(also packaging), an article in which goods are wrapped, stored, and transported; a prerequisite for the uninterrupted process of reproduction.
In bringing products to the consumer, packaging protects the goods from loss and preserves their quality and quantity, facilitates the mechanization of loading and unloading operations, and makes possible efficient use of transportation facilities and warehouse space. It also accelerates the turnover of goods, commodities, and circulating capital and provides for smooth operation of enterprises and fulfillment of the goods turnover plan.
Packaging materials can be divided into consumer, or retail, packaging; industrial packaging; and transportation, or distribution, packaging. Consumer packaging is an integral part of the packaged product; it is delivered to the consumer together with the product and becomes the consumer’s property. Such packaging includes paper wrappers, cardboard boxes, metal cans, and various tubes and vials. The cost of the packaging is included in the total cost of any new product and is borne entirely by the consumer. The design of consumer packaging is intended to supply information about the contents and to provide easy product identification.
Industrial packaging is used within a factory or plant to transport raw materials, semifinished products, spare parts, and finished products between shops or to workplaces. Wooden boxes and crates, metal containers, and pallets are used in such instances.
Transportation packaging is used during the transport of goods from the producer to the consumer and for storage en route. This group includes wooden, metal, and plastic boxes, barrels, and drums, as well as flasks, fabric and paper bags, and packing fabrics. Other examples of transportation packaging are containers, packets, and stacks of trays, which are used not only as transportation packaging for delivery of goods to storage or sales locations but also as merchandising tools (merchandising packaging). The cost of such packaging is usually partially included in the cost of the goods.
The principal requirements for all types of packaging are light weight, high strength, and low cost. Expenditures for the manufacture and use of packaging are being significantly reduced by the development of specialization, standardization, and rationalization of product lines and by the use of promising new packaging materials. Repeated reuse of packaging and storage of goods in containers, on pallets, and in special motor vehicles and railroad tank cars also help reduce expenditures. Increased production of packaging materials made of cardboard, plastics, and wood fiber and wood chips leads to more efficient use of warehouse space and transportation facilities, decreases transportation and storage expenditures, increases the turnover of packaging materials, and reduces the demand for wood. Substitution of cardboard, paper, and plastic for the more expensive wood is acquiring great importance.
K. S. FETISOVA