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Bags on a Roll: How Small Can You Go?

We’ve all encountered teeny tiny plastic bags before. You know – the ones holding all the microscopically small screws in flat pack furniture boxes? Or if you’ve ever changed the fuse in a plug socket, your new fuses probably came in a tiny polythene bag, too.

And the more you look, the more small bags you see. Sometimes, they seem pointlessly small, and kind of wasteful. But in manufacturing and packaging, small bags on a roll are really important to keeping products together, as well as dust and moisture-free. 

Small bags on a roll are used primarily in automated packaging systems, but small-scale manual packing lines can also make use of them (even if it can get a bit fiddly). And they’re actually the opposite of wasteful; they’re small for a reason.

So, how small can you go – what’s the smallest small bag on a roll you can get? And why is using different bag sizes in packaging helpful?


Close up shot of clear, small polythene bags on a roll, on a neutral background


What is the smallest size for bags on a roll?

NPF Packaging provides small bags down to a 19mm width, or 0.7 inches.

That’s about the same width as 11 strands of uncooked spaghetti. In the packaging world, that’s really small – most of our competitors supply 50mm as a minimum width (2 inches). Of course, small is subjective, and it’ll depend on the items being packaged. But, by going all the way down to 19mm, we give our customers a better range of small bags on a roll, ensuring a made-to-measure fit for their product and the absolute minimum weight and wastage.

Small bags on a roll can be made to custom lengths, for packaging long rods and bars that need protection in transit and storage – or they can be made short (within the trade tolerances for polythene packaging products) for tiny components.

Is using small bags on a roll better?

Yes – but not always. It depends on your particular requirements. Here are a few ways that using small bags in your packaging systems can be better:

Better customer experience

Imagine a partially assembled item you bought had all the teeny, tiny components running around loose in the box. It would be incredibly frustrating trying to find them all. They may have become corroded in storage or transit – or if the box was damaged, they could have been lost through even the slightest hole. In the end, customers benefit most from getting these components in small bags, even if they are environmentally opposed to them. But usually, minimising packaging in this way is better for the environment…

Less waste

Smaller bags fit smaller items better. That means less unnecessary plastic. Also, partially assembled items that need small screws or fastenings can be protected with much smaller outer packaging, reducing weight and allowing for more items to be shipped at once. Less packaging in transit equals less carbon emissions. And it also has another environmental benefit.

Segmented packaging 

By using small bags on a roll in their packaging systems, companies can segment packaging types for efficiency – and boost recycling and reuse. For example, recycled blends can be used for non-sensitive items, and different packaging materials can be used to improve overall recyclability. 

Lower costs

All of this leads to reduced packaging costs, which companies can pass down to their customers with lower product prices.

Uses for small bags on a roll

The best uses for small bags on a roll are things like:



But the list really does go on! 

Get small bags on a roll – custom made to spec

Small bags on a roll from NPF Packaging can be provided on a core or coreless, plain or gusseted – and we now have the means to make pre opened poly bags on a roll to order, in a wide range of dimensions. Whatever your needs, we’ll create a custom small bag on a roll that slots right into your existing packaging line; whether it’s automated, semi-automated or manual.

Or, if you need to overhaul your packaging to bring it up to date, we can help design your packaging solution from the ground up. Choose a custom blend, brand colours and printing, plus performance-enhancing additives.

Get a quote now, or call us on 01773 820415.