I recently read this information on one of my vendors websites... I thought my customers might want to know some facts about Non-Woven Totes:
What You Need To Know
In recent years, non-woven polypropylene totes have grown to become one of the industry’s fastest
selling product lines. Indeed, as one of the hottest products available, you can find many different
types of totes and silhouettes using this material.
In finding the best tote options for your customers, there is actually quite a lot to know about
polypropylene – how it’s made, its physical characteristics, imprinting capabilities and ecocharacteristics
– just to name a few. And indeed there can be vast differences in the many polypropylene totes available to you.
So how do you make sense of it all? We offer this white paper as a closer look at the key dynamics of
non-woven totes, plus we provide some helpful hints in sourcing, comparing and selling non-woven
totes to your customers. We close with a synopsis of our own strategic approach regarding each of the
topics discussed here.
What Is Polypropylene?
Simply put, polypropylene is a form of plastic. It’s available in a wide variety of forms but is essentially
a flexible resin polymer. While the formal chemical name for the material is polypropylene, the
generic layman’s term is “non-woven” simply because it’s really a large sheet of plastic and not a
woven fabric. The material has been debossed to give it the appearance of woven cloth, yet it is really
a non-woven material.
How It’s Made
Making polypropylene involves a process called “extrusion”. Small polypropylene pellets are injected
into an extrusion machine and mixed with color concentrate. As the material moves through the
extruder, it goes through several chemical and heat processes. At the end, the result is a wide, flat
material which gets debossed to give it a cloth look. The material is then spooled onto large rolls.
Measuring Its Weight – What is GSM?
The primary market measurement for non-woven totes is GSM, or grams per square meter. GSM
measures the weight and density of the polypropylene material. The higher the GSM, the higher the
density and the stronger and more durable the material.
Most totes in our industry measure between 70 and 100GSM. The weight chosen is determined by the
size and intended use of the tote. There is a marked quality difference between these two ends of the
weight spectrum and you would easily be able to feel the difference between the two. It’s important
to note that the density of material is directly related to the quality and durability of the tote. In
general, an 80 GSM tote will not be considered as strong or as durable as a tote constructed of
While GSM is a measure of density, it is not a measure of the quality of the polypropylene itself. The
actual quality of the material is determined by the quality and content of the raw polypropylene resin used.