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Brief Published: 22 Aug 2019

Self-Sealing Packaging for the E-Tail Boom


Online retail is booming, and with Amazon pushing same- and next-day delivery and smaller brands struggling to keep up, there’s a need for more efficient packaging. US brand 3M’s Flex & Seal wrapping is a well-needed design refresh that promises to reduce waste and save time.

The new offering is a shipping roll that condenses a box, filler and tape into one material. Flex & Seal is made from three layers of plastic. The inner grey material bonds to itself when pressed together, without sticking to the object inside. The middle layer consists of a bubble-wrap-like padding, while the exterior is tear and water resistant to protect the object in transit.

All users have to do is position goods on a sheet of Flex & Seal, wrap around the item with enough space to press and bond the material onto itself, and then post. If users make a mistake, they will have roughly 30 seconds to adjust the placement before the sides fasten together and will need to be torn or cut apart. This element also prevents parcels from being tampered with during the journey.

Flex & Seal is made from the same material as disposable plastic bags, which means the packaging can be recycled after use at designated locations. While not able to be easily recycled at home, Flex & Seal does offer improved eco credentials. Wrapping directly onto the object reduces the size and weight of parcels. This allows them to be shipped more efficiently, resulting in fewer shipments and less CO2 overall.

For more collapsible designs easing shipping and reducing waste, see ‘Sofa in a Box’ Caters to Generation of Movers. For our deep dive into how brands can be more sustainable and engage with conscious consumers, see Towards our Sustainable Future.