A Lil’ different approach 
to packaging

Packaging manufacturing is steeped in history, but as a business we’re always looking to the future rather than the past. When our cardboard Lil® envelope was chosen by the world’s largest internet retailer in 2008, it was a game-changer for us and them in replacing unsustainable bubble mailers.
 
Since then, we’ve continued on our mission to eradicate plastics from ecommerce with patented inventions Lil bukwrap, mailbox, Breezebox, Lil bag and Lil voidfill to replace the need for any online retailer to ever use single-use plastic packaging again. 

That’s what you get when two very different brothers follow in their father’s footsteps!

Our Future

Net-Zero Carbon by 2030

We pride ourselves in producing plastic-free, 100% recyclable e-commerce packaging made from recycled papers and while most famed for our 2008 Lil envelope invention for Amazon [eg. A1, A2, and A3 as a sustainable alternative to plastic bubble mailers], we are working towards becoming a certified B corporation having helped prevent thousands of tonnes of single-use plastics from ending up in landfill and the environment.

We want to add Bcorp to our other environmental accreditations: PLASTICFREE, FSC®, and ISO14001.
‘mail happy’ represents positive impact in our every interaction of supply; not just happier for people, but better for the planet too. We can all do our bit in our daily decision making towards environmental improvement.

We are delighted to be a signatory of Amazon’s Global Optimism Project committing to net-zero carbon by 2040 and our Lil’ target is to be their first partner to achieve this by 2030.
The Climate Pledge is a connected world where technology and collaboration crack the climate crisis 10 years ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement.

Our history

Back in 1983 when, when our company was born, digital technology was more of a buzzword than reality, and in our early days, we were company known as the company that made packaging for Kodak photo papers, and by the turn of the Millennium we had become Europe’s largest manufacturer.

Today, our original business values are still our guiding principles. Producing over 1 million units / day from an 150,000 sq ft Cambridge manufacturing HQ, employing over 120 staff, our business today has way-exceeded all our early dreams as we celebrate providing multi-currency distribution services for the worlds’ largest internet retailers.

But our original business values are still our guiding principles today the largest producer of postal packaging to the World’s best known internet retailers.

1980's

1983

Our founder Roger Lill was born the same year that AB Tetra Pak was established in Lund, Sweden. The latter becoming the largest food packaging company in the world by 2021, still privately owned. Roger Lill, Jane Lill, Howard Clarke, Margaret Clarke, Paul Smith, Bob Stewart, Ruth Stewart, Paul Tucker – yes, Paul Tucker of the LightHouse Family, Roger recalls fond memories of Paul strumming his guitar during sunny lunch breaks.

1985

While founded to make LP mailers and cardboard envelopes, we become known as the company that made the packaging for Kodak - the largest photo processor.

Key staff recruited who dedicate 20-25 years service to Lil : David Denton, Sid Fearing, Craig Webber, Martin Purrell & Janet Holmes. Martin & Janet still working with us today.

1990's

1990

Turnover grows to £2m attracting the majority of photo processors. We relocate 5 miles to current Cambridgeshire site [20,000 sqft originally].

1995

The Dot.com boom creates surge in demand for CD pockets to be produced in their millions for insertion in the national newspapers; Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times etc. Million unit products also for AOL, Tiscali, Freeserve, BT, Psion, AOL Netscape, Yell

1996

Barry & Fred Lill [Roger & Jane’s two only children] join at the bottom of the ladder working as general factory labour on Saturdays and during breaks in their education at starting wage of £4/hr

1997

Roger Lill invents the ‘photofolder’ for ride-photography onboard Theme Park rollercoasters.

1999

By 1999, we had grown from our initial supply of Kodak enlargement envelopes to being Europe’s largest producer of cardboard envelopes. Manufacturing was now 100% dedicated to hot-melt peel & seal packaging [to eradicate plastic sealing tape], particularly since more websites were selling online. The Lil Bukwrap invention was born.

Lillenium

2000

Barry & Fred Lill [Roger & Jane’s two only children] join fulltime at the start of a new Lillennium, launching a company website at their earliest opportunity.

2003

Captain planet Barry Lill leads our company to major environmental certifications FSC® and ISO14001.

2008

Fred lands Amazon shortly after Royal Mail and Deutsche Poste introduce ‘Large Letter’ 25mm max thickness format making 8mm thick bubble mailers cost prohibitive for DVD boxed sets (18-23mm)

2010

2011

Awards aplenty as we open Sales & distributions Centres in USA, France, Australia & Italy.

2012

Our founders Jane & Roger Lill retire from day to day duties, handing the reigns to eldest son Barry as Managing Director and Fred as Sales & Marketing Director.

2013

Fred invents the pop-up Lil mailbox ® and earns patent. We also launch Lil flatpack for vinyl and 4 sizes of Lil twistwrap for Toys R Us to ship 95% of LEGO™.

2014

Barry invents our game-changing patented Breezebox® which delivers just what the premium internet retail industry has been looking for. No need for tape or void fill, this ingenious design features cleverly-integrated tissue which has just enough adhesion to securely wrap and protect whatever is inside. A packaging statement worthy of the Crown Jewels.

2017

Barry oversees major investment on 4 new machines to increase capacity and we open a factory shop for the Cambridgeshire community.

2018

Sir David Attenborough publishes his message on plastic pollution the same year Fred presents as Guest Speaker at the Environmental packaging Summit. By 2018 our sustainable inventions had replaced over 12,000 tonnes of single-use plastic packaging and all of our products are now certified PLASTICFREE and launch Lil bag as the sustainable alternative to polybags.

2020-today

The start of a new decade. Our eCommerce packaging is officially certified plastic free by A Plastic Planet.
 Fred presents our S.U.R.F. ethos 27 Feb 2020 just before Covid locks down the NEC… and the world. We acquire an additional 65,000 sqft building to cope with the 40% surge in demand in our ecommerce packaging.

See our Packaging in Action

If you’d like us to be involved in your packaging review, our team is on hand to answer your questions and we’d be delighted to create bespoke, artist impressions of unboxing experiences worthy of your brand.
Talk to Lil

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