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New Scotch Packing Material – Goodbye to Peanuts and Plastic?

Scotch Cushion Lock TM
Scotch Cushion Lock TM

One sure way to start a lively debate in an online sellers’ forum is to ask how an item should be packed for safe shipping. Every seller has their own methods and their favorite packing materials – from plastic bubble wrap, foam peanuts and air pillows to repurposed pool noodles. We thought it was time to throw another contender into the mix.

Scotch Brand reached out to us with information about a new type of packing material made with 100% recycled paper that could replace some of the more popular packing materials.

A spokesperson sent me a free box of the Scotch Cushion Lock Protective Wrap to try, calling it a “sustainable expanding paper wrap that cushions, immobilizes and secures your item for proven protection throughout its journey – whether you’re shipping, moving or storing.”

It was a bold claim, so I decided to put it to the test. I selected something fragile – a cordial glass – to put the packing material through its paces. I chose a small box that only allowed about 1” of space around the cordial and used only the Scotch Cushion Lock to wrap and pad the item inside the box.

Scotch Cushion Lock challenge

I unrolled what I thought would be enough Scotch Wrap to start – about 4 feet. But looking at the flat sheet of brown paper, I wasn’t sure that this would be enough protection for a glass item being shipped via USPS.

Scotch Cushion Lock before

The “magic” happens when you grab each end of the sheet and pull, creating a honeycomb that not only adds volume to the sheet, but also locks it into place as the item is wrapped. No tape was necessary.

Scotch Cushion Lock after

I placed the wrapped glass inside the box, sealed the package, and shook it. There was no movement whatsoever – so far, it was impressive.

Scotch Cushion Lock wrapped

I mailed the small box USPS First Class Package Service to a destination across the state, about 100 miles away. When it arrived 2 days later, the packing material had retained its honeycomb shape – no sagging or flattening at all.

Scotch Cushion Lock unboxing upon arrival

More importantly, the glass cordial survived the trip nicely, arriving in one piece. The wrap had done its job, and because I had used a smaller box and the lightweight wrap, I had likely saved a bit on shipping as well.

Scotch Cushion Lock results

Because tape was unnecessary, the recipient was impressed with the ease of unwrapping the item. This will not only save sellers the cost of any tape they might have used with other types of packing material – but it will also be welcomed by buyers – no scissors required to get to their precious item inside.

The retail price of the 30-foot roll is $7.99 for a 12 in x 30 ft roll (or $149.99 for an “industrial” size 1,000-ft roll). We haven’t done the math to see how it compares with other types of packaging, so let us know what you think. Keep in mind that because it expands, a 30-foot roll would pack more than a 30-foot roll of a different type of material (the company says it expands 1.5 times its original length).

The company spokesperson sent us a fact sheet; here’s what it says about the key features:

  • Proven to protect.
  • Conforms, cushions and immobilizes your fragile and non-fragile items.
  • No scissors or tape needed—just pull to expand, wrap in a 360° fashion around your item, tear by hand, then place into a box for a nested and protected ride.
  • Made with 100% recycled paper and is curbside recyclable.
  • Takes up to 85% less storage space compared to traditional plastic cushion wrap.
  • Expands 60x its original thickness, filling up your box with less material (hello stabilization!).
  • Expands 1.5x its original length so you can wrap more, with less.

While shoppers are concerned about receiving their items in one piece, many are also concerned about the environmental impact of the packaging used to protect their items. Not giving buyers a reason to ding you for the packaging you use is another potential advantage.

Readers might remember I was a bit underwhelmed with a previous innovation from the company, the Scotch Flex & Seal shipping roll. But I was suitably impressed with Scotch Cushion Lock, with cost being the wildcard factor. I should add that we were not compensated in any way for reviewing this product, except for the free roll of the material for testing.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

11 thoughts on “New Scotch Packing Material – Goodbye to Peanuts and Plastic?”

  1. Thanks but no thanks. I buy peanuts in bags 3″ x 6″ from a local supplier. Never had a problem with them. Cost is 20.00 a bag. 7.99 for a 30 foot roll is a bit on the rich side and unproven.

  2. Looks like a cool idea! I used some of the hundreds of plastic bags I always seemed to have as packing, and Styrofoam egg cartons in the length of each corner of poster tubes. Light-weight…handy…and Free!
    Not sure what I will Do with the bags and egg cartons Now…will Not be paying the Fees for posters…and I have Stopped selling on ebay anyway!
    Anyone need ’em?! 🙂

  3. Great review, Ina, thank you for sharing!

    I agree with you on the Scotch Flex & Seal…LOL, still have a roll of the stuff sitting here 2 years later.

    I think price is going to be a factor but for certain of my items, this looks like it might be a winner. It is more than twice what I pay for my bubble wrap but for 8 bucks I think I will give it a try…just out of curiosity 😉

  4. One piece of information is missing – the weight of the product and how that compares to the use of other materials. My most frequent shipment is a two pound package. With postage going out of sight, each ounce affects my ability to stay under that weight. I have switched away from plastic based pellets and now use slightly heavier starch based pellets instead, but even this product has move my shipment costs upwards.

  5. Scotch should provide a discount code for e-commerce subscribers.
    I’ve gotten something similar in boxes I’ve received.
    My initial concerns are how does it preform when a box is dented, squished etc., and as stated above,8 how much it weighs compared to other materials.
    But for $8, I’ll give it a try.

  6. Good morning Ina,
    We offer the Ranpak product, and many customers love it. Paper based, honeycomb structure. We have seen a lot of customers switching away from bubble to the paper based cushioning.

    1. Have you heard from customers about differences in weight or price? It would make sense that buyers would prefer to receive items that come in sustainable packaging, though they probably don’t make the connection between higher costs to sellers and the price they as buyers pay for items.

  7. Thanks Ina!

    I’m going to buy a roll. I live in a very small place and the fact that it doesn’t take up much space
    until “expanded” is a real benefit for me.


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