Newspaper Pros - Extremely cheap; many people use newspaper for packaging because of its availability. Cons - leaves ink residue, poor protection.
Bubble Wrap Made by layering polyethylene over a large metal plate with wells. Suction pulls the plastic into the wells and another layer is added over the top to trap the air. Used to package smaller items like CDs. Relatively expensive to manufacture and purchase. Good to use for electronics because the plastic can be anti-static to protect the device.
Styrofoam Made of polystyrene; melted down and has chemicals like hexane dissolved into it and is then extruded and allowed to cool in a reduced pressure atmosphere. Used in industry to for protecting goods during shipment and is also being used for insulation in houses. Cheap to buy, easy to shape, good vibration dampening. Cons - environmentally unsafe (not recyclable); some cities do not allow restaurants to use styrofoam for fear of contaminating food.
Biodegradable Styrofoam Similar process to making Styrofoam but uses polyvinylalcohol. Is now used by “environmentally friendly” companies to make consumers feel good. Environmentally safe; biodegradable. More expensive than Styrofoam, dissolves in water (rain on boxes can reduce the effectiveness of your packaging)
Which Type Failed?
Which type to use? Cheapskate: Newspaper High Impact: Styrofoam Durability: Biodegradable for larger items; bubble wrap for smaller items