Polystyrene Boxes v Reflective Air Bags

With our 3D Reflective Air Bags now available in 4 sizes from stock as standard, (including as a meat box liner – the Eurobox – designed specifically for meat traders who typically use a solid board box), we’ve decided to put them to the test against traditional polystyrene shippers to see which really takes the cake (literally!)

  • So, in the red corner, we have the Polystyrene box. Traditional, lightweight & solid, these hold a firm spot in many food distributors hearts.
  • In the blue corner, we have the Reflective Air Bag. Modern, a bit of a whippersnapper and with cushioning and protective properties, we’ve seen huge success since we launched these last year!
  • Both are certified food safe, water resistant and leak-proof!

Let’s put them to the test….



Can be reused by the end user but may start to break apart.


Most people end up throwing these away really, as they take up a lot of room and nobody wants their carpet covered in polystyrene remnants!

The black EPP boxes are best for reuse, as they are stronger than the traditional Polystyrene versions.


Can be wiped clean to reuse again and again.


We’ve heard lots of good things about people reusing these, including as home insulation, car window covers and even as wrapping paper. This is because the material is the same as that used for pipe lagging and underlay, and has excellent thermal insulating properties!


Wide range of sizes from 1.5Kg up to 25Kg.


There are 3 box types we offer; Standard, Poly Plus & Deluxe.

Standard boxes are the traditional shippers and typically produced without drain holes.

Poly Plus boxes come with the added extra of an outer corrugated cardboard sleeve for additional protection and insulation.

Deluxe boxes are made from EPP and suitable for any type of hot or cold catering.


Two types available; 2D and 3D.


2D is available as a flat bag in a single bubble and single foil laminate in one size (Large) as this can be made to fit all size boxes up to 390 x 330 x 330mm

3D is available in 4 standard sizes and 2 combinations; single standard layer or high performance double layer. Bespoke size options also available.

3D bags when sold as part of a complete system come with a double strength white corrugated box as standard!


All 3 types of polystyrene boxes have excellent thermal properties and give rigid outer protection when used with a corrugated cardboard box outer.


Our Deluxe boxes, made from Expanded Polypropylene, are suitable for hot or cold food and more robust than the standard EPS boxes.

To send both frozen and chilled in the same box, our Thermal Pockets can be used in conjunction to provide separate thermal insulating packaging for the chilled food.


Our Reflective Air Bags can all maintain the cold chain for a MINIMUM of 24 hours, whether that be chilled or frozen (dependant on Ice Pack selection).


These bags also have protective and cushioning properties like bubble wrap, and should be used in conjunction with a corrugated cardboard box as part of a complete shipping system for ultimate protection – as above, 3D bags come as part of a complete system with a double strength corrugated box as standard!


Low MOQ on stock items such as the standard and Poly Plus boxes.


These come in either 20 boxes per parcel or 200 boxes per pallet.

We have a range of sizes available to choose in all types, so you won’t be at a loss to find the right box for your needs!


These are great value with a low MOQ of just 50 liners for standard sizes. Bespoke sizes available with a MOQ of 2,500.


These also provide a low cost postal/courier system to your customers and take up less storage space than traditional shippers.

The Large 2D bags also fit a variety of boxes so you don’t need to buy and stock a range of sizes.


Polystyrene shippers are “minimal assembly” boxes and come with “Easy Carry” finger recesses for easier transport.

They can be stacked for easy storage before use.

Tight fitting leads give extra protection in transit.


Reflective Air Bags (2D & 3D) do not need to be assembled as they come flat packed ready for use.


The 2D bags in Large fits a variety of box sizes so saves the need to stock a lot of different sizes – a “one size fits all” solution!

Both types are a compact storage solution, with up to 600 bags on just one pallet! This is turn saves on logistics costs, and your postal/courier cost to the end customer.

Both bag types also come with a Self-Seal adhesive strip which saves fiddly taping and also prevents against tampering in transit.

Who’s the winner? Hard to say – they both have their own unique selling points. We personally love our new Reflective Air Bags and we’d urge all of our customers to give them a try as we want you to be as amazed by the results are we are, for thermal insulation, protection and ease of use!

That said, there will always be a place at Hydropac for the more traditional Polystyrene shipper – we know it may not be as eco-friendly or as easy to store as the Bags are, but we also know many would hard pressed to find a better solution for their business and logistical needs.

Over to you…

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Knowledgebase Packaging branche