aspects of protecting the products.

Packaging

Packaging is the process of wrapping products with special material. Products can be packaged either individually or in sets. In addition to protecting the products during shipping, packaging helps to make the products more presentable to the customers. Different materials are used to package different types of products. Different products or goods are enclosed in different packages to offer the best protection and convenience. Generally, products should be packaged separately so they do not knock against one another.

Packaging Materials

A variety of materials can be used to package products, including boxes, which help in creating sturdiness. At least some type of protective layer is used to offer more safety. Packaging material must have good barrier properties for it to function effectively. This material is also often referred to as packaging. There is an increasing trend toward the use of recycled material for packaging, which can be used even in packaging food products without compromising them in any way. There is also more interest in the use of biodegradable products to enhance a greener environment.

Packing

Packing, on the other hand, is the process of placing the items that have already been packaged into larger containers for shipping. Packaging is very important before packing products because the larger cartons can be handled roughly in addition to being loaded and offloaded a number of times. If the products are not packaged well inside the carton, they can rub against one another and get damaged. Extreme weather conditions may also affect them. A common problem involves moisture. Products should be completely dry before being packed.

Protecting Products During Packing

When packing products, provide extra cushioning by using such things as plastic bubble wrap, paperboard structures, air cushion plastic boards, corrugated fiberboard pad and shredded or crushed paper. However, it is not a good idea to use newspaper except when the products are already wrapped well in other materials. The ink used in printing can transfer to the products, damaging them. Minor differences between various packing materials or even similar packing materials manufactured by different companies can lead to major differences in chromatography.

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