Plastic packaging is a great solution for product manufacturers, it not only helps protect products but also increases competitiveness thanks to special uses. So what materials are plastic packaging made of and what are their uses? Please refer to the content of this article.

1. What are plastic films?

Often when people talk about plastic films—which technically are defined as plastic sold in thicknesses of up to 10 mils1—they treat them as one type of material, grouping all flexible plastic packaging into a single category. What they do not realize is that plastic films compose a broad category of materials that can be relatively simple or complex depending on the demands of a particular product or package.

Like plastic bottles and containers, the film can be made with different resins, each of which has a unique combination of properties that makes it ideal for certain applications. For example, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film acts as a gas barrier, which is necessary for packaging such things as chicken, which would quickly spoil if exposed to oxygen. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film, on the other hand, is gas permeable and necessary for packaging such things as red meat, which requires a small amount of oxygen inside the package in order to remain fresh.

The plastic film also can be clear or colored, printed or plain, single- or multilayered, and combined with other materials such as aluminum and paper. Thus, the only thing that all plastic film really has in common is that it is flexible in nature, as used in grocery bags, as opposed to rigid, as used in soft drink bottles and butter tubs.

2. In what application are films used?

Another reason why it is somewhat difficult to get a grasp on plastic film is that it is used in such a wide range of products and packages. Typically, its usage is divided into two general categories—packaging and nonpackaging—that can also be broken down into smaller components. For example, there are three types of packaging applications in which film is used: food, nonfood, and others. It is important to keep in mind that within each of these categories, plastic film can vary by resin and color; it also may be made of one layer of plastic or as many as ten layers depending on the complexity of the package. In addition, other materials—such as aluminum or paper—may be used in combination with plastic film in order to impart special properties. 

Food Packaging

Food packaging film is used in such things as in-store bags for produce (such as apples and potatoes); all nonfrozen baked goods (such as rolls and bread); bakery bread and bun bags; tray covers for institutional deliveries of bakery products; bags-in-a-box (film used to contain fluid in a supportive box, such as boxed wine); boil-in-bags (film used to contain food prepared by keeping it in the package and placing it in boiling water); candy and confection bags and wrappers; carton liners (for such products as cake mixes); and meat, poultry and seafood wraps (such as hot dog and bacon film).


Nonfood Packaging

Nonfood packaging film refers to such things as industrial liners (film used to line supported structures such as Gaylord boxes, frozen pork box liners, and liners for shipments of nuts and bolts), shipping sacks (film used to protect and/or contain contents such as bark and mulch bags), bubble packing, envelopes, multiwall sack liners, overwrap, and rack and counter bags.

Nonpackaging Applications

Of course, a great deal of film also is found in a category the industry refers to as nonpackaging applications. For example, it is commonly used to produce grocery, T-shirt and trash bags; can liners; agricultural film (such as greenhouse, fumigation and mulch films, haysleeve covers, and silage bags); construction film (such as vapor barriers in walls, moisture barriers under concrete, paint drop cloths and drapes); medical and health care film (such as garbage and hazardous material bags, I.V. bags and sterile wrap); garment bags; self-service bags; household wrap; and as a component of disposable diapers.

Other interesting page: What applications does PE film have in life?

3. Benefits of applying plastic film in life

The use of plastic film has grown steadily over time. Here are the benefits of plastic film:

Reduce material resources in production

Perhaps one of the biggest and most overlooked benefits of plastic film is its ability to substantially reduce the amount of material needed to make a product or package. How does it do that? Plastic has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means that manufacturers can use less material when making a product or package. 

Plastic film, however, has an even higher strength-to-weight ratio than rigid plastic, which means that manufacturers need even less material to make a package.

For example, a plastic film pouch used to deliver concentrated fabric softener is 85 percent lower in weight and volume than a comparable plastic bottle, yet it delivers the same quantity of softener to the consumer. The material minimization benefits that plastic film provides are among the reasons it has become a popular choice for packaging. In addition, if a package requires less material on the front end, it also creates less waste on the back end (i.e., waste minimization), which also makes plastic film desirable to manufacturers. 

Reduce production costs

Plastic film’s high strength-to-weight ratio also plays a significant role in a manufacturer’s bottom line. Because the very little plastic film is needed to produce a highly functioning flexible package, the manufacturer has to purchase less material for the package, which translates into lower costs.

Using flexible packaging also can reduce costs in other ways. It takes less energy to produce; it takes up less space in stores and in production facilities; its lightweight helps reduce transportation and fuel costs; because the packages are smaller, it requires fewer trucks for shipment; and distribution losses are minimized because it is easy to handle and does not break.

Functions to contain and protect products

Another benefit of plastic film is that it can fulfill all of the necessary functions of a package, including containing and protecting a product as well as providing convenience and information to the consumer.

Containment: Containment simply means that a package must be able to hold a product and give the consumer a convenient way to transport it. Because a film package can contain these and other products in the package and allows for easy transportation, it meets the packaging requirement of containment.

Protection: Protection comes in a variety of forms. For example, a film package used to contain clothing at a retail outlet protects it from dirt so that it is clean when the consumer buys and wears it. Similarly, the film around lunch meat helps keep the product free from bacteria; the film around potato chips keeps the product fresh and protects it from exposure to oxygen, moisture, and light; and the film around fresh fruit protects it from insects and helps keep it clean.

In these instances, the package made with the plastic film is protecting the product from exterior influences that could harm and/or devalue the product. A good package also helps preserve products. 


Film in packaging and nonpackaging applications also provide convenience to consumers. For example, the film can be clear, which allows consumers to see a product before they buy it or colored to protect the product from too much exposure to light. It can be fabricated in a variety of sizes which makes it ideal for very small and large products or products that are oddly shaped. The plastic film also can conform to the product, which helps save valuable shelf space at home and in the store. In nonpackaging applications, such as retail and storage bags, plastic film can be formed into packages with handles and drawstrings for easy carrying and zip-lock tops for repeated opening and closing. The plastic film also can be used as a mechanism to provide evidence of tampering with a product or package, important for consumer safety.


Finally, plastic film can be printed, which means that manufacturers of a product can relay important information to the consumer, such as the name of the product, its ingredients, and its value. In addition, instructions on how to use and/or prepare the product can be printed on the film package. These examples demonstrate that plastic film can fulfill the necessary functions of a package, which, in manufacturer has to purchase less material for the package, which translates into lower costs.

Using flexible packaging also can reduce costs in other ways. It takes less energy to produce; it takes up less space in stores and in production facilities; its lightweight helps reduce transportation and fuel costs; because the packages are smaller, it requires fewer trucks for shipment; and distribution losses are minimized because it is easy to handle and does not break.

4. A supplier of prestigious and quality plastic films

Union Packaging with many years of experience in the field of providing plastic films and plastic packaging is manufactured from virgin plastic particles and meets FDA standards. Customers can rest assured when cooperating with us because Union Packaging always ensures:

  • Customer satisfaction is the number 1 priority
  • Outstanding product quality from stable sources of quality goods from Taiwan and China
  • Competitive price
  • Reputation builds a brand
  • Product safety certification
  • Fast shipping
  • Various payment policies
  • Enthusiastic, dynamic, and creative staff
  • Providing a wide range of plastic films for packaging materials
  • Being a close partner of many suppliers

Union Packaging is a reputable and experienced supplier of OPP, CPP, MCPP, PET, MPET, PE laminated film…. in the industry. We always try to research, develop and improve product quality, improve customer care ability to meet the increasing demands of the domestic and foreign packaging market. Please contact us now: 0987 437 469 – 0903 750 384 for specific advice and quotation.


Address: No. 5, 3643A Street, Pham The Hien, Ward 7, District 8, HCMC

Tel: 0987 437 469 – 0903 750 384



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