A Guide to Padded Envelopes
Padded envelopes are designed to give extra, padded protection to the contents of envelopes such as CDs, DVDs and other fragile objects. This section also contains protective envelopes which guard goods against water or scratching. Protective padded envelopes include Jiffy Bags, bubble bags and envelopes such as Jiffy Mailmiser, DuPont Tyvek envelopes and other plastic envelopes.
“He came back inside and picked up the padded envelope again. He stared at it, then squeezed it. It was fastened with staples” (emphasis added).
– Alan Titchmarsh, Rosie
Padded envelopes preserve their contents in a number of ways
- Bubble envelopes are padded with air-filled bubbles. The air is trapped in between impermeable plastic. The padding cushions the contents in these padded envelopes.
- Jiffy bags are similarly lined with air trapped in plastic. The idea of trapping air in this way emerged when the inventors were trying to create a textured wallpaper. This idea developed into bubble wrap.
- Tyvek envelopes aren't padded envelopes as such but protect their contents by virtue of the strength of Tyvek material. Tyvek is waterproof and tear, burst and puncture free. At the same time, though, it is lightweight and “breathable”.
- The principle advantage of plastic envelopes is that they are waterproof. But many plastic envelopes are also padded envelopes.
Which padded envelopes should I use?
Padded envelopes are not only useful for transit. Padded envelopes also provide protection in storage.
- Bubble-lined envelopes are suitable for fragile objects. The small air pocket padding absorbs external shocks. These padded envelopes also have strong puncture- and tear-resistant paper, often kraft paper. You might use them as an added protective layer in which to put a CD envelope or jewellery – though not too fragile.
- Tyvek may not provide the padded protection needed for fragile items but they will afford safe transit for less delicate bulky items. Because they are tear-free they are also ideal for important documents like contracts and certificates.
- Polylope envelopes are not only weatherproof and tear-proof but they are lighter – and therefore cheaper – than conventional paper envelopes. They can be used as normal mailing envelopes with added protection against rain and tear, suitable for paper document items you don't want damaged in transit.