Plastic ream-wraps of paper

Sometime in the latter part of the 20th century paper manufacturers began wrapping their reams of paper in plastic film. Previously they used a good stout paper, sometimes waxed or lacquered on one side to add moisture resistance.

Plastic and paper wrappers

Three plastic packs, and one re-cycled and re-labelled paper wrapper

A flap at the end was easily lifted up, a finger slid between the wrappers and the glue quickly broken. Nearly every time the entire wrapper could be neatly removed. I was in the print trade at the time. (I still am, but on a small, short-run, scale.) It was not uncommon for one of our longer print runs to provide 100 sheets of really good quality wrapping paper. We had space to store it. We used it to wrap finished jobs and other packages. At one stage, twenty years ago, we had a pile a metre high. Now it is down to a hand-span high, or so. It hurt me when visiting other print shops to see the wraps torn off and scrunched into the waste bin. (Maybe that is not done anymore, now that recycling is more popular, and waste disposal for tradesmen is chargeable.) Occasionaly customers comment on our prudent act of recycling, but we did it for economy. It was a freeby. Clean brown wrapping paper does cost.

Then the manufacturers saw the advantages of plastic wraps ~ strong ~ easy to apply by machines from long rolls ~ contents visible for all to see.

My gripe (which they ignored) was that they were in the paper-making trade. PLEASE USE PAPER!

Ream wraps have been packed in plastic ever since. As with DVD shrink wraps they very tight and are not easy to remove. Some manufacturers applied "can be resealed" labels ~ great idea ~ but they never worked. The easy-lift flap was securely stuck down, and usually tore. It certainly did not help with opening, nor did it survive to re-seal.

Some plastics although very strong are exceedingly weak and likely to tear if a tiny scratch starts. The flaps are now so securely stuck down it is almost impossible to open them. I do have a note on this [113013]

Until an international ban on plastics arrives (this is written in 2019) they are unlikely to change, although some manufacturers still use paper wrappers. So I've had my rant. It may have some effect, somewhere.

Office printing machines do not like wrinkled paper, and it easy to bend a corner. Once we used cardboard storage boxes to protect loose sheets. Now we use strong plastic boxes with lids. In our defence ~ please suggest something else! ~ they will see out my lifetime as multi-use-items ~ they will be disposed of thoughtfully, I hope, by whoever has that chore.

Paper being kept for storage in strong "many use" plastic boxes

Boxes such as this are made in a variety of sizes, and can redily be found from resellers in the High Street or on-line (where carriage can be costly).






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