These materials have been used since the very early times for domestic storage of food and other necessary items. But, with the glazed pottery, they have poor barrier properties which allow them to store foods and keep them clean. They are also not suited to the needs of commercial production and are considered less attractive by many customers than the ‘industrial’ materials.
Summary of the main types of traditional materials used with current uses are as follows:
Leaves, vegetable fibres and textiles
Leaves are very cheap and readily available and are usually used as wrappers for products such as cooked foods that are quickly consumed. Banana or plantain leaves are also used for wrapping traditional cheese and fruit confectionery such as guava and cheese. Maize leaves are also used to wrap corn, blocks of brown sugar. Pan leaves are used for wrapping various types of spices in India. As in the early day’s parcel box [กล่องพัสดุ, which is the term in Thai] was not available and no one would have ever even thought of it.
Some examples are coconut, palm, papyrus leaves and bamboo and rattan fibres, which are woven into bags or baskets and used for carrying meat and vegetables in many parts of the world.
Palmyra palm leaves are used to weave boxes in which cooked foods are transported, and small banana leaf bags are used to contain coffee beans that are a traditional gift in some parts of Africa. Some of these are packed for the potential to be developed as packaged products for tourist markets.
In the earlier times even wood, leather, earthenware (pots) was used for the packaging of various items especially the food items which were made so that they could preserve it for longer or carry with them without even spoiling it.
In the industrial markets, materials that are used for the packaging of items are usually made of glass, metal, paper, cardboard etc.