Q:

How is cellophane made?

A:

Quick Answer

According to About.com, cellophane is made from cellulose fibers, which usually come from wood or cotton. The cellulose fibers are sent through a narrow slit into an acid bath. As the acid regenerates the cellulose fibers, a thin film forms. The film is then washed, bleached and processed to yield cellophane.

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Full Answer

According to Prism Pak, Inc., a producer of cellophane bags, some cellophane bags are made from a man-made polymer known as BOPP, or bi-axially oriented polypropylene. However, the cellophane bags made from cellulose that have been derived from plants, such as wood or cotton, are biodegradable.

Since cellulose is a natural fiber that forms the rigid cell wall of plants, it biodegrades. This natural cellulose undergoes a series of chemical baths, which remove the impurities. Then, as the cellulose film begins to form, chemicals are added to make the material more flexible. Since this form of cellophane is mainly formed from natural cellulose, with the assistance of micro-organisms, it biodegrades along with dried plants and leaves.

Due to its biodegradability, natural cellophane is gaining in popularity over chemical-based cellophane. This is especially the case in the food production industry, where cellophane is used to wrap food. However, cellophane made from BOPP is still popular. Even though BOPP cellophane is not biodegradable, it is recyclable.

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