There is some confusion about Nonwoven Polypropylene (NWPP) with regards to what it is and its benefits and limitations.
The questions and answers below should help to clear the confusion.
What is polypropylene and NWPP?
Polypropylene is the material that the ‘supermarket green bags’ are made from. It’s most common use is in the production of medical gowns, caps, masks and gloves.
It is actually called nonwoven polypropylene (NWPP) as the cross thatched ‘pattern’ on the material is stamped on to make it look woven.
PP is a thermoplastic polymer – a type of plastic that can be melted down and recycled into such things as garden stakes, garden furniture and flower pots.
But isn’t polypropolene just another plastic?
There is substantial proof that it’s not just another plastic. Polypropylene is strong, well priced, can be made to any colour, and print options are vibrant and unlimited.
It is also recyclable and leaves a smaller ecological footprint than many other plastics.
PVC, the most problematic and polluting plastic, is at the top of the pyramid at number one, while biobased plastics, the least polluting are number four at the pyramid’s base. Polypropylene (PP) is just above biobased plastics at number three along with PET (the material used to make recyclable plastic bottles).
Furthermore, Zero Waste South Australia produced a report stating that Polypropylene has lower greenhouse gas impact and energy use in manufacture than paper (including production of raw materials).
What makes NWPP so good to use as a fabric?
NWPP makes a tough water repelling bag that can be dyed and printed to any Pantone Matching System (PMS) colour. Even the most complex designs can be screen printed or heat transferred onto it. All buckles, zips, loops and studs are made from polypropylene (PP) and are recyclable.
Nonwoven PP’s strength to weight ratio and low cost makes it a suitable alternative to polyester or nylon.It is the perfect material to make a smart and fashionable bag designed for every day use.
Are NWPP bags really environmentally friendly?
The term ‘environmentally friendly’ implies that polypropylene leaves no ecological footprint.. It contributes to waste reduction and the movement away from one-use products, means that its ecological footprint is smaller than that of similar alternatives