Difference between container and packaging

The main difference between packaging and packaging is that packaging is the container that contains the product and packaging is the material that protects it for transport or handling.

Difference between container and packaging

The concepts of container and packaging are widely used in the accounting field due to their many peculiarities. There are returnable containers and packaging, included in the supplier invoices that must be accounted for correctly. Therefore, it is necessary to know in depth the difference between both concepts.

What are the differences between packaging and packaging?

To know the differences between container and packaging, we explain the characteristics of each one:

  • Container:
    • Its objective is to preserve the product under certain conditions.
    • It is part of the presentation of the product for the final consumer, so they usually have a neat and attractive design.
    • If they are reusable, they can be returned to the supplier link in most cases.
    • The most used materials are glass, plastic or cardboard.
  • Packaging:
    • It aims to protect the product from any damage during its handling, transport or storage.
    • It is also used to identify the merchandise.
    • Sometimes, it is used so that the end consumer perceives a good image of the product.
    • The materials most used for packaging are wood, paper, plastic or cardboard.

In the accounting area, when the containers and packaging must be returned to the supplier, they will be paid together with the total invoice. Subsequently, the corresponding amount will be returned after the delivery of said containers and packaging.

Although it is true, it is more common to find packaging than packaging to be returned. This is because the packaging is usually disposable and cannot be reused. An example of this would be the plastics that cover the merchandise on a pallet or the boxes that group multiple units of the product in question.

Example of containers and packaging

A fairly representative example can be found in the world of restoration. Beverage suppliers provide their customers with boxes containing a certain number of glass bottles.

In this case, the restaurant will pay the supplier an extra amount for the glass bottles. Said amount will be reimbursed in the event that said containers are returned. Regarding the packaging, the boxes that allow the transport of the bottles must be returned with all the hulls empty.

Example of accounting entry

In relation to the previous example, and for the case of Spain, we propose the following case. We made a purchase valued at € 300 in soft drinks:

Bill Has to To have
(600) Merchandise purchases 300
(406) Containers and packaging to be returned fifty
(472) Public Finance, input VAT (21%) 73.5
(400) Suppliers 423.5

Therefore, we have calculated the value of account 472, Public Treasury, input VAT after adding account 600 and 406 and multiplying the result by 0.21, referring to 21% VAT.

After the previous purchase, we proceed to the return of containers and packaging worth € 35. This is because several bottles have been broken during services. In this way, the accounting entry is made as follows:

Bill Has to To have
(602) Purchases of other supplies 18.15
(406) Containers and packaging to be returned fifty
(400) Suppliers 35
(472) Public Finance, input VAT (21%) 3.15

In this case, we incorporate into account 602 the value of the containers and packaging purchased with their corresponding VAT amount.

In conclusion, a container is the container that contains the purchased product and the packaging those wrappers, coatings or boxes that protect the product during transport.