What is Polypropylene Sheeting?

J. Airman

Polypropylene sheeting is a non-woven plastic polymer fabric used in a wide variety of packaging, promotional, and protective applications. The lightweight and durable polypropylene material is used to make extruded and heat-molded plastic items. Pressing the polymer into thin sheets creates an effective and inexpensive shield against most liquids and chemicals. Many disposable diaper companies use polypropylene sheeting to form a final barrier against moisture leakage. Sheeting made of polypropylene can often be recycled into new plastic materials.

Polypropylene may be molded and used for bottling milk, soda and other beverages.
Polypropylene may be molded and used for bottling milk, soda and other beverages.

The strength and durability of polypropylene sheeting makes it an ideal material for packaging. A sealed package made from polypropylene typically protects the quality of its contents from the factory to the consumer. Large sheets of the thermoplastic polymer are heat sealed into bags and tube packages. Starting with polypropylene sheeting allows the package manufacturer to customize the package size and shape for each client. Clear, colored, or printed sheeting can be used to accent the contents of the sealed package.

The ability to recycle polypropylene products is another one of the important properties of polypropylene.
The ability to recycle polypropylene products is another one of the important properties of polypropylene.

Cut polypropylene sheeting sections are often sandwiched together with a corrugated support panel in the middle to increase their rigidity. Thicker corrugated polypropylene sheeting is widely used to create low-cost promotional signage. Graphics and text are typically printed directly onto the plastic surface on one or both sides of the sign. Signs made from polypropylene sheets are capable of withstanding extreme heat and cold conditions in the harshest environments.

Some painters' drop cloths are made from or coated with polypropylene sheeting. A drop cloth is a sheet used to protect valuable surfaces while applying paint to a nearby surface. Coated drop cloth varieties often have cotton or another woven fabric at their core for added strength. Drop cloths made only from propylene are usually clear or opaque and less expensive than cloth varieties. All types of polypropylene drop cloths are designed to be folded up for reuse on another project once the splattered paint dries.

Mattress stains and damage can be completely prevented once the polystyrene sheeting is covering all the exposed sides. Waterproof polypropylene sheeting is broadly used to protect mattresses from sleepers with bladder control issues. After an accident, the sheets and blankets can be removed for washing and replaced after the plastic sheeting gets a disinfecting wipe down. Protective plastic sheets may have elastic strips attached all around or at the corners to hold the polystyrene cover onto the bed. Sharp, pointed objects like pencils and pens poke through polypropylene sheets with very little force.

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Discussion Comments


@everetra - There’s actually a manufacturing company near where we live that produces high density polyethylene sheets. I don’t know if the stuff they make is used to package software but I do know that they use it in transportation, to wrap palettes and stuff like that.

There are two things you find in a lot of palette containers - these types of sheets, and if you have boxes, lots of popcorn Styrofoam. Both of these things are very effective packaging materials in my opinion, and I think they are inexpensive to produce as well.


The “shrink wrap” that packages many products is made with this kind of polyethylene sheet. I see it a lot in store bought software. It does more than protect the product’s contents. It’s the final seal of approval.

An unbroken shrink wrap means that the box has never been opened before. Frankly, once you remove the shrink wrap, you can’t put it back on again; it’s like trying to unscramble eggs.

As a consumer I appreciate the added security that I get knowing that an item is new. Sometimes manufacturers will add an extra seal of authentication to the packaged software box, but for me the shrink wrap is good enough.

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