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What You Need to Know About PLA Shrink Film

Jul. 10, 2023

PLA (Polylactic Acid) shrink film is a type of biodegradable and compostable packaging material that has gained popularity as a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional shrink films. Derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane, PLA shrink film offers several advantages and considerations that are important to know. Let's explore the key aspects of PLA shrink film:


Environmental Benefits:

PLA shrink film is made from plant-based materials, which makes it a more sustainable option compared to traditional shrink films derived from fossil fuels. It is biodegradable and compostable, meaning it can break down naturally and return to the environment without leaving harmful residues. PLA shrink film reduces the carbon footprint associated with packaging and aligns with environmentally conscious practices.


Shrink Properties:

PLA shrink film has excellent shrink properties, allowing it to conform tightly to the shape of the product or package when heat is applied. It offers good clarity, providing visibility to the packaged items. The shrinkage process creates a tight, secure, and protective wrap around the product, enhancing its appearance and ensuring product integrity during storage, transportation, and display.

PLA Shrink Film

 PLA Shrink Film

Heat Activation:

PLA shrink film requires heat for activation. It typically shrinks at lower temperatures compared to other shrink films, reducing energy consumption during the shrink-wrapping process. However, it is important to note that PLA shrink film may require slightly higher heat settings compared to traditional shrink films, and equipment adjustments might be necessary for optimal shrinkage.


Film Thickness:

The thickness of PLA shrink film can vary depending on specific requirements and applications. Thicker films provide greater durability and strength, making them suitable for heavier or more rigid products. Thinner films offer flexibility and are ideal for wrapping lightweight or delicate items. Consider the characteristics and protection needs of your products when selecting the appropriate thickness of PLA shrink film.


Storage and Shelf Life:

PLA shrink film should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat. Exposure to moisture or heat can accelerate the biodegradation process and reduce the shelf life of the film. It is important to check the manufacturer's guidelines for storage conditions and recommended shelf life to ensure optimal performance and shrinkability.


PLA Shrink Film

PLA Shrink Film

Compatibility with Packaging Equipment:

PLA shrink film can be used with various types of shrink-wrapping equipment, including manual, semi-automatic, and fully automatic machines. However, due to the different shrink characteristics of PLA compared to traditional films, adjustments to heat settings and equipment settings may be required. Consult the equipment manufacturer or supplier for guidance on optimizing the shrink-wrapping process with PLA shrink film.


Application Limitations:

While PLA shrink film offers several benefits, it is essential to consider its limitations. PLA shrink film may have lower tensile strength and puncture resistance compared to traditional shrink films, so it may not be suitable for packaging products with sharp edges or high-stress requirements. It is important to assess the specific needs of your products and conduct testing to ensure the film's suitability for your applications.


Composting and Disposal:

One of the key advantages of PLA shrink film is its ability to biodegrade and compost. It can be composted in industrial composting facilities that meet specific temperature and microbial requirements. However, it is important to note that PLA shrink film may not biodegrade in home composting systems or landfill conditions. Proper disposal methods, such as sending it to a certified composting facility, should be followed to maximize its environmental benefits.


In summary, PLA shrink film offers a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to traditional shrink films. Its excellent shrink properties, heat activation requirements, and environmental benefits make it an attractive option for various packaging applications. However, it is crucial to consider factors such as film thickness, compatibility with packaging equipment, and proper disposal methods to ensure optimal performance and environmental impact.

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