Steve Slye has an unusual mandate. As manager of paper giant James River's Business Services Department he must supply a steady stream of custom-packed samples of James River's Dixie® disposable cups plates and other products to sales reps and distributors nationwide. The samples are used to make sales presentations to major accounts. The catch: the fragile products must arrive in perfect condition. Dog-eared bent creased or crushed product samples make a bad impression and potentially lose sales. It's not an easy task according to Slye. He has tried just about every form of protective packaging to mitigate damage to the vulnerable products. "Our sales reps were complaining reshipments were high and packaging staff morale was slipping" says Slye. "More importantly we were losing business." About two years ago Slye's department in Easton PA began using a void-fill product consisting of a special plastic bag that's shipped flat and inflated with air with an inflator at the time of packaging. Supplied by Sealed Air's Packaging Products Div. (Saddlebrook NJ) the bag succeeded in locking samples in place providing ample cushioning during shipment. Complaints from reps dropped 75%. "And it has cut drastically our need to reship orders" says Slye. The bags have reduced material labor and shipping costs and freed up three pallets' worth of warehouse space. The special bags also withstand the temperature and pressure changes of air transport and deflate to less than one percent of original volume. Sealed Air claims the bags-made of a film that's extruded from a proprietary blend of resins-is recyclable in the low-density polyethylene waste stream. They aren't designed for reuse. The bags are designed to hold the air for up to a few months in transit.