The flexible green packaging cost and expanded polystyrene foam corners cost debate continues to go on. One side says foam corners cost less, while another says flexible green packaging is less expensive. Which one is it? One beats the other more often than not when you take into consideration total cost of ownership

The Foam Corner Argument

The material used to make foam corners is a cheaper material than that of used in making flexible green packaging. Cheaper material means cheaper costs, right? When comparing material costs, yes, foam corners beat flexible green packaging. However, material costs are not the only cost a company will incur when it comes to shipping. There are labor costs, manufacturing costs, and even damage costs to consider.

Additional Factors to Consider

When a foam corner packaging system is used, it is used once. Due to the density and lack of flexibility it is molded for one product and one shipment. Once the job is done, the foam corner could not be used, unless it is sent back to the original shipper. That can get expensive and may cost more than the foam corners themselves. On the other hand, flexible green packaging can be reused, reshaped, and used for many different shapes and sizes of products. The packaging can either be reused, or used for a return shipment to the original shipper, who then uses it again.

Foam Corners Are Easily Damaged

Foam corners are very dense and can easily break or crack. When this happens there is no more use for the packaging. A best case scenario is the packaging breaks after the product has been shipped successfully. This way, the shipper will get one use out of it. However, if the corners crack or break prior to shipping, they are wasted, and the money is lost.

Flexible green packaging can withstand some abuse and still be useful. It is puncture resistant, tear resistant, and can be dropped, stepped on, twisted, and bent. In many cases, flexible green packaging can withstand several shipments with no problem.

Manufacturing Costs

In addition to the cost of the foam corners, specialized shapes and sizes will often require new tooling costs. When the product changes, the corner shape has to change, and there are new retooling costs all over again. These costs can be anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.

As mentioned there are other factors to include like flexibility and reuse. There are also some
overlooked costs which need to be considered. Costs like upfront costs and reoccurring costs. Flexible green packaging does not require this upfront cost however, making it the clear winner.

Considering all factors and costs

When all these factors are considered and the other costs are considered, flexible green packaging has a distinct cost savings. Savings on total cost of ownership outweighs savings on material costs. This is something companies need to keep in mind when evaluating the two types of packaging.