Plastic wrap, cling film, shrink wrap, Saran wrap, cling wrap or food wrap is a thin plastic film typically used for sealing food items in containers to keep them fresh over a longer period of time. Plastic wrap, typically sold on rolls in boxes with a cutting edge, clings to many smooth surfaces and can thus remain tight over the opening of a container without adhesive. Common plastic wrap is roughly 0.0005 inches (12.7 μm) thick. The trend has been to produce thinner plastic wrap, particularly for household use (where very little stretch is needed), so now the majority of brands on shelves around the world are 8, 9 or 10 μm thick.
Plastic wrap was initially created from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which remains the most common component globally. PVC allows permeability to water vapor and oxygen transmission, which can add to the duration of peak freshness of the food products wrapped. There are concerns about the transfer of plasticizers from PVC into food.
A common, cheaper alternative to PVC is low-density polyethylene (LDPE). It is less adhesive than PVC, but this can be remedied by adding linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), which also increases the film's tensile strength.
In the US and Japan, plastic wrap is sometimes produced using polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC), though some brands, such as Saran wrap, have switched to other formulations due to environmental concerns.
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Plastic wrap is often used to wrap food to preserve its freshness and to prevent contact with insects and any other potential contaminants.
- Wrapping premature babies in plastic wrap immediately after birth helps prevent low temperature before arrival to the neonatal intensive care unit.
- Plastic wrap is used to contain the external organs of babies with rare medical conditions prior to surgery.
- Stretch wrap, plastic wrap used in large-scale industrial/commercial packaging
- Wax paper
- Aluminium foil
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