When it comes to packaging goods for shipping, the choice of filling material is just as important as the choice of box you use. It’s no secret that during the shipping and transit process, boxes are prone to a lot of movement and even mishandling in some cases. Therefore, the right filling material can make all the difference by providing additional protection for your goods, preventing damage on the way to their destination. Here are five filling materials that can help protect goods packaged in cardboard boxes.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a classic choice for protecting goods in transit. It provides excellent cushioning and shock absorption, making it ideal for fragile items. Bubble wrap is also lightweight, so it won’t significantly increase your shipping costs. When wrapped properly, bubble wrap can provide a surprising amount of protection to items in spite of its lightweight nature. Bubble wrap can also be recycled, however, it generally can’t be dropped into your regular recycling bin and will need to be dropped into a special soft plastic recycling bin.

Packing Peanuts

Packing peanuts are a popular choice for filling cardboard boxes. They’re lightweight and are ideal for void fill, as they can fill in the gaps around irregularly shaped items and provide all-around protection. However, they can be messy and aren’t the most environmentally friendly option, so consider using biodegradable packing peanuts if sustainability is a concern.

Air Pillows

Air pillows are a more modern and efficient filling material that’s incredibly lightweight and can be inflated on demand, saving storage space. Air pillows provide excellent cushioning and can be used to fill large gaps in boxes. They’re a good option if you’re looking to use only a minimal amount of packaging materials when sending goods.

Corrugated Inserts

Corrugated inserts can be custom made to fit your product and provide excellent protection, especially for fragile items. They add rigidity to your box and keep your product in place during transit. These are ideal for luxury items such as clothing, allowing your product to keep its shape during transit. Corrugated inserts are also the best material to use to keep items such as glass bottles from coming into contact with each other within a box.


Foam-in-place is a type of filling material that expands and hardens around your product, providing a custom fit. This is an excellent option for very fragile or valuable items that need maximum protection. Foam-in-place can be a bit more expensive than other common types of packaging materials, so budget will likely be the deciding factor on whether this is the right material for your needs.


Choosing the right filling material for your cardboard boxes can significantly improve the protection of your goods during transit. Consider the nature of your product, the journey it will take and your budget when making your choice. With the right combination of cardboard box and filling material, you can ensure your goods arrive at their destination in perfect condition.