The Wonderful World of Polymailers

The Wonderful World of Polymailers

Nov 6th 2016

I’ll be honest, if you told me a few years ago that I would one day become a total poly mailers nerd I wouldn’t even have known what you were talking about. But here I am, a bonafide poly mailers fanatic. I know most people aren’t like me – so I wrote this post for everyone out there who wants to learn more about EcoEnclose poly mailers, how these puppies may meet your needs and how our offering compares with others in the market.

Quick Snapshot of EcoEnclose Poly Mailers

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Available in 100% Recycled Ivory or Gray
  • Sends a great first impression to your customer that builds loyalty - they help tell your story thoughtful production
  • Durable
  • Competitive pricing
  • Small batch custom printing
  • Made in the USA
  • Small batch orders (<25,000) restricted to two base colors ivory and gray*
  • Small batch orders (<25,000) have only single color printing available*

*Note that large orders of over 25,000 are available in any color, with longer lead times.

Want to know a little more? We thought you'd never ask! Here is all the awesome detail.

Recycled Material: This is what we are most proud of. Last year, there were hundreds of millions of poly mailers shipped worldwide. Most were made with virgin plastic or with a small percentage of recycled content. Think about that for a minute. Our bags are different. Both of the Poly Mailer types we offer (Ivory and Gray) are made with 100% recycled content. These bags did not create another round of waste, but instead are a useful output from waste. This was no easy task! Our partners told us it could not be done and that we’d have to settle for 40% recycled content but that just was not an option for us. We pushed, and pushed again – and now here we are.

Recyclable: Once they are used for your products, they can then be recycled again by your customers…and maybe become bags again. And we remind your customer of this right on the bag!

Tough: Eco does not mean wimpo. These bags hold up. After selling literally millions of them, we have not had a single customer say that they do not hold up as well as a virgin bag. Now we do only offer one thickness, so if you are shipping barbells or gold nuggets or sharp objectives, then you may want to choose a thicker material. But for any apparel, fabrics, small boxes, cosmetics, shoes, jewelry, etc., the EcoEnclose recycled poly mailers will stand up as well as any comparable mailer out there.

Made in the USA: This is important to us. Most bags are produced overseas, in poorly regulated (environmentally and humanistic) factories. They are then shipped thousands of miles over the ocean, all so you can save a couple pennies. By purchasing goods made in the USA, we are supporting jobs, local economies and the environment. Learn more about why we prioritize domestic manufacturing on our blog.

Reusable: Our 100% recycled poly mailers also have a dual self-seal adhesive strip. Why is this cool? If your customer wants to return it, they can do so easily, using your bag. If they simply want to use it again themselves – maybe to ship something out or as a sealed bag – they can. So they can actually reuse the bag, before they recycle it!

Pricing: 100% recycled bags that are made in the USA, with a reusable strip are more expensive to make than their commodity counterparts. But we have worked hard to ensure they are not more expensive to buy than those offered at similar quantities from Uline or Staples. We know less expensive options are out there, particularly if you are sourcing directly from China, but we believe that staying committed to the environment and our values is worth this cost differential. This is especially true when you compare the minor price differential to the overall value of the product. You and many of your customers probably drop your $.47 change in the coffee tip jar simply because you don’t want to carry it. Do you think your customers would want you to charge an extra nickel on their $30.00 order to invest in a better tomorrow?

Custom Printable: This is something we are so excited about! Generally, printing logos and designs on poly mailers require you to order thousands of them. We have developed the unique capabilities of being able to print single color designs on orders as low as 500 units. These bags are beautiful and eye-catching and printed with soy based (read: ecofriendly) inks that are made with renewable resources, release far fewer volatile organic compounds, and are significantly easier to recycle.

Shop custom poly mailers from EcoEnclose

Strong customer impression: Patagonia, Chipotle, Whole Foods, Starbucks…is it a coincidence that so many of the most successful large companies of the past decade are those that are extremely focused on the customer experience, environmental impact and product quality. You may not be as large as these guys, but your customers still notice your actions – big and small. EcoEnclose bags are branded with the “100% recycled material” and “Recyclable” so customers know you have made this important effort and commitment. Compare that to a generic bag with a hard to read font specifying the un-impressive “This bag is made of between 0% and 30% recycled material” or, in other words, “we kind of care, but not really”.

Now we wouldn’t be honest if we didn’t fess up to the downsides. It ain’t ALL good unfortunately and we do have some limitation. Our goal is to get you information that makes your decision easier.

Sizes: We offer quite a few sizes – 6x9”, 7.5x10.5”, 9x12”, 10x13”, 12x15.5”, 14.5x19”, 19x24”, and 24x24”. We’ve found that this size range works well for small items like baby onesies and socks to large items like quilts. However, our sizes don’t always meet the needs of companies selling other items like prints or books, that want their packages to fit perfectly around their products. If our poly mailer line does not meet your needs, we do offer other types of mailers – including kraft mailers, padded mailersbubble mailers, and rigid mailers – with different size options, as well as custom cut boxes of almost any style and size.

Two Colors: We love both the ivory and the matte gray color options of our poly mailers, but these are our only options currently. The reason for this is simple - just to access the unique recycled inputs for these bags we have to order massive quantities…and that doubles for each color we add. So far, we have not had very many requests for new color options, so it has not made sense to add any more, but as we grow, we hope to add more.

Printing Limitations: While we offer custom printing on relatively small batch sizes (when compared to other printing services for poly mailers), our post production print strategy and our water (read: sustainable) based ink commitment means that printing capabilities are somewhat limited and so we can only offer single color printing .

If you are interested in ordering 25,000 or more units of poly mailers, these limitations vanish! You can print both sides, edge to edge, multi-colored – you name it, the world is your oyster!

A Final Note On Paper Vs Plastic

If I am trying to be as ecofriendly as possible, should I use recycled paper or recycled plastic packaging?

Unfortunately, the answer is not black and white.

On one hand, paper is made from renewable resources. Our paper mailers, shopping bags, and corrugated boxes are made from 100% recycled material, and are recyclable and biodegradable. This is all great news!

But plastic, (especially recycled plastic), does have its advantages. Plastic is actually more energy efficient to produce and to recycle. Plastic mailers are also lighter than their paper counterparts, so shipping poly mailers is more energy efficient. And our recycled poly mailers are great if you need a weather resistant barrier.

So…now what? When it comes to packaging, there is no perfect answer. The best approach is to first consider what you need to ship and how it will be best protected in transit and presented to your customer. For some items, like a bottle of lotion or an art print our paper mailers (such as our padded mailer or our rigid mailer) just make more sense. For other items (like a t-shirt), recycled poly mailers may be just right.

Learn More:

Paper vs Plastic vs Bioplastic

Transitioning From Poly To Paper Packaging

The great news? Well first, whatever way you do decide to package your goods, we have an eco-friendly option available for you. Second, we are here to help. If you need any assistance in finding the perfect product to meet your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.