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Home /Biodegradable stretch film VS Plastic Stretch Film : A Comprehensive Comparison

Biodegradable stretch film VS Plastic Stretch Film : A Comprehensive Comparison

Table of Content

Material Composition:

Biodegradable stretch film and plastic stretch film have different material compositions, which impact their performance, cost, and environmental implications. In this section, we will discuss the primary materials used in both types of stretch films, followed by a comparison table for easy reference.

Biodegradable stretch film is typically made from renewable, bio-based polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA) or polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). These materials are derived from plant-based resources like corn, sugarcane, or other starch-rich plants. Biodegradable stretch films are designed to decompose over time under specific environmental conditions, such as the presence of moisture, oxygen, and microorganisms.

On the other hand, conventional plastic stretch film is made from petroleum-based polymers, such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). These materials provide excellent strength, durability, and elasticity but can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment, contributing to plastic pollution and landfill waste.

Comparison Table

PropertyBiodegradable Stretch FilmPlastic Stretch Film
Material CompositionPLA, PHA, or other bio-based polymersLDPE, LLDPE
SourcePlant-based resources (e.g., corn, sugarcane)Petroleum-based resources
Environmental ImpactDecomposes under specific conditions, reduced carbon footprintLong-lasting, contributes to plastic pollution
Strength & DurabilitySlightly lower than plastic stretch filmHigh strength and durability
Shelf Life & StorageMay have shorter shelf life, sensitive to temperature and humidityLonger shelf life, more resistant to environmental factors
CostGenerally higher due to material and production costsLower initial cost
Customization OptionsLimited availability, potentially higher costMore readily available, greater variety of options

In summary, the material composition of biodegradable stretch film and plastic stretch film influences their environmental impact, performance, and cost-effectiveness. By understanding these differences, you can make an informed decision about which packaging solution best aligns with your business’s sustainability goals and requirements.

Environmental Impact:

As global awareness of the environmental consequences of plastic waste increases, the choice between biodegradable stretch film and traditional plastic stretch film becomes more significant. In this section, we will discuss the environmental impact of both types of stretch films, focusing on their decomposition, carbon footprint, and contribution to plastic pollution.

Biodegradable Stretch Film:

Decomposition: Biodegradable stretch films are designed to break down under specific environmental conditions, such as exposure to moisture, oxygen, and microorganisms. They can decompose into natural elements like carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, typically within a few months to a few years, depending on the specific material and conditions.

Carbon Footprint: Since biodegradable stretch films are derived from plant-based resources like corn or sugarcane, they have a smaller carbon footprint than petroleum-based plastic stretch films. The production of bio-based polymers consumes less energy and releases fewer greenhouse gases than the production of traditional plastics.

Reduced Plastic Pollution: The use of biodegradable stretch film can help alleviate the issue of plastic pollution, as it decomposes more rapidly than conventional plastic, reducing the amount of plastic waste in landfills and natural environments.

Plastic Stretch Film:

Decomposition: Plastic stretch films made from LDPE or LLDPE can take hundreds of years to decompose in the environment. As they break down, they can release harmful chemicals and microplastics, which pose risks to wildlife and ecosystems.

Carbon Footprint: Petroleum-based plastic stretch films have a larger carbon footprint than biodegradable alternatives. The production and disposal of traditional plastics contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Plastic Pollution: The use of conventional plastic stretch films contributes to the global plastic waste problem. These plastics can accumulate in landfills or enter oceans and other natural environments, causing harm to wildlife and ecosystems.

In summary, biodegradable stretch film offers several environmental advantages over traditional plastic stretch film, including faster decomposition, a smaller carbon footprint, and reduced plastic pollution. By considering the environmental impact of the packaging materials used, businesses can make more sustainable choices and contribute to global efforts to mitigate the harmful effects of plastic waste.

Performance and Durability:

Performance and durability are crucial factors to consider when choosing a stretch film for packaging applications. In this section, we will discuss the performance and durability of biodegradable stretch film compared to plastic stretch film, including factors such as tensile strength, tear resistance, and cling properties. A comparison table is provided for easy reference.

Biodegradable stretch films have come a long way in terms of performance, and many formulations can now offer comparable performance to conventional plastic stretch films. However, some biodegradable stretch films may have slightly lower tensile strength and tear resistance than their plastic counterparts. These differences are generally minimal and may not significantly impact the overall performance in many applications.

Both biodegradable and plastic stretch films offer good cling properties, ensuring that they adhere well to products and pallets during transportation and storage. However, it is essential to consider the specific application requirements and choose a stretch film that offers the right balance of strength, durability, and environmental impact.

PropertyBiodegradable Stretch FilmPlastic Stretch Film
Tensile StrengthGenerally slightly lower than plastic stretch filmHigh tensile strength
Tear ResistanceMay have slightly lower tear resistance than plastic stretch filmHigh tear resistance
Cling PropertiesGood cling properties, comparable to plastic stretch filmGood cling properties

In conclusion, while there may be some differences in performance and durability between biodegradable and plastic stretch films, many biodegradable films can now offer competitive performance in a variety of applications.

Shelf Life and Storage Conditions:

Biodegradable stretch films may have a shorter shelf life than their plastic counterparts, as they can begin to degrade under certain environmental conditions. They are sensitive to temperature and humidity, and their performance and shelf life can be affected by exposure to these factors. Therefore, it is crucial to store biodegradable stretch films in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, and use them within their recommended shelf life to ensure optimal performance.

Plastic stretch films have a longer shelf life and are generally more resistant to environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity fluctuations. They can be stored under a broader range of conditions without affecting their performance or integrity.

Comparison Table

PropertyBiodegradable Stretch FilmPlastic Stretch Film
Shelf LifeShorter shelf life, may degrade over timeLonger shelf life, resistant to degradation
Storage ConditionsSensitive to temperature and humidity, should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlightMore resistant to environmental factors, can be stored under a wider range of conditions

In summary, biodegradable stretch films require more careful storage and handling to maintain their performance and shelf life, while plastic stretch films offer greater flexibility and resistance to environmental factors. By understanding these differences and considering the specific storage conditions and shelf life requirements of your packaging materials, you can make an informed decision about the most suitable and sustainable stretch film option for your business.


When selecting a stretch film for your packaging needs, cost-effectiveness is a crucial factor to consider. In this section, we will discuss the cost implications of choosing biodegradable stretch film compared to plastic stretch film.

Biodegradable Stretch Film:

Material and Production Costs: Biodegradable stretch films are generally more expensive than plastic stretch films due to the higher cost of plant-based materials and the specialized production processes required to manufacture them. However, as the demand for eco-friendly packaging solutions increases, economies of scale may help reduce the price difference over time.

Potential Long-term Savings: While the upfront cost of biodegradable stretch film is higher, it can offer long-term savings by reducing waste disposal costs and the potential environmental liabilities associated with plastic pollution. Additionally, using biodegradable packaging materials can improve a company’s sustainability credentials, which may attract environmentally-conscious customers and improve brand reputation.

Plastic Stretch Film:

Lower Initial Cost: Traditional plastic stretch films typically have a lower initial cost due to the widespread availability of petroleum-based materials and well-established production methods. This cost advantage can be significant for businesses with tight budgets or high-volume packaging requirements.

Potential Hidden Costs: Although plastic stretch film has a lower upfront cost, it may come with hidden long-term costs related to waste disposal and environmental impact. Companies may face increased scrutiny and regulation regarding their plastic waste management, potentially resulting in additional expenses for proper disposal or penalties for non-compliance.

In conclusion, while plastic stretch film may have a lower initial cost, biodegradable stretch film can offer long-term savings and environmental benefits that should be considered when making a packaging decision. By weighing the cost implications of both options, businesses can choose the most cost-effective and sustainable stretch film solution that aligns with their budget and sustainability goals.

Industry Applications:

Both biodegradable and plastic stretch films are used across various industries for their packaging and shipping needs. In this section, we will discuss the common applications of these stretch films in different sectors. A comparison table is provided for easy reference.

IndustryBiodegradable Stretch Film ApplicationsPlastic Stretch Film Applications
Food & BeverageWrapping perishable items, eco-friendly food packaging, reducing food wastePreserving freshness, bundling products, securing pallets during transportation
Retail & E-commerceSustainable packaging for shipping, promoting eco-conscious brand imageProtecting products during transit, pallet wrapping, inventory management
PharmaceuticalsEnvironmentally-friendly packaging, reducing waste in pharmaceutical supply chainSecuring pharmaceutical products during transportation, tamper-resistant packaging
Logistics & WarehousingGreen alternatives for pallet wrapping, reducing plastic waste in logisticsStabilizing pallets, securing goods during transit, inventory protection
Manufacturing & IndustrialEco-friendly packaging for products, reducing plastic waste in manufacturing processesProtecting products during storage and transportation, bundling and unitizing items
AgricultureSustainable packaging for agricultural products, reducing plastic pollution in agricultureProtecting and preserving agricultural products, bundling and securing items during transit

In summary, both biodegradable and plastic stretch films are used across a wide range of industries for various packaging and shipping applications. The choice between these two options depends on factors such as sustainability goals, budget, and performance requirements. By considering the specific needs of your industry and application, you can select the most suitable and eco-friendly stretch film option for your business.

How to Customize Biodegradable Stretch Film:

Customizing biodegradable stretch film to suit your specific packaging needs involves several steps, from selecting the right material to determining the appropriate film thickness, size, and other specifications. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to customize biodegradable stretch film for your business.

  • 1.Material Selection: Choose a biodegradable material that meets your sustainability and performance requirements. Common materials include PLA (polylactic acid), PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), and other bio-based polymers derived from plant-based resources like corn or sugarcane.
  • 2.Film Thickness: Determine the appropriate film thickness based on your packaging needs. Thicker films provide better puncture and tear resistance, while thinner films may offer better cost-efficiency and lower environmental impact. Common thicknesses range from 12 to 30 microns, depending on the application.
  • 3.Film Width & Length: Specify the width and length of the stretch film rolls according to your packaging equipment and product dimensions. Custom widths and lengths can help optimize material usage and reduce waste.
  • 4.Color & Clarity: Select a color and level of transparency for your stretch film, depending on your branding and product visibility requirements. Clear films allow for easy product identification, while colored or opaque films can provide additional UV protection or enhance brand identity.
  • 5.Additives: Consider incorporating additives to enhance the film’s properties, such as slip agents to improve machinability, UV stabilizers to protect against sunlight degradation, or anti-static agents to reduce static buildup during handling.
  • 6.Printing & Branding: Incorporate your company logo, branding elements, or essential product information directly onto the stretch film. Custom printing can enhance your brand presence and provide essential information for consumers, retailers, and logistics partners.
  • 7.Request Samples: Before committing to a large order, request samples from the manufacturer to test the film’s performance, compatibility with your packaging equipment, and overall suitability for your application.
  • 8.Place Order & Production: Once you have finalized the specifications, collaborate with a reputable biodegradable stretch film manufacturer to produce your custom film. Ensure that the manufacturer follows industry standards and complies with relevant regulations for biodegradable materials.

In conclusion, customizing biodegradable stretch film involves a thorough evaluation of your packaging needs and a careful selection of materials, dimensions, and other specifications. By working closely with a reputable manufacturer and following this step-by-step process, you can create a tailor-made biodegradable stretch film solution that meets your business’s unique requirements while minimizing its environmental impact.


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