Bindle paper is one of the tools that has long been used by forensic examiners to collect evidence and transport the evidence so that none of the contents are lost or contaminated. While many sophisticated techniques of forensic analysis and detection have emerged, the simple use of bindle paper remains an important part of an examiner’s repertoire.
Typically, bindle paper is used for so-called trace evidence such as fibers, hair, paint chips, crystallized or dust-like material such as drugs, or other tiny particles. This material is light and can be difficult to see, which increases the chances that it can go missing if not carefully stored.
Bindle paper is nothing more than a clean sheet of paper that is folded in a defined manner in a series of steps. An 8 × 12 inch sheet of paper is a convenient size to use. And can be easily transported to the scene of the accident or crime.
In order to house (place) the evidence, the flat sheet of paper is first lightly folded in thirds horizontally and vertically to create nine similarly sized squares. Next, the vertical creases are folded, with the left hand side of the paper folded first, followed by the right hand side. The bottom square is folded upward. At this point the evidence is placed into the opening at the tope edge of the paper. The top square is then folded down and the edge is inserted into the opening present in the lower folded square.
If done correctly, the evidence is secured inside the folded paper, which is then secured shut with tape. The package is never stapled shut, as this introduces holes through which the evidence might escape or contaminating air or moisture can enter.
At this point the bindle paper package can be put into an envelope for transport to the forensic laboratory. The folding design of bindle paper is preferred over an envelope. The manufactured corners, folds, and opening of the latter can all be places where evidence can be lost. Furthermore, the use of paper for trace evidence is preferred over plastic containers for evidence that can pick up an electrostatic charge, is moist, or which may require genetic analysis.