Whoever would have thought that stretch film – that miniscule layer of film that keeps stacked pallets from toppling during warehouse handling and overland transit – would have a total consumption weight of 1 billion pounds per year? Keep in mind that figure accounts for just the United States’ total alone. Given the rising global popularity of stretch film, especially in the newly industrialized nations of Asia, one can only forecast ever more billions of pounds of potential wastage. In sum, all that wafer-thin plastic would require a pretty big wastebasket to fit in.
Part of the reason that so much plastic stretch wrap is used is due to sheer human inefficiency. The typical warehouse day-shift worker will stretch a sheet of film only to 25-50% of its full stretch capacity. Compare this fact to just how far a stretch wrap machine can stretch plastic film around a load of pallets: some machines are in fact capable of stretching well beyond 100% of the theoretical intended amount. If you’re new to buying one of these machines, keep a watchful eye on the web for sales deals at any number of companies, or check out Chicago’s own biannual Pack Expo and meet the manufacturers face-to-face.