Many types of flexible packing exist, including plastics, foils and even papers. Common forms include polypropylene, polyethylene, metalized polyester, nylon and film foil laminations. Manufacturers will then coat these basic films with some type of sealant, additive or coating to improve performance. These can range from the crinkling foil of a candy wrapper to the tough acrylic outer layer of plastic tool packages.
Flexible packing can protect the item sealed within, as well as protect the end user, such as with food or medicine. A sturdy plastic package, while flexible, can tend to hold its shape unless subjected to abuse, such as toy packaging. It can hold toxic chemicals in a manner which still allows it to be transported and allows for the safe sale and mass production of these items, so long as they are sealed safely within. It can safely hold a knife, lowering the possibility a child or careless consumer might cut themselves. The ways in which flexible packing contributes to safety are innumerable. Medicine
Many manufacturers seal items within flexible packages for sanitary reasons. A producer will place a needle in a soft plastic seal, serving to both protect it and place the user at ease, knowing since no one has broken the seal, it has not been used. Bags that contain blood, IV fluids and various medicines are contained in soft, sturdy plastic bags. The tubes and disposable tools come pre-sealed in flexible packaging as well, also serving to keep these items sterile. These flexible packages allow for many practices in the field of medicine that might otherwise become dangerous, or even impossible.
Like medicine, the use of flexible packing with food has a major impact on everyday life. Without it, the grocery stores would sell only fresh, canned or boxed foods, and likely would sell no fresh meat. Frozen foods almost exclusively use types of flexible packing to store their products, as one can subject it to extremely cold temperatures without breaking or harming the food. Flexible plastic packaging also allows for the safer marketing of raw meat, allowing a butcher to make his cuts and store it within plastic and foam containers. Not only does flexible packaging make food more sanitary, it also makes food much more widely available and easy to transport.