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The Differences Between PVC, Polyolefin, and Polyethylene

July 29, 2022

Shrink wrap is a standard product packaging material because it’s durable, versatile, and has many applications. However, one size does not fit all. There are three main shrink film materials: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyolefin (POF), and polyethylene (PE). Learn their differences to understand better which plastic is best for your packaging.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC was once the most common material for shrink wrap packaging. But due to the release of harmful fumes when applying and disposing of the material, companies are slowly using it less and less. PVC was the packaging of DVDs, videogames, CDs, and other non-edible food items. While it has good tear resistance, it’s too sensitive to temperature changes and requires ventilation throughout the process of wrapping products because of the toxic fumes it releases.

Polyolefin (POF)

Polyolefin has become the elite replacement for PVC shrink film because it’s safer, has versatility, and has FDA approval for food contact. You can find this wrap on consumer products, such as food, toys, etc. Where PVC is lacking, polyolefin picks up the slack. This plastic may be more expensive, but it’s more temperature resistant and far more puncture resistant.

Polyethylene (PE)

Buffalo Shrink Wrap is a shrink wrap wholesale supplier that sells polyethylene. This is a heavy-duty plastic film that works great for large industrial items or commercial products. Of the other films, this is the thickest and offers the most protection. It’s also the only recyclable material on this list. However, it requires more finessing and skill to ensure a decent wrap job on your products and machines.

The Takeaway

There are a few significant differences between PVC, polyolefin, and polyethylene. As you can see, PVC isn’t the best material to use. The latter two materials are more stretchable, durable, and safer for consumer and industrial products.

Ultimately, you’re more likely to choose between polyolefin and polyethylene. Whichever one you decide on from there will depend on the product or item you’re wrapping. Use Buffalo Shrink Wrap for all your heavy-duty product packaging needs.

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