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Cellophane

How is real cellophane made?

Unlike man-made plastic polymers, which are mainly derived from petroleum, cellophane is a natural polymer made from cellulose, which is a component of plants and trees. It is made from digested wood pulp and cotton pulp, and goes through a series of chemical baths to remove impurities and break the long fiber chains in the raw materials. Although cellulose is regenerated into a transparent, shiny film, and plasticizing chemicals are added to increase flexibility, it is mainly composed of crystalline cellulose molecules. This means that it can be biodegraded with the help of microorganisms in the soil, just like leaves and plants.

Cellophane is one of the oldest transparent packaging materials used to package food. It was first listed in the United States in 1924. In the 1960s, a new type of "cellophane" film called polypropylene (PP) became popular because of its low manufacturing cost, large quantity, and excellent barrier properties. At this point, cello bags and cellophane bags began to refer to real cellophane (made of wood) and BOPP (biaxially oriented polypropylene).

Biodegradable and compostable?

Tests have shown that when buried or composted, the uncoated cellulose film usually decomposes within an average of 28 to 60 days. The coating cellulose decomposition time is 80 to 120 days. (In lake water, the average biodegradation time is 10 days for uncoated and 30 days for coated.) Unlike real cellulose, BOPP film is not biodegradable, but can be recycled. BOPP remains inert when discarded and does not soak any toxins into the soil or groundwater table. Unlike real cellulose, BOPP film is not biodegradable, but can be recycled. BOPP remains inert when discarded and does not soak any toxins into the soil or groundwater table.

Due to the green awareness and environmental protection market, the real cellophane is making a comeback today. It is 100% biodegradable and is regarded by many as a more environmentally friendly packaging material than BOPP.

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