You can generally look at packaging as falling into several different types of groups. Transport packages or distribution packages, for example, are packages that are used to ship, handle and store inner packages or products. Some people identify consumer packages as packages that are directly aimed for a household or a consumer.
Packaging is also capable of being discussed in relation to what type of product is actually being packaged within, such as bulk chemical packaging for example, or medical device packaging, over the counter packaging for drugs, food packaging for retail sales, military materials packaging, pharmaceuticals packaging and so on and so forth.
Different Packaging Categories
Sometimes it is convenient for people to categorize the different types of packaging based on their layer of function, such as primary packaging, secondary packaging, tertiary packaging and so on and so forth. In this particular scenario when it comes to identifying packaging based on its function, primary packaging is described as the material that is designed to envelope and to the specific product itself. Primary packaging is usually the absolute smallest possible unit of use or of distribution, and it is also commonly regarded as the packaging that actually comes in a direct level of contact with the actual contents. Secondary packaging on the other hand is the type of packaging that is outside of the primary level of packaging and this level of packaging functionality is often used specifically to group a number of primary packages together with one another. The third level of packaging is tertiary packaging, which is especially common for bulk handling, transport shipping as well as warehouse storage. The most common form of tertiary packaging is a palletized unit loan that is packed into tight containers.
When soda pop is poured into aluminum cans and sealed, the aluminum can is perceived to be the primary form of packaging because it is the closest form of packaging to the actual product. The aluminum cans are sold in cases made of cardboard, which are perceived to be the secondary form of packaging because they are the packages that contain the primary packages. Finally, the tertiary form of packaging is perceived as whatever specific form of packaging is used for the purpose of wide spread distribution, such as a pallet system for example, where a large number of cases of cans of soda are wrapped in shrink wrap and carried on large wooden pallets to their destination.
These broad categories are often viewed as being somewhat arbitrary in nature. For example, depending on the specific use, shrink wrap is capable of being considered as primary packaging when it is being applied directly to the specific product, but it is also considered secondary packaging when the shrink wrap is used to combine smaller packages, and in some distribution packs shrink wrap is used as tertiary packaging as it keeps large pallets of products together in one place.