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Polythene Packaging Products – Every Type, Explained

Polythene packaging comes in all shapes, sizes, thicknesses, colours, blends… you get the picture – it’s versatile stuff!

And so, polythene is not all equal. That’s why we have recycling symbols, and why there are different use cases for packaging products. In this post, we’ll run through all of NPF Packaging’s polythene packaging products, and the uses of each. We’ll cover thickness, additives, and more – everything you’ve ever wanted to know about polythene packaging products.


Surreal photograph of a person holding polythene sheeting, while stood on a rooftop, against a blue sky. The person is fully shrouded in polythene film, with only their shins and feet visible. The bright sunlight shining on the subject is dispersed by the translucent sheeting, making it appear white, and making it look like the person has disappeared.


Polythene sheeting

There are three main types of polythene sheets and films;

  1. Single Wound Sheeting (SWS)
  2. Centre Fold Sheeting (CFS)
  3. Lay Flat Tubing (LFT)


Here’s more information about each. We’ll cover additives, colours and printing separately:

  1. Single Wound Sheeting (SWS)

Polythene single wound sheeting has tons of uses. It’s commonly used as inner packaging, banding products together, or to separate items when packing. It’s also used in automated packaging processes, where it can be welded into more complex shapes – but other polythene products (such as bags or LFT) may be more suitable.

Polythene sheeting can also be used in construction, where it is used for concrete curing, damp-proofing, and more.

Single wound sheeting can be supplied directly on a roll, perforated on a roll, or as loose pre-cut sheets in boxes.

  1. Centre Fold Sheeting (CFS)

CFS is used for packing large products that vary in length. Like SWS, it’s also widely used in the building trade, to protect flooring. As centrefold sheeting can be opened out to twice its width it’s ideal for packaging items that are too large to fit into layflat tubing. Polythene centre fold sheeting is also supplied directly on a roll, perforated on a roll, or as loose pre-cut sheets in boxes.

CFS can also double up as a quick, manually applied pallet top cover – using the fold to provide protection around the edges.

👉 Learn more about pallet covers, sheets and liners

  1. Lay Flat Tubing (LFT)

Polythene lay flat tubing (or LFT for short) is a seamless tube of plastic, which is squashed flat and wound onto a reel.

It can be unrolled to any length, cut and sealed around an object to protect it in transit and storage. Unlike other plastic wraps and films, layflat tubing only has to be sealed at the ends – which saves time on packaging production lines. LFT is the simplest way to make custom-size packaging for a range of items, especially products made to varying lengths, like furniture, food, rugs, and blinds. But it has found many uses over the years, including the creation of irrigation channels in fields – and even the Salmon Cannon!

👉 Learn how to use LFT

Polythene bags

After sheeting, there are polythene bags – which have a huge variety of options, beyond colours and printing.

These are not standard “shopping carrier bags” – we’re talking about packaging-specific bags, made for commercial and industrial use. Polythene bags are a popular and cost-effective form of commercial and industrial packaging, which can be used in manual, semi-automated and fully automated production lines.

Food, coffee beans, loose items like screws and bolts – these can all be placed in poly bags, but their use isn’t limited to these applications. Poly bags come in so many forms, that it’s hard to list them all out – but the main ones are:



👉 Learn more about polythene bags

LDPE and MDPE film types

Both polythene sheeting and bags can be made of either LDPE or MDPE.

LDPE stands for “low density polyethylene”, and MDPE for “medium density polyethylene”. By far the most common type is LDPE, which is used for everything from bread bags and medical packaging, to pallet covers and construction sheeting.

MDPE can be used in edge cases, where weight, space, and strength are paramount. MDPE allows you to downgauge your polythene while retaining the same level of strength as a thicker LDPE solution.

Polythene thickness 

We supply polythene sheeting, lay flat tubing and bags in any thickness from 32 gauge to 1200 gauge. This thickness range is divided into distinct categories, or “duty” ranges:


  • Ultra light duty polythene
  • Light duty polythene
  • Medium duty polythene
  • Heavy duty polythene
  • Super heavy duty polythene


Ideally, the thinnest and lightest gauge possible would be used in packaging, to save weight and transport costs – but it depends on the application. Every thickness of polythene has a use case, and the right thickness for you depends on what you’re doing with the polythene.

👉 Learn more about polythene thickness

Enhancing polythene with additives, printing and colours

Custom polythene blends can be made with a variety of polythene additives, to give the resulting polymer a multitude of properties. For example, ultraviolet inhibitors (UVI) and coloured polythene are sometimes used in tandem, because opaque, dark colours are natural absorbers of UV light and give additional protection.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg – and multiple combinations are available.


  • Ultraviolet inhibitor (UVI)
  • Anti-static polythene
  • Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA)
  • Flame-retardant polythene
  • High-slip and low-slip polythene additives


👉 Learn more about polythene additives

Recycled content can also be added to polythene, to reduce environmental impact, and to avoid paying Plastic Packaging Tax.

Polythene can be coloured to an opaque or translucent finish, and printed on. This has advantages for branding, but also for labelling and compliance, where it has uses in hazardous waste bags, food packaging, asbestos removal and more.

Want to know more about polythene packaging? Talk to our team of polythene exerts

Our polythene packaging products are made to your exact specifications, for exceptional protection and performance. To learn more about how you can use polythene for more effective packaging solutions, call us on 01773 820415 or send a message to

Ready to start designing your own bespoke polythene packaging? Get a quote now!