Industrial Packaging Spotlight: Plastic Wrap

Call it what you like – plastic wrap, cling film, food wrap – this packaging solution has become ubiquitous in large and small-scale shipping, packing, and storage. Whether you’re wrapping up leftovers or securing fragile loads for a big truck delivery, chances are you’ve got a roll of plastic wrap in hand. But where did plastic wrap come from, and where is it going next?

At just 0.5 mils in thickness, plastic wrap doesn’t give the impression of strength and durability, yet it can absorb a surprising amount of abuse, and stretch to seven times its original length. Plastic wrap was actually an accidental invention created by Ralph Wiley at Dow Chemical in 1933. While cleaning glassware he discovered polyvinylidene – a substance in the vial that he could not wipe clean. However, this chemical wasn’t used to create what we all know today as plastic wrap for a long while. These were the war years after all, and Dow found that this chemical could be turned into a dark, greasy film that was great at protecting military planes against sea spray. Car manufacturers found that it also helped protect upholstery.

After the war, Dow needed to find home front uses for its wartime materials. So it removed the greasiness and green coloring from its plastic wrap and started marketing it as a great way to store and protect food. Saran Wrap hit the commercial market in 1949 and began its journey to becoming a household staple in 1953.

Today, most plastic wrap is made of low-density polyethylene, and has a myriad of uses outside the kitchen. It can be used to seal windows in winter, protect fragile items during shipping, and has even been known to prevent low temperatures in premature babies when used as swaddling in transit to the neonatal intensive care unit.

See how modern plastic wrap is made in this quick video:

Versatile packaging solutions like plastic wrap are just one of the packaging solutions we use at Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries. We provide packaging services to a wide array of customers across the Ohio Valley, and we delight in finding the right packaging solutions for them. Our dedicated workforce and non-profit mission allow us to provide our partners with an economic packaging outsourcing option without for-profit middlemen. We provide services for top brands, and our social mission benefits communities across Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

So when you’re ready to partner with a packaging service that can help you wrap up your stickiest job, look no further than Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries.