All about Poly Mailers

All about Poly Mailers
Published On:March 17, 2022 Revised On:September 27, 2023

Poly mailers have grown in popularity in the eCommerce shipping business, and with good reason. Poly mailers are a cost-effective, lightweight, and durable alternative to cardboard boxes because they take up less space in carrier vehicles, lowering shipping costs. According to Data Bridge, the market for polythene mailers will grow at a rate of 5% per year from 2021 to 2028 and will reach $ 1.7 billion. Two of the most significant concerns for eCommerce businesses are ensuring that goods arrive safely to customers and lowering expenses. Poly mailers help enterprises to achieve both.

What are Poly Mailers?

Polymailers, as the name implies, are primarily made up of polythene, a type of plastic known for its flexibility and durability. They are lightweight and moisture-resistant. These plastic bags come in many sizes and dimensions. They provide excellent resistance to dust, tampering, and moisture, ensuring that clients receive the items in perfect condition.

There are numerous methods for shipping products to customers, and cardboard boxes will continue to be the best packing for some products. However, there are some situations when poly mailers are a far better and less expensive option.

Benefits of Poly Mailers

Polymailers are typically more affordable than corrugated or cardboard boxes, especially in bulk. Some come with bubble-lined linings to prevent shipping damages, ensuring products remain intact during transit. They are reusable and recyclable, which cuts costs and is eco-friendly. Their lightweight nature reduces shipping expenses, and they take up less space, further decreasing costs due to dimensional weight considerations.

Flexibility is a major feature; polymailers adjust to the shape of their contents, eliminating unnecessary space. Their composition also contributes to weight savings, leading to lower shipping charges. Other notable characteristics include being water-resistant and protecting against moisture and spills. They are tear-resistant, enhancing their reliability during shipping. Polymailers can be opaque for privacy or transparent for visibility. Additionally, their exterior is printable, allowing for branding and customisation.

Variety in Sizes and Features

Polymailers come in various sizes, from small pouches for jewellery or electronics to larger ones for clothing or bulk items. For added protection, bubble-lined versions provide extra cushioning against shocks and impacts. Many have a self-adhesive strip, streamlining the packaging process by eliminating the need for extra tape—some feature tamper-evident seals, enhancing security for sensitive items.

Given the rise in e-commerce returns, some are designed to be returnable with dual adhesive strips. The customer can utilise the second strip for easy returns. Specialised features like UV protection, antistatic properties, or thermal insulation are available based on specific shipping needs.

Types of poly mailers

Each type of polymailer serves different purposes and offers varying levels of protection, convenience, and branding opportunities to cater to a wide range of shipping needs.

Standard Polymailers: Typically made from polyethene, they are lightweight, water-resistant, and tear-resistant. They are a basic protective envelope for various items and usually come with a self-sealing adhesive strip.

Bubble Polymailers: Equipped with an added layer of bubble cushioning inside, they offer increased protection against shocks, impacts, and vibrations. They are particularly useful for shipping fragile items or those needing more padding during transit.

Returnable Polymailers: Designed with e-commerce in mind, these come with dual adhesive strips. Once the recipient opens the package using the first strip, the second strip can reseal the packaging, making returns hassle-free and efficient. This feature is especially beneficial for businesses that experience high return rates.

Customised Polymailers: These are tailored to businesses’ needs or branding requirements. They can feature unique colours, logos, designs, and sizes. Beyond aesthetic customisation, they might also have specialised functional features, such as UV protection, antistatic properties, or thermal insulation, depending on the specific requirements of the shipper.

Layflat poly mailers: They have no bubble padding and are the most cost-effective option. They are ideal for non-fragile objects such as clothing or well-protected fragile items.

Clearview poly mailers: Features a clear front, allowing for optimum product display when the products reach customers’ doorstep. Businesses can customise the back of the mailer with branding, labels, or shipping information.

Tyvek poly mailers: Made from densely woven polythene fibres, they are manufactured to be more durable than other types of poly mailers.

Expansion poly mailers: These are heavy-duty, tamper-proof poly mailers that are great for larger objects. They are made of tough polythene, are tear-resistant, and have a padded bottom.

Eco-friendly poly mailers: These are custom-designed for eco-conscious businesses, including biodegradable, compostable, and recycled options. They are ideal for eco-friendly businesses focused on reducing waste and increasing the use of renewable energy because they are safe for both customers and the environment.

What items can eCommerce businesses ship with poly mailers?

Any items in durable packaging: If a product is already in sturdy packaging, packing it in a cardboard box will be unnecessary. On the other hand, poly mailers are ideal for delivering such items and any other soft and flat items that cannot easily be crushed, such as phone cases, a deck of playing cards, and smaller board games.

Apparel: Poly mailers are ideal for shirts, footwear, and jeans that cannot be crushed in transit. Cloth and fabric-based products such as bedding and yarn can also be shipped. When shipping clothing with delicate beading and jewellery, it is best to utilise bubble mailers to prevent damage.

Books and printed media: Bubble mailers are ideal for transporting books and printed media because they provide additional padding to avoid rips and dents.

Health and beauty products are a great way to distribute health, beauty, and wellness products. Vitamins, supplements, cosmetics, and nutrition goods are popular in this area. These products can be safely transported using poly mailers as long as they are encased in sturdy materials.

Are poly mailers sustainable?

The most commonly used poly mailers are unsustainable since they are derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource. However, if recycled, they are more sustainable since businesses may utilise them to make more items without producing more plastic from virgin crude oil.

Additionally, poly mailers are made from a durable material that will ensure products last for an extended period. This will result in less waste entering the environment as it may be reused for long periods, requiring fewer materials for continuous manufacture. Nonetheless, these plastic shipping envelopes can be hazardous to the environment, especially in high quantities. So, the following are some ways to recycle and reuse poly mailers.

How to recycle poly mailers

Most poly-mailers, made of a material called polyethene, can be recycled. However, recycling polythene products like shopping bags and eco-friendly poly mailers is more complex than recycling cardboard boxes. It is also vital for wholesale poly mailers to be disposed of properly to avoid landfills. Poly mailers can be dropped off at local grocery and retail stores with plastic grocery bags and poly mailer collection bins.

In Singapore, the drop-off point is near the SingPost POPStation or Central Plaza near Tampines Hub. Before dropping off used mail packaging, removing any private information on mailing labels is crucial. This can be done by using alcohol or nail polish remover to remove permanent marker ink or by writing over private information with a dry-erase marker before wiping it off. All old logos and shipping labels should also be covered or blacked out.

How to reuse poly mailers

Poly mailers are reusable. However, the adhesive strip on the poly mailer cannot be reused. The envelope must also be carefully opened so that its resealing ability is not compromised. Instead of breaking the seal, delicately cut open the top of the envelope. When reusing, fold the top over and secure the poly mailer with packaging tape. The disadvantage is that poly mailers cannot be reused indefinitely because there are limited times they can be cut open and resealed with tape.


From the basic protection offered by standard polymailers to the enhanced cushioning of bubble variants, the convenience of returnable options, and the distinctiveness of customised versions, polymailers have carved a niche for themselves in the packaging industry.

These plastic mailing bags are tough, resilient, and long-lasting. They are also a great way to aid the environment while ensuring product quality, protecting items, and keeping them safe during shipping. Stream Peak supplies various poly mailers suitable for various shipping needs, whether standard poly mailers, bubble-lined options for added protection, returnable versions for e-commerce convenience, or customised ones for branding purposes.