10 NOV, 2023
 / Materials

Plastic films: properties and uses

A PrintPack customer service representative ready to assist clients with choosing the best films for their product.

What material is best for my product?

The material for your product's packaging is critical to achieving visual appeal, freshness, and market success. PrintPack can help you select the best material for your product requirements. This guide will overview our main offerings, namely plastics (e.g. BOPP, PET, CPP, PE) and laminates (e.g. aluminum, paper).


Polypropylene (PP)

Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) films are the most widely used plastic film in the food packaging industry. BOPP films are created through the extrusion and stretching of polypropylene in two directions, both longitudinally and transversely, improving BOPP’s strength and clarity.

BOPP films are a highly adaptable and economic choice for food packaging, including snacks, grains, pasta, cereal bars, and ice cream. They are also used for tags, labels, overpacks, and hygiene products.

BOPP available at PrintPack include:

  • BOPP Transparent (BOPP TR)
  • BOPP Matte (BOPP MAT)
  • BOPP Pearlised

Polyester (PET)

Biaxially Oriented Polyester Terephthalate (BOPET) plastic film is another biaxially stretched film widely used in flexible packaging industries. PET is more expensive than BOPP, and is often chosen for its higher transparency and heat resistance. It is moreover less rigid and possesses a lower tensile strength than BOPP.

BOPET is most often used for beverages, foods, and personal care products, such as pouches, chicken bags, potato chips, wet wipes, labels, and a carrier film for thermal transfer printing.

PET available at PrintPack include:

  • Polyester Transparent (PET TR)
  • Polyester Matte (PE MAT)
  • Polyester with Poly-Vinylidene Chloride (PET PVDC)

Polyethylene (PE)

PE is a commonly used plastic material for flexible packaging, being the most economic, but having the least protective barrier properties.

PE is available in multiple densities, from low to high:

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is heat sealable, chemically inert, odour free, and shrinks when heated, making it great for shrink wrap for bundling and protecting products. It offers a good water vapor barrier but is not protective against gas. It is less expensive than most films and so used for frozen goods, pouches, and bags.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) has lower permeability to gases and moisture to LDPE. Moreover, it has higher tensile and bursting strength, but lower impact and tear strength than LDPE. It can be heat-sterilised or used in ‘boil-in-the-bag’ applications. HDPE is suitable for shrink-wrapping, and also to perforate holes and use with bakery products and fresh foods.

Cast Polypropylene (CPP)

Cast Polypropylene (CPP) film is typically glossier and clearer than other films with good barrier properties.

CPP is used in laminations where high flexibility, cold resistance, and impact resistance are required (e.g. pasta).


Laminates are composite films where one or more layers are covered with metals or paper.

Metal laminates, often coated thinly with aluminum, provide an extra layer of protection and are preferred for applications where extended shelf life is needed.

  • BOPP Metalised (BOPP MET)
  • Cast Polypropylene Metalised (CPP MET)
  • Polyester Metalised (PET MET)

Paper laminates offer an appealing natural aesthetic, makes consumers feel it’s environmentally friendly and healthier.

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