It’s common knowledge that stretch film is a vital asset when it comes to packaging and shipping. It would be impossible to transport pallets of product without it. Delivery men would have to move hundreds of boxes as opposed to utilizing a forklift and moving a few tightly wrapped pallets. The hidden benefits of stretch film are a lot less common knowledge. Probably because they are hidden. Not the type of hidden that involves discovering a map under an old floor board, which tells you to find the man with the glass eye, who will tell you to go here and do this, and in the end you are digging a gigantic hole and you discover this other realm… Or maybe that is just the plot to the novel that I’ve been meaning to write… Awkward…
No, the kind of ‘hidden’ I am talking about comes with knowing people, and a little thing called street cred. You see, someone with street cred has this hidden knowledge, which they share with you and then you act on it, and then you have street cred too. Consider this: a group of teenage guys work at this café, and after hours they may or may not get some booze from one of the chefs, and even party in his trailer, but they all have access to certain items that are necessary when it comes to running a restaurant. In this case: stretch film. Now, this would be the type of stretch film that is more or less just saran wrap on steroids.
A solid thousand feet of the stuff wrapped on a three-inch pole and requiring a special team of trained individuals to operate. Okay, maybe not the last part, but anyone that deals with normal sized saran wrap could probably believe that huge saran wrap needs some sort of license to operate. Anyway, this particular crew of teenage guys, who may or not be under some sort of influence (and I’m not talking about the thrill of adventure and the glory of youth), decide to use one of those giant rolls of stretch film to wrap up the manager’s car. It only takes about ten minutes to use half a roll and the result is incredible. It’s going to take the jaws of life to set that Toyota Camry free. And done: street cred earned, and a hidden benefit bestowed on multiple individuals who will, in turn, bestow it on multiple others.
As evidenced by the title, this is the second part in a two-part series on the everyday uses for stretch film. A quick recap: in the first part I briefly discussed that sometimes when we search for a subject like ‘stretch film’, we find out about their “cousins”, and may indeed discover a better product for what we are trying to accomplish. I spent the majority of part one discussing shrink film, one of the cousins of stretch film. I mentioned a couple everyday uses for it, and I will mention one more before moving on.
My church puts on a Christmas play every winter, and it’s kind of a big deal. Not a big deal as in “oh we think we are so cool because we have the best play ever” but because the volunteers work really hard, the children take it seriously, and the parents are very proud. So, every spring, a DVD of the Christmas musical comes out for people to buy. Recently, the church invested in some shrink film (don’t forget the heat gun!) and they began wrapping the DVDs, since a lot of people wind up giving them as gifts throughout the year.
It’s been well appreciated. I have yet to purchase one, but my kids aren’t old enough yet to be in the play. How about poly sheeting? This is also a cousin of stretch film. Surprisingly, a common use for poly sheeting is a drop cloth. When my husband and I moved into our fixer-upper we invested in a canvas drop cloth. It has been good, to say the least, but if we had known about poly sheeting we probably would have gone with that instead because it comes in different thicknesses and you can get a variety of sizes, too.
Also, there is black poly sheeting which we began to use in our home garden. After tilling up the ground and making the furrows, you spread out the plastic sheeting, cut some holes in it, and plant the seeds in the holes. The black is supposed to be good for ground plants like cucumbers and pumpkins and whatnot. Whatever the case, we had a really good crop this past. The moral of the story is that stretch film is not as narrow a subject as it appears to be. I guess nothing really is…
Did you know that you can use stretch film for more than just food? Or for wrapping pallets? I’m guessing you probably didn’t, which is why you are reading this right now. Well, it’s true. This is because stretch film is more than just saran wrap, or industrial style. As a matter of fact, if you are searching under ‘stretch film’ odds are that you are going to get hits on that specific item but also its many cousins. This is probably because of a lot times when we try to search for something, we think we know what we want but we don’t really, because we aren’t familiar with all of the products out there that could be used for a particular purpose.
It turns out that there are a ton! While we might just assume that some good old saran wrap will do any and all jobs, which it probably would, there are actually some other avenues that could be more suited to the need. For instance, when looking into stretch film some other types of plastic sheeting might be better. Like shrink film! This is a product that actually shrinks to seal around an item. Yes, there are pallet shrink bags, but there are also shrink wrap bags for gift baskets! Since it is the holiday season, this would probably be a lot less frustrating than Saran wrap, and you might even convince people to think that you are giving them a store bought item- unless, of course, you want the credit for your creativity and product prowess, which I most certainly would. A lot of times people like to know they are getting a homemade gift, anyway.
It really shows some thought, these days. It used to be kind of a drag to get gift cards, like that was a cop out. Well, nowadays you don’t even have to go through the trouble of purchasing the actual card, you can just order it online and send an e-card. So, yeah, maybe taking credit for the shrink wrapped gift basket would be a good thing. There are all manner of items we may want to have shrink wrapped. For instance, I tried getting those garment bags that you vacuum seal using your own vacuum, and it completely did not work. I imagine that a roll of shrink film would easily do a much better job. But don’t forget the heat gun!
There is still more to be said about the everyday uses for stretch film, so look for part two!
If you really think about it, if no one had invented stretch film wrap and we didn’t have access to it, we wouldn’t be able to save our leftovers. That would be a seriously huge bummer, at least in my book. I know a lot of people that don’t eat leftovers. Like, at all. When they are finished with supper they take whatever amazing, delicious food they had just eaten and let it slip right into the open, gaping, bottomless mouth of the Glad bag (which is just a fancy way of saying that they threw it in the trash).
This has always scandalized me, because it seems like an abomination. Sometimes its hard to look a person in the eye and see past the fact that they eat their fill and then throw the rest out, you know? I mean, what is up with that? I’m not going to lie, I make extra food on purpose because of leftovers. Slop some of that goodness into some Tupperware and, “There you go, husband and children, your lunches for tomorrow are ready!”
Of course, in the world of food, we don’t call saran wrap by it’s industrial title: stretch film wrap. We don’t call it ‘ food grade stretch film wrap’ either, because that is ridiculous to say, or ‘food service film wrap’ because then we would sound like one of those people that wants to say ‘tomahto’ even though they aren’t even British. In short, we would be obnoxious and annoying. This is why we say saran wrap, and I’m not sure where that came from, but it has become the socially acceptable title and so it is what I will use. I suggest you do as well… All the same, saran wrap is a stretch film wrap and it is a wonderful and amazing tool.
Yes, I said tool. A tool is not just some piece of equipment used to fix something. It is anything used to accomplish a task, and so saran wrap has become a tool in the kitchen. When my daughter says she is done eating I wrap her plate up and put it in the fridge for later, when she realizes that the rest of us are all actually going to start eating popcorn without her. I slice up pieces of banana bread and embalm them in saran wrap and freeze them to pop in lunchboxes later. If we didn’t have saran wrap, or stretch film wrap, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this. And since I’m just coming out of the Thanksgiving season I am oh so thankful that I can enjoy my turkey and stuffing for days…