Top 10 tips to safely package and ship your large and heavy goods overseas

When shipping your large and heavy goods abroad, it’s vital that you package them in a way that keeps them in good condition and also gives guidance to those receiving them in the other country.

Shipping boxes 1

Large and heavy goods require appropriate packaging to prevent them from becoming damaged, or from damaging other items in the shipment.

For a shipment to be cost and time efficient, you need to ensure that your packaging is fit for purpose, whilst also remembering all the legal requirements that have to be met.

That’s why we have put together this very handy list of top 10 tips and things to remember when packaging and shipping your large and heavy goods overseas.

  1. Palletise your goods to reduce the risk of damage

One of the best ways of saving space, ensuring that all your goods arrive at their destination without damage, is to strap them together on a pallet. Pallets are easily transported using a pallet jack and therefore save time and energy for both the carrier and those receiving the goods.

Remember that there is EU regulation in place that effects some pallets and pallet boxes. ISPM15 is the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures NO.15, and was put in place to prevent destructive organisms from being transported from one country to another in treated wood work. You can use products such as our Wooden Pallet Boxes & Inka Pallets that comply with these export regulations.

  1. Extra strong strapping will prevent damage, theft and tampering of goods in your shipment

Extra strong strapping and custom packaging tape keeps your items together and prevents people from opening the packages in transit.

With products such as custom packaging tape, it also allows you to add extra branding and instructions to your products.

  1. Use void fill to protect surrounding items

 It is vitally important that the appropriate void fill is used to ensure that products don’t move around and become damaged in their shipping box when they are being transported. This is especially true with large and heavy goods that could potentially damage stock around them.

Bubble wrap is good for protecting the item itself, but if you want to protect other items from large and heavy goods falling on them, void fill such as vermiculite is ideal.

  1. Clean your items thoroughly to avoid fines at customs

Certain items can become dangerous if they are not properly cleaned. For instance, if wood is not cleaned, it can begin to rot and become a home for parasites and organisms that can carry infections and diseases. If dangerous goods are not properly declared or packaged, they can be stopped from going through customs and fines can be issued to the exporter and carrier.

You should wash or wipe products thoroughly and inspect for elements such as damp that could lead to rot or product damage.

  1. Research what products are classed as Dangerous Goods

Goods that are considered to be potentially dangerous need to be packaged and labelled in a way that protects the item and those who have to handle it. If you send these goods on a regular basis, you may also be required to employ a DGSA (Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor).

Dangerous goods are separated into categories depending on the type of damage they can cause and the type of event that must occur for those products to become lethal.

Examples of dangerous products include:

Flammable liquids and gases, toxic waste, infectious substances, radioactive material.

For a full list of the categories of dangerous goods, head to the ‘shipping dangerous goods page on the .gov website.

  1. Check weight restrictions applied by the forwarder or carrier

Depending on the size of your goods, you may need to be aware of weight restrictions. These usually only come into effect with much bigger items (larger than pallet loads). However, even with smaller goods such as large parcels, there are increasing charges as size and weight grows.

It is important that you research the freight agent’s and forwarder’s charges as it can often work out cheaper to palletise your smaller items.

  1. Fill out an ESCI as accurately and with as much detail as possible

An ESCI (or Export Cargo Shipping Instruction) is an instruction document which is given by the exporter to the carrier. On this document will be notes about the route, the way an item should be handled, who should receive the goods and an allocation of costs.

Many insurers won’t pay out on goods that don’t have a correct and completed ESCI. These notes are especially important for shipments that require temperature control or include fragile goods.

Shipping boxes 2

  1. Don’t forget your Standard Shipping Note

Standard Shipping Notes are a necessity if you’re shipping goods abroad. They contain information about the goods and those carrying them and are used by the carriers and custom officials. Without these notes, your goods can be prevented from leaving or entering a country.

  1. Take out export insurance

Export insurance protects the exporter against the risk of not being paid under export contract, or not being able to fulfil that contract because of events that prevent the delivery of goods.

Given that the economy and politics of nations can change in the space of days, export insurance gives you peace of mind and could save you large amounts of money.

10Avoid taxes by acquiring an ATA Carnet

If you’re moving goods into another country on a temporary basis, you may be eligible for an ATA Carnet. An ATA Carnet is a document which secures tax and duty free importation of goods into a country as long as they meet one of the following criteria:

  • They are sample products
  • They are being displayed at a trade show
  • They are being used for construction.

Avoiding taxes on these imports can save your business money and time.

Picture credit to Bridget Colla and Jaxport


55 years on: we spoke to Sealed Air who revealed how Bubble Wrap has stood the test of time

With the impending introduction of a new ‘unpoppable’ Bubble Wrap dubbed as iBubble, we spoke to the company that originally created the popular packaging material in 1957, Sealed Air. We asked them how Bubble Wrap had stood the test of time as a protective packaging material popular with retailers and consumers alike.

Sealed Air Logo

Rajapack: We’ve heard that Bubble Wrap was invented after two shower curtains were placed together and was originally intended as wallpaper. Can you give us any more ‘insider’ info on how Bubble Wrap moved from wallpaper to protective packaging?

Sealed Air: The original waffled wall-covering was a marketplace flop.  Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, the creators of the wallpaper and founders of Sealed Air, then tried to position their creation as greenhouse insulation. But that idea, too, was unsuccessful.

Their luck changed when international powerhouse, IBM launched its 1401 Data Processing System in 1960, and needed protective packaging for sizable shipments of the delicate electronics. Fielding and Chavannes realise how effective their invention could be in this field and brand their product, Bubble Wrap. In response to the initial success of Bubble Wrap, they launched the Sealed Air Corporation that we recognize today.

Rajapack: What are the key benefits of Bubble Wrap as protective packaging?

Sealed Air: Using air to pack was a revolution, and is still just as valid today as it was 50 years ago. It’s more sustainable, flexible, cost-effective and protective to use air to protect than to use material. And we keep innovating to ensure Bubble Wrap’s place in the hearts and minds of our customers is never called into question.

Rajapack: How do you ensure that the Bubbles don’t pop prematurely?

Sealed Air: All air cellular packaging materials are made from polyethylene. However, polyethylene alone does not provide good air retention over time or under a weight load. That’s why we use a co-extruded barrier that is 100 times more resistant to the passage of air than even a thick single layer of polyethylene.

Bubble Wrap in use

Rajapack: How can Sealed Air and Bubble Wrap become more environmentally responsible, something that is becoming increasingly important to customers?

Sealed Air: As a knowledge-based company with a focus on sustainability, our objective is to provide our customers with solutions that solve their business challenges while reducing waste throughout the supply chain.

By considering the ethical and environmental impact of our solutions, we deliver products with measureable sustainability improvements over the products we replace. It’s something we call “The SmartLife™ approach.” This is a customer-centric method of product innovation – and Bubble Wrap plays its part in this approach.

Rajpack: How has Bubble Wrap evolved over time, and do you think it could be improved?

Sealed Air: Bubble Wrap has diversified and adapted with customers’ needs throughout its 55 years on the market. The size of bubbles have been made both bigger and smaller, to enable greater versatility in protection as customer requirements have changed over the years.

It is innovation that has kept Bubble Wrap as one of the most popular protective packaging materials on the market.  It’s been added to the lining of envelopes, leading to the development of a whole host of protective mailers. This simple, but highly effective application of the bubble technology makes it quicker and easier for retailers to pack and ship products.

Most recently, we’ve introduced a new, revamped version of Bubble Wrap that doesn’t pop. This new version of Bubble Wrap can get into markets that original Bubble Wrap could not reach before, and doing so while drastically reducing the amount of trucks on the road to get our product into the hands of our customers.  We will continue to develop and innovate in order to ensure Bubble Wrap stays as effective as possible.

Popping the Bubble Wrap

When you’re sending goods to your customers, it is vital that you protect them so that they arrive in ideal condition. Bubble Wrap continues to be one of the market leaders in protective packaging, and with Sealed Air continuing to develop and innovate their product, it is set to continue to safely package products for years to come.

If you would like any more information on how Bubble Wrap can aid your packaging operation, contact one of our packaging specialists on 0800 542 44 28. You can also view all our Bubble Wrap products on the Rajapack website.

How much do we know about the new 5p charge on plastic bags?

Unless you’ve managed to steer clear of the shops and mainstream media over the last few weeks, you’ll have heard about the introduction of compulsory 5p charges on plastic carrier bags. It’s a move that some see as forward thinking while others feel doesn’t go far enough.

5p bag charge coins

One thing that is clear is there is still a certain amount of confusion about why these new charges have been brought in, what effect it will have on packaging and retail, and where all those 5ps will be going.


You can explore these issues in our fact-file article but for now, we decided that we’d find out exactly how much people knew about this new charge and whether they would force a change in their shopping habits. So, armed with three questions, we headed into Milton Keynes and tested the Great British public on all things plastic bags.

First of all, we asked: Have you shopped differently since the charges were introduced?

Sarah, 30– ‘The 5p charge has made me save up my plastic bags so I have a stock for a bit. But I know I buy bags for life in Aldi and every time I go, I forget them and have to buy another one! So at the moment it’s more frustrating than making me think about my bag usage.’

Sarah, 37– ‘Not really, I need to use bags for my shopping. I have bought a couple of bags for life but doubt very much I’ll remember to dig them out when I go shopping!’

Peter, 50– ‘Well we’ve got a boot load of reusable bags, so tend to use these for our weekly groceries’.

People are prepared to change the way they shop to minimise their use of plastic bags, but need to get used to the routine of ensuring they carry reusable ‘bags for life’ with them whenever they shop. Every person that we spoke to felt that the introduction of the charge would have an impact on their carrier bag usage – a very positive sign


For many people, where the 5p goes this is an important factor in whether they chose to continue using carrier bags or not. If shoppers think the money is going to charity, they may be more likely to hand over their 5ps than they would if it was going to the shops themselves.

Therefore, our second question was: What do you think the 5p charge goes towards?

Steve, 58– ‘No idea where the 5p is going’

Natasha, 23- Tax. I had this confirmed by a staff member of a national supermarket chain yesterday. They say it will go to charity but really the charities only get a few per cent (she said around 3%) and the government gets the rest. If it was all going to charity, or the vast majority I would just buy them and carry on as normal.

David, 36– ‘I believe the money goes mainly to charity.’

In actual fact, the money generated from these new 5p charges goes direct to the supermarket. It is not a tax and the government do not get any of the money. The retailers are encouraged to give the money to charity but this is not, as yet, regulated.

It appears, from Natasha’s answer, that even those applying these charges at store level aren’t completely clear on where the money is going. There must be more clarity on this subject before consumers start to lose their trust.


Finally, we surveyed all the people that took part in our questionnaire. According to the new guidelines, there are still some items that can be packed in plastic bags without incurring the 5p charge.

We asked those taking part in the interview: Can you name any of the items exempt from the charge?

  • 18% said loose fruit and veg
  • 54% said raw meat
  • 10% said uncovered blades
  • 18% said anything from your independent local corner shop


  • 0% said loose seeds and bulbs
  • 0% said prescription medicines
  • 0% said live fish
  • 0% said bags given out at customs

Most people could name at least one item, but it is noticeable that the percentages for each answer are so low. Are people going to change their behaviour if they don’t know the ins and outs of the new rules?

5p bag charge message


If this is an activity encouraging customers to move away from their reliance on plastic carrier bags, part of the push must come from the retailers. They have a responsibility to play a part in making shopping without single-use plastic carriers as practical as possible, because it was the supermarkets who introduced plastic carrier bags into common usage.

There are ways they can do this without implementing major changes. Reminders in car-parks for customers to bring their bag for life into store and more publicity and transparency on where the 5p goes are starting points.

However, the long term strategy that must be put in place is to change the shopping behaviour of customers. Part of this strategy should be to replace plastics with more recyclable or bio-degradable materials such as paper.

Carrier bags are a practicality that we don’t need to give up, we just need to change the type we’re using.

For more information on when you will have to pay for a bag and the implications of this new charge, can be read in our in-depth fact-file.

The 5p plastic bag charge: the facts and figures you need to know

Around 7.6 billion plastic carrier bags are used in England every year; a number that has risen by about 200 million year on year. That suggests that on average we all use about 11 plastic bags per month (bearing in mind that there is a large percentage of the country who are not old enough to shop or who use bags for life on a regular basis).

Plastic carriers are now charged at 5p

We have come to rely on carrier bags for many of the tasks in our everyday life, not just shopping. How many of our children take their PE kit to school in a plastic carrier? Or how many people use them to bag excess rubbish that won’t fit in the black bin bag?

Because of this, the impact that the new 5p charge on carrier bags will have could well be significant.

We’ve taken a look at the facts and figures surrounding the new charges; why they’ve been introduced and the potential impact they will have on retail, the packaging industry and the money in our pockets.

Our findings should give you a much better starting point from which you can make the decision, as an individual or a business, on whether plastic carrier bags have a future in your retail experience.

What impact will this have on the environment?

800,000 tonnes of plastic carrier bags are created every year but only 6% of this is thought to be recycled. That means that 752,000 tonnes of plastic is either being thrown away or left sitting in cupboards or car boots.

Those bags that are thrown away can be a serious hazard to the environment and wildlife. It takes 1000 years for the average plastic bag to decompose, in which time it could have been eaten by, or suffocated an innocent animal.

It costs the UK government £10 million per year just to clean up plastic carrier bags.

Plastic bags damage the environment


A reduction in the use of plastic bags could save significant amounts of money for the government and also clean up our streets, green belt and coastline.

Where do all the 5ps go?

Contrary to some thinking, the 5p charge is not a government tax. The legislation has been introduced to reduce the number of bags being used but the government will not directly benefit from the proceeds.

Essentially, plastic bags are now a purchasable commodity just like other items you buy at the shop. The government will only benefit from the new 5p charge in the sense that the sale of bags, which is now 5p per bag, will merit sales tax like any other product.

The after-tax profits from the bags, will go direct to the retailer. They are expected to distribute the profit, minus reasonable costs (such as money spent on installing extra stages in self check out processes) to good causes. There are guidelines on what a good cause may be, but it is ultimately up to the retailer to decide.

Will I have to pay to bag everything?

The 5p charge for bags may seem wide-ranging, but in actual fact, a very exact criteria has to be met before the charge can be applied.

The charge only applies to un-used, single use plastic carrier bags that have handles. That means that all paper bags, such as the ones that we provide through our Rajaprint Bags online tool, are exempt. It also doesn’t apply to any bag that has already been used so technically, if a carrier bag was used by another customer to return a faulty item to a shop, you would not have to pay to use that bag.

The charge also doesn’t apply when you’re using bags to package certain products. The products that do not incur the charge are only exempt when bagged by themselves, i.e you cannot spread these products between your shopping bags to avoid all charges.

The following products are exempt from the 5p charge:

  • Uncovered blades
  • Loose fruit and vegetables
  • Raw meat
  • Seeds or flower bulbs
  • Live aquatic animals

There is also the matter of how large a shop or chain is. If the store or chain has 250 employees or less, they have no obligation to charge the 5p. In many ways, this may make SMEs such as such as corner shops more appealing. If people start to find it more practical shopping at their local independent grocer than they do at a chain express store like Tesco, the balance of power may start to shift.

Is 5p enough to actually change anything?

When a consumer spends £50 on their shopping, charging another 20p for 4 bags might go unnoticed. This has led many people to question whether 5p is enough to genuinely change shopping habits and attitudes towards plastic bags.

The reason why the charge is so small is because that is the value of a plastic bag. This is not a tax or a nominal fee; the government have ordered that plastic bags now be a chargeable commodity and it has been calculated that 5p is an appropriate value.

The statistics show that people are actually far less likely to use (multiple) plastic bags when the charge is applied. Consumers in Wales have been subject to the charge for four years now and the plastic bag usage rate in the country has gone down by 71%. There have also been large percentage drops in Scotland (18%) and Northern Ireland (43%) since the charge was introduced in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

What impact will this have on business?

There has already been some backlash on social media from customers who feel they are now paying to advertise the retailer’s brands. A select few have even made calls for people to turn their carrier bags inside out as a form of protest.

However, the major change for business will come in the need to find more practical ways for shoppers to take their goods away from the shop. Carrying multiple loose items or cramming everything into one bag is surely just a stop gap approach.

It is important that companies now explore alternative baggage solutions. Bags for life are the immediate answer, but with many people forgetting their bag for life and purchasing a new one with each shopping experience, the problem is not being solved.

Paper bags and bags of other, more environmentally friendly materials must now be the answer for businesses who still value quality of customer experience as a matter of high importance.

Is this the beginning of the end for plastic bags?

To answer this question, we have to apply a certain amount of guess work. For a start, we do not know exactly how the English public’s habits will change due to the charge. If they follow the pattern of other countries, it is fair to assume that there will be a significant drop.

This change isn’t necessarily bad news for the plastic bag industry. Remember that it is only ‘single use’ bags that are subject to the charge. There will now be a much larger market for the stronger ‘multi use’ bags (bag for life).

(Information for this blog was sourced from the BBC, The Independent and Channel 4)

Picture credit to Zainub Razvi and Keng Susumpow

We’ve launched our new general catalogue, together with the Action Programme for Women & the Environment

A few weeks ago, we announced the launch of our brand new general catalogue for autumn –winter 2015/2016. It is accompanied by the launch of the Action Programme for Women & the Environment, an operation spanning all our European subsidiaries, which focuses on RAJA’s three core values – collaboration, solidarity, innovation.

The catalogue will include our latest innovative services and products such as our Rajaprint Bags customisation tool.

What is the Women & the Environment action programme and why are we supporting them?

 “Together we can change lives!”

New raja cat 1The Action Programme for Women & the Environment is a European scale operation including all of the Group’s 1,600 employees from September 2015 to February 2016. This action programme is true to RAJA’s values, involving its 500,000 customers.

Indeed, as a long-time champion of environmental protection, RAJA has taken many initiatives to minimise its environmental footprint (95 % of its purchases are bought in Europe, and the RAJA Group has been certified ISO 14001 since 2011). Since 2006, the RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation has helped women by supporting many projects in France and around the world.

Within the framework of the 2015 Climate Change Conference, which is to take place in France this December, RAJA would like to reinforce its commitment by launching the Action Programme for Women & the Environment.

RAJA has selected eco-friendly packaging products for this programme. These products are made from renewable resources (cardboard or paper) or composed of recycled materials. Once used, they may be recycled again and give life to new products.

For every purchase of a selected eco-friendly pack, RAJA will donate €1 or €2 (and £1 to £2 in the UK) to the RAJA –Danièle Marcovici Foundation to finance 5 projects aiming to support and promote the role women play in environmental protection around the world.

The Foundation shall monitor the selected projects throughout the programme.

How to take part in this programme?

The best of RAJA’s innovation providing a better experience for our customers

The RAJA Group has always placed highest priority on the satisfaction of each of its customers. Thus, the RAJA Group continues to break new grounds: with more than 10,000 different packaging products and equipment, the largest choice of products in Europe, RAJA provides products which are 100% adapted to the needs of each of its clients.

In this new general catalogue, more than 150 new products enrich RAJA’s selection, and innovative products are introduced, such as:

RAJAPRINT: a new online carrier bag and adhesive tape customisation tool. As a simple and practical solution which is accessible for companies of all sizes,New raja cat 3

New raja cat 2

RAJAPRINT responds to their need to customise and enables them to easily improve the impact of their brand.

RAJA, a genuine partner of e-commerce companies

In e-commerce, packaging not only protects and secures products during transport but it is also the brand’s first contact with customers when they receive their order. Today packaging has become a key factor in customer satisfaction.

When choosing your packaging not only factors like protection and convenience come into play, but image and presentation are also being taken in to account.

Getting your package right in terms of design, branding and communication is critical for E-merchants to build a successful internet business. As a specialist in packaging, RAJA is best positioned to understand its customers’ specific requirements.

If you would like any more information on our new catalogue or the Women & the Environment action programme, call us today on 0800 542 44 28.

The year 2030: a look into the packaging and delivery future

The world of technology is moving at an unbelievable rate and it is quite possible that the world in 2030 will be completely unrecognisable from the one we live in today.


A major part of that change will be the way that people purchase and receive items from online retailers. According to, UK shoppers are expected to have spent around £52 billion online by the end of the year. With so many people deciding to shop online instead of at their local supermarket, packaging and delivery will become more important than ever before.

By the time 2030 comes along, packaging and delivery could have been taken into a whole new sector. With information so readily available at the click of a button on the internet, it can only be a matter of time before the consumers start to demand that their products reach them a lot sooner too.  Time spent waiting will be a commodity that we’re just not prepared to spend.

One very interesting piece of technology that will be common place by 2030, is the use of drones for delivery. These automated robots will be programmed to fly to an exact destination and back again, meaning that delivery people in vans may be a thing of the past for smaller items.

Drone girl looks into a delivery drone future

We had a few questions to ask about drones; most notably about security and how the strength and design of our packaging would have to change to meet the demands of this new form of delivery. So we got together with Sally French, who you may know better as She has run the web’s most visited site solely about drones since 2013 and was named by Fortune Magazine as one of 2015’s ‘Most Influential Women in Drones’.

We quizzed her on a few different issues surrounding delivery, branding and the changes that we will have to make to our personal lives in order to fulfil the potential of drone deliveries.

Rajapack: Hi Sally, thanks for speaking with us today. First of all, do you think that most companies will follow Amazon’s lead (Amazon’s CEO says that their drone deliveries will reach customers within 30 minutes) in drone deliveries over the next fifteen years?

SF: To be quite honest, many companies are beating Amazon in drone deliveries. While they are definitely testing them, as far as I’m aware, Amazon hasn’t performed a public delivery. But we’ve already seen numerous successful deliveries. Some are silly, like the Tacocopter (a drone designed specifically to deliver Tacos in the US). Some are illegal, for example, drug smuggling. Some are utilitarian; Finland’s postal service was just in the news for doing deliveries by drone. Some are incredibly life-changing, such as the companies delivering medication to hard-to-reach areas.

Rajapack: With so much variety already on the drone market, will everything be delivered by drone in 2030? Presumably there will be a limit to the size and weight that drones will ever be able to carry…it’s not like we’ll be seeing fridges flying through the sky?

SF: Of course, flight time and payload is limited, but as the technology improves, so will payload capacities and flight times.

Rajapack: In 2030, is the sky going to be full of drones? With so many drones flying through the air, could there be a problem for flight paths?

SF: Yes, absolutely. We’ll need some type of air traffic control system. NASA has done work on that, as well as a few others.

Rajapack: So will the drones have sensor technology to stop them colliding in mid-air, or hitting other objects?

SF: Yes, sense-and-avoid technology is really the Holy Grail in drone delivery. There are currently varying degrees of that technology on the market already.

Rajapack: Won’t we lose some security peace of mind with unmanned deliveries? How can we guarantee the safety of important products such as medical supplies if they’re delivered by drones?

SF: I don’t view a drone as any less safe than a regular car delivery. People ask, “what if someone sees the drone and steals your package off your porch?” But they could easily do that with a UPS truck too.

Drones in packaging

Rajapack: Will drone deliveries change the way we receive products? Do you think we will have to adapt our homes to include boxes/ safes where we could receive drone deliveries?

SF: I wouldn’t think so. People do have mailboxes to keep letters secure, but packages are left on the porch unsecured and, while you do hear of packages from regular USPS (the United States Postal Service- Sally is based in California) being stolen, it’s really not a huge issue for people the way it is for packages from a drone.

Rajapack:  Instead of having items delivered to a house or building, will people be able to fill in their exact coordinates when ordering a product and have the drone deliver the item to them in person?

SF: That’s a good question, and I think it varies by who is doing the delivery. That’s certainly possible though.

Primary and transit packaging combined

For packaging, the introduction of drones will open up more branding and advertising opportunities. No longer will your packages be hidden in a lorry or van when being delivered. Your branding will be flying in the sky where anyone can see it.

This will however, bring about security and privacy questions. If you’re purchasing sensitive packages that you want to keep secret, e.g. a birthday present, medicine or something very expensive, it will make things difficult if the branding is emblazoned down the side of the packaging.

Companies will have to be sensitive with their packaging depending on the type of product they sell.

2030: the future of packaging and delivery

If drones are to be the way we deliver in 2030, we could live in a world where we would no longer have to wait for products. Using Amazon’s 30 minute deliveries as an example, even simple tasks like driving to the shops at lunchtime to buy a sandwich could become obsolete; a drone could deliver it in the same time.

Furthermore, business would run far more smoothly. If you’re a retailer and you run out of stock, you wouldn’t have to disappoint any customers. The next stock delivery could be with you and available for sale in a matter of minutes.

In this series we’ll be looking at other ways packaging and delivery will adapt to fit with new technology in 2030, taking a look at materials, protection and packaging security, as well as the impact of 3D printers.

Picture credit to Ninfaj and Richard Unten


Ensuring your safe delivery

An estimated 500,000 letters are lost in the post each week in the UK. Of these, 400,000 never arrive, and 100,000 will be over two weeks late. If you’re sending anything important, it’s therefore vital you make sure it’s protected.

Royal Mail

The most common way to protect your post is to acquire a certificate of postage. This practice has been standard for powersellers of websites like eBay for many years, with proof of postage compulsory when defending a claim for a lost parcel. As a seller, lacking proof of postage means you are responsible for any resulting refunds. Depending on the item sold, this could be very expensive. If, on the other hand, you have proof of postage, then you can claim compensation from the Post Office.

Proof of postage is not without its faults however, and many experts would now recommend proof of delivery instead. We talked to Chris a.k.a Mountie, co-founder and editor of Tamebay, about the advantages of proof of delivery:

“Proof of postage is pretty worthless to both consumers and retailers; although often asked for, it can be confused with proof of delivery, a much more valuable service. It’s the retailers responsibility to get their item to their customer and all proof of postage can be used for is a claim against a courier if the item doesn’t arrive.

Proof of delivery however has many more uses and is generally something consumers like; not so much that they need to be told that their item has arrived, but more that they can track their purchase along its journey and know when to expect it. However times are changing and some retailers are falling behind the curve.

Royal Mail is due to add bar codes to all parcels within the UK later this year. This will enable them to scan at the point of delivery and raises the question, ‘do retailers actually need a signature for proof of delivery or is a scan at the door step acceptable?’ Of course sometimes, due to the item value, you may require a signature. Typically when receiving a high value item, a signature is customary and many payment providers, including the best known in the UK – PayPal, insist on proof of delivery including a signature.

Collection points

There are new services coming to the market which make signature on delivery even less neccessary. Services such as locker locations (e.g., home delivery bins (e.g. or click and collect locations (e.g. all create debate. If the item is to be delivered to a convenient location for collection (and often this will be a consumer driven choice which even the retailer may be unaware of), insisting on a signature from the recipient may cause complications in the delivery process whereas a scan would work perfectly.

From a personal perspective, I remember a customer calling to enquire as to the whereabouts of a rather expensive item of computer equipment sold on eBay. Fortunately, by using a tracked delivery I could tell them the exact time and date it was delivered to their company. The response was interesting; “Oh, I actually purchased two of these and yours was the second one I bought, it must be the first one that hasn’t arrived!” Without proof of delivery I’d have probably had to foot the bill and that’s why I always use proof of delivery when selling any relatively valuable item on eBay in particular, or online in general.”

We also talked to professional designer Thom Milson, who made the mistake of having no proof of delivery:

“I once sent some work to the Ukraine – just before the issues with Russia really escalated – and I had made sure that I had proof of postage, as sending prints to Europe can cost quite a fair whack. A few weeks had passed and I hadn’t heard anything from the customer, so I threw out the proof of postage receipt to declutter my work space a bit, assuming they had received the package okay (I’d sent it first class). It was a day or two later that I received an email claiming the parcel hadn’t arrived. I suddenly had no proof of postage or delivery to back up my claim and I had to refund the customer in full.

It’s vital to get proof of delivery instead of proof of postage, especially if it’s expensive. With proof of delivery you know for sure whether they have received their parcel, and have the proof to back yourself up if they claim otherwise”

How the different courier services compare

Depending on who you are posting with, the process involved for proof of delivery will vary slightly. We have worked up a useful delivery service comparison table which you can use to see the most frequently-used parcel carriers and their proof of delivery policies – as well as how to claim compensation if your parcel goes missing.

Proving your delivery

 ^Extra Information – Value of item protected

Yodel protect the item with £20 additional compensation available. There is a calculator on their site here.

Extra information – How to claim

With Yodel & Parcel Force, its best practice to send them pictures of the package before it was sent. To make a claim with Parcel Force, you’ll need to download a claim form from their website here. When sending the claim forms back, make sure you include proof of the items value, such as a receipt. It also helps if you have pictures of the parcel before it is sent as proof of proper packing.

To make a claim via Royal Mail you must ask the Post Office for a P58 form. This form must be accompanied by the original proof of postage and, once posted, can take 6 to 8 weeks to be processed.

To claim via Yodel you’ll need to visit their contact us page which can be found here.

Claiming with DPD is quite a thorough process – full details of which can be found here.

*Extra information – Additional notes

  • DHL prohibit some items; a full list can be found here.
  • Hermes will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.
  • Parcel Force will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.
  • Yodel will not pay compensation for some items. See a list here.

Just to rubber stamp what we’re saying…

Proof of delivery is a must these days – especially if you run a business. However, what’s on offer, and which courier would be best for you, all depend on what you are posting. Most commonly posted parcels will be fine with Royal Mail; however they will only protect an item up to the value of £34 –unless you pay for extra services. Larger or more valuable items may be better sent with a private courier who offers a higher level of cover. These companies often offer larger levels of cover and compensation, but they can also cost a little extra. Whichever you choose, it’s important to be properly covered.

Helping your business go green: a guide to Recycling Symbols

The RAJA Group began life in 1954 as a company selling recycled cardboard boxes, and our focus on being environmentally responsible has continued to this day.

Ensuring your company is environmentally responsible not only benefits the planet, but it’s important to your customers too.  Even if it isn’t currently a priority for your business, you can be sure it is for your customers, who’ll factor it in when choosing their supplier.

We’ve been speaking with experts in the packaging industry (such as John Kirkby), and we’ve learnt that understanding which materials can be recycled is one of the first challenges that companies face when trying to be more environmentally responsible.

To help you better understand what can be recycled and where to recycle it, we’ve listed the most common recycling symbols below with guidance and examples, which should help you and your business on your first steps to going green.

General Recycling Symbols

‘Please recycle now’Please recycle now

The ‘Please recycle now’ symbol is a call to action; it says that the environment will be harmed if this product has to be destroyed or left in landfill, as per normal disposal.

This symbol is not informative, but encourages the user to recycle.

 ‘Mobius Loop’Mobius loop

Similar to the ‘Please recycle now’ symbol, the Mobius Loopis an alert to the user that this product can be recycled, rather than offering any specific information. The symbol was created in the late 1970’s by American Gary Anderson, and is now universally recognised as the generic symbol for recycling.

When a pack has more than one form of material.More than one form of material

Products such as microwaveable meals and packaging with built in protection require different materials for transit and end use. Some of these materials may be recycleable and others aren’t. A symbol such as this one (pictured left) informs the user which materials can be recycled, and that they need to separated before recycling.



If your product has this symbol, it needs to be recycled with other glass. Some councils and recycling services will provide a container that sits inside your recycling bin in order for you to recycle glass. If this doesn’t apply to your area, products with this symbol should be taken and sorted into bottle banks.



Recycling Plastic

The following symbols are commonly found on bottles containing drinks, soaps and shampoos as well as food packaging. They’re usually located on the label alongside the instructions for use.

1This symbol means the product is made from Polyethylene Terephalate. It is a very common form of plastic which is used to contain products such as fizzy drinks, cooking oils and water. Products with this symbol can be recycled in recycling bins.


2This symbol means the product is made from High Density Polyethylene. HDPE is commonly used for milk bottles, washing up liquids and shower gels. Again, this plastic can be placed in most recycling bins.


3Polyvinyl Chloride is a form of plastic which is no longer very common. Products with this symbol on can still be recycled in most recycling bins, but don’t expect to find too many bottles made of this material.



Low Density Polyeythlene plastic is commonly used to wrap meat or vegetables. Because of the mixture of materials and chance for contamination, these plastics are not widely recycled. They should be disposed of in general waste containers.



Polypropylene plastic is often used in the food industry and like LDPE, is not widely recycled in the UK. Products with this symbol should be deposited in general waste containers.




Polystyrene is most commonly used as protection or loose fill for products in transit. This form of plastic is rarely recyclable in the UK and should be placed in general waste.




Other materials includes all other resins and multi-material plastics. Because of the use of different materials, plastics with this symbol on should be placed in general waste.



aluminiumThis symbol indicates a product is made from aluminium. Although most aluminium, including cans and foil is recyclable, please remember the following: 1) do not recycle if it has been contaminated by food produce and 2) Some recycling plants are not equipped to recycle foil. Please check with your local council before recycling.



Although not technically a recycling symbol, the compostable symbol is important nonetheless. If a product has this symbol on it, it means that not only will the item biodegrade but it will also offer nutrients and benefits to the soil around it.


If you have any doubts about whether or not you can recycle a product, it is always best to check the recycling and reuse guide of your local council; you can find the contact details for your council online.  Some councils will have better facilities and processes than others and are therefore able to recycle different materials.

If you have any questions about our commitment to the environment, please get in touch with one of our expert team on 0800 542 44 28, or take a look at our environmental policy.  We also have a large range of eco-friendly packaging products available to buy on our website.

We’ll see you at Ecommerce Expo!

Olympia London – September 30th & 1st October 2015 – West Hall, Stand 114

For two days starting on Wednesday 30th September, Rajapack will be exhibiting at Ecommerce Expo at Olympia in London and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.

ecommerce expo

The Expo gives companies in sectors such as retail, packaging and delivery a chance to engage with their customers as well as an opportunity to showcase some of their latest product offerings.

Rajapack will be one of nearly 150 exhibitors at the show, including online retail giants Amazon, secure payments solutions provider WorldPay and delivery powerhouse, Parcelforce.  Those attending the conference will also get the chance to attend seminars with key industry insights on payments, marketing, customers and international sales.

This year, our team will be stationed in Olympia’s West Hall, stand 114. We’re sending along our brand new Head of Field Sales, Simon Owens whose previous roles include working at Sky Business, and none other than our own MD, Tom Rodda.  The team will be on hand to answer your questions, covering everything from improving efficiency in your packaging process, right through to how you can help your business go green by adopting environmentally friendly packaging.

It’ll also be a great opportunity for you to learn about our brand new Rajaprint bags, a fantastic way to customise gift and reusable bags and strengthen your brand.  We’re also really excited to be showcasing our Mini Pak’r machine which provides air-cushioned void fill, to speed up the operation of small businesses.

We asked our Rajapack Ecommerce Expo team about what visitors can expect to see, and what they’re most looking forward to:

“We’re really excited to bring our stand to such an exciting event like the Ecommerce Expo. It’s a great opportunity to engage directly with existing and potential new customers and also to showcase our fantastic products. There’s nothing better than to listen to what our customers are saying and then use our expertise and knowledge to find solutions to their packaging needs; after all it’s the reason why we’re in business!”

You can still register to attend the Ecommerce Expo. For more information on the event, follow the Ecommerce Expo on twitter @ecommerceexpo (using the hashtag #ece15) or contact the Rajapack team on 0800 542 44 28.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Introducing RAJAPRINT bags: the brand new way to customise your packaging

Rajapack are proud to introduce our brand new online carrier bag customisation system, Rajaprint Bags – an extension of our popular Rajaprint custom packaging tape system. We have extended this to bags allowing you to design and order custom bags online in just a few clicks.

With Rajaprint Bags you can attach your branding to more transit packaging, allowing your business to be seen by more potential customers.  It’s a great way to strengthen your brand and improve the look and feel of your product right from the start of the customer experience.

With 5p charges soon to be introduced on many plastic bags, now is an ideal time to explore other options for bagging that could save you money while improving the impact of your brand.

132 Different Combinations

The Rajaprint bags system gives you the opportunity to choose your bags based on material, size, strength, colour options and the size of the print you require. In total, there are a massive 132 different combinations to choose from, ensuring that you can find something that fits in with the look and feel of your business.

Matt finish laminated gift bags are available in white, pink, cream, silver and black, with 5 different size options.  Kraft paper carrier bags are offered in 2 colours (white and brown), each with a different handle. The range is completed with canvas and jute shopping bags, each with 4 different print options.

Bags of Customisation

After choosing your bag, you can upload your company logo to complete the process in just a few clicks. Your logo will add standout against any design, whilst high quality Rajapack bags will ensure your product arrives in excellent condition.rajaprint bags

Special Introductory Offers

We’re offering an unbeatable special offer for the launch of this exciting new online system.

Up to 40% off 1 or 2 colour, 1-sided printing on brown and white kraft paper carrier bags, when you order 10 packs (1,000 bags) or more.

We’re also offering a special ‘buy your printed bags for the price of plain’ deal on matt finish laminated bags when you order 40 packs (1000 bags) or more. That means a fantastic half-price saving.

If you want more information on how the Rajaprint bags can improve your packaging and strengthen your brand, you can call our Packaging Specialists today on 0800 630 06 21.