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What Are Cellophane Bags?

Cellophane bags are transparent, thin sheets made from cellulose derived from plants. They're celebrated for being biodegradable, offering an eco-friendly packaging alternative. Unlike plastic, they break down over time, reducing environmental impact. As we consider the future of sustainable packaging, cellophane bags present a compelling option. What might their role be in a greener world? Join the conversation on eco-conscious choices.
Christine LaFleur
Christine LaFleur

Cellophane bags, also known as cello bags, are transparent, thin bags made from cellulose. These bags are commonly used as gift bags alone, or they can be used to wrap gift baskets. The top of the bag usually is gathered and tied off with a ribbon. Cookies and candy are commonly placed in the bags, but almost any gift can be given in a cellophane bag.

Some manufacturers use cello bags for packaging food items. Cookies are the most common item packaged in cello bags. Candies, such as peanut butter cups, and crackers also are packaged in the bags.

A gift basket wrapped in a cellophane bag.
A gift basket wrapped in a cellophane bag.

There are different styles of cellophane bags. Flat bags work well to hold cookies or other flat items. The top usually can be folded over and might be self-sealing. Square cellophane bags have a sturdy bottom that will stand on its own. Items can rest in the bottom of the bag, and the top can be gathered and tied with a ribbon.

Gift baskets are commonly wrapped in large cellophane bags. The cellophane bag acts as a barrier and protects items such as fruit or other edible goodies from the outside air. The gift basket is placed right into the bag, and the top is gathered and tied.

Cellophane is popular for wrapping candy.
Cellophane is popular for wrapping candy.

Heavy-duty cellophane bags are thicker than regular cello bags. They usually have gussets running up the sides that allow the bags to expand when filled with items. The heavy-duty bags are better at providing an oxygen barrier and moisture barrier to protect food items.

Standard cello bags usually have gussets, as well. The gussets work to allow the bag to expand. This is especially helpful when the bags are used as candy bags. Several pieces of candy can fill the bag, and it will expand with no problem.

For people who are environmentally conscious, some cello bags are made from a biodegradable material. These bags are compostable and made from cellulose taken from sustained forests. Biodegradable cellophane bags have almost no impact on the environment.

Although clear cellophane bags are popular, there are many colors and styles of cello bags, but all of the bags are at least somewhat see through. Cellophane bags can come in shades of just about any color. The colored bags might obscure the products that are inside them just a little bit. Cello bags also are available in a variety of prints for any occasion.

Clear Cellophane Bags

Clear bags are among the most popular choices for arrangements and gift packaging because they provide all the protection expected from cello bags, but they also showcase the presentation of the gift. Clear bags are used in basket arrangements of all sizes and kinds, including chocolates, selections of rare snacks and appetizers, or even wine and other beverage baskets, allowing the recipient to appreciate the contents without having to open them for inspection before consumption.

  • Strong, with several thickness options available to suit your packaging needs
  • Totally transparent, with very little visual distortion even through folded material
  • Sculpt and tie bags to suit the size and shape of your visual presentation, cello stays in shape unless it is pushed on
  • Keep food items fresh and protected at room temperatures to preserve quality

In addition to clear options, there are many choices for colored transparent bags. A rosy tint or a little hint of seasonal color can go a long way toward establishing a fun and decorative tone. If you're considering seasonal basket builds, consider whether a colored transparent bag would complement your goods. If not, well, there are good reasons why clear cello bags have been so popular for so long.

Resealable Cellophane Bags

For a long time, cellophane bags were mostly tie-shut designs. In fact, many cellophane packaging choices are not traditional bags but large sheets that can be folded into pouches, bags, or other shapes. The stiff texture and strength of the cellophane material made it ideal for those kinds of uses. Bags are easier to arrange quickly, though, and have become a bit more popular with time. Manufacturing changes have also produced cello bags with a wider range of textures by opting for cellulose sources that behave slightly differently from one another.

As a result, resealable cellophane bags have become quite popular, providing competition in an area that other plastics have traditionally dominated. Resealable options allow you to create the same great visual presentations as traditional cellophane, but the cello bags can be opened for access temporarily, without the need to relocate contents to permanent airtight storage afterward. This allows gift basket recipients to enjoy the display throughout the entire process of eating the goodies that come with it, so the layers to your visual design slowly become apparent. It's an aesthetic shift that really elevates the experience of receiving a well-arranged snack or candy basket.

Biodegradable Cellophane Bags

Those looking for biodegradable options have a lot of fine choices in cellophane products. Cello bags have always been manufactured from a base of plant fiber, it's right in the name. That makes them very biodegradable when they are manufactured with the right processes. In fact, some cello products are designed to fully degrade in just moments if they reach a certain temperature threshold.

This ensures they will not persist long in nature by making it so that direct sunlight heating the ground beneath the material eventually melts it into its constituent cellulose. Not all cellophane bags are that prone to breakdown, though. They can be manufactured with a wide range of integrity tolerances. Nor are all cello bags automatically biodegradable. Even with a natural base like plant fiber, certain manufacturing processes can result in bags that do not break down easily at all. You can find biodegradable options for all the other popular cello bag subtypes you already use in your work, too:

  • Clear cellophane bags made of totally transparent or lightly shaded material for any festive occasion where your arrangement needs to be the center of attention
  • Resealable bag options to provide gift recipients a chance to snack right away without leaving the rest of the contents exposed to the elements
  • Packaging for everything from custom gift displays to everyday snack items that helps it look its best
  • Environmentally friendly cellulose is derived from renewable sources and engineered to return to the earth quickly once you are done with it

Cellophane has a lot of competitors these days when you look at biodegradable packaging options, but being environmentally friendly is about more than just waste reduction. Biodegradable cellophane bags are good for the earth because they don't just return to it quickly, they also come from processes that use natural materials in energy-efficient ways. Since cellulose is easily produced with fast-growing cash crop resources, it is also sustainable in ways that some other designer biodegradable packaging simply is not. That is one of the big reasons why cello bags continue to be a top choice for eco-friendly businesses seeking a new packaging option.

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    • A gift basket wrapped in a cellophane bag.
      By: archana bhartia
      A gift basket wrapped in a cellophane bag.
    • Cellophane is popular for wrapping candy.
      By: JMB
      Cellophane is popular for wrapping candy.