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Cell glass, transparent foil, glass paper - cellophane has received many names over the past 100 years. That's how long ago this material with its special properties was invented. Find out why cellophane is a real alternative to conventional plastic and what exactly it can do.

Manufacture of cellulose glass

Cellulose is made from cellulose, which in turn is usually obtained from wood. For this purpose, wood pulp (cellulose pulp) is dissolved in caustic soda and carbon disulphide in order to obtain pure, transparent cellulose. This is then mixed with glycerine to obtain cellophane.

Special properties of cellophane

Cellophane has barrier properties that are particularly interesting for the food industry. It is a semi-permeable, i.e. "partially permeable" membrane. This means that cellophane is impermeable to liquids but allows water vapour to pass through. Packaging made of cellophane therefore prevents condensation from forming inside. Unfortunately, today cellophane is often still coated with a layer of petroleum-based plastic to further reduce water vapour permeability. This is problematic from an environmental point of view because cellophane is both biodegradable and compostable. But if a coating is added, these properties are unfortunately lost.

How sustainable is cellophane?

Cellular glass is 100 percent based on the renewable raw material wood and is therefore the sustainable alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Especially if the wood used comes from certified sustainable forestry. In addition, uncoated cellophane is both biodegradable and compostable. Basically, cellophane beats its petroleum-based competitors by far in terms of sustainability. Unfortunately, cellulose glass / cellophane production is neither state supported nor particularly cheap. Overall, this leads to a drop in the demand for cell glass and thus strengthens the demand for the more environmentally harmful, petroleum-based products.

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