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By: David Roberge on January 7th, 2015

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Understanding Shrink Film Costs

Packaging Materials | The Business of Packaging

What Does Your Shrink Film REALLY Cost You? 

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When it comes to shrink packaging, knowing your price per roll is great, but knowing your price per package is even better. Understanding what each package is really costing, how to calculate it, and how you can save money will put you ahead of the pack (pun intended).

Determining your true film cost per package is a two step process:
  • First, determine your actual film usage.
  • Then, determine your actual cost per package. 

Here are your formulas to do this, with examples:

Film Usage: 

Film Length divided by the film cut-off* less the re-wrap percentage equals your film usage.

For example: Say my film length is the standard 4,375' per roll for 60 gauge center-folded film. Converted to inches this is 52,500".  Assume my film cut-off is 11". If I divide this, it comes to roughly 4,772 packages per roll. Subtract my re-wrap percentage, say 3%, and we get roughly 4,629 packages per roll of film. Now that you have your film usage, let's determine how much these packages are actually costing you.


  • Film type: 16" CF (centerfold) // 60G (gauge, or thickness) // at 4,375' ROLL LENGTH
  • Your package width for film need: 11" CO (Cut-off)
  • Average amount of rewraps: 3% RE-WRAP

ft. to in. calculation: 4,375 x 12 = 52,500

in. divided by cutoff: 52,500 / 11 = 4,772.73

cutoff multiplied by average rewrap percentage: 4,772 x .03 = 143.16

rewrapped package average subtracted from total: 4,772 - 143.16 = 4,629.57

Your film usage = 4,629.57 Packages Per Roll! 

Price Per Package

Simpler math here, it's just how much each roll costs you to purchase, divided by your film usage. So let's say I'm paying $128 per roll of film. I divide this number by the 4,629 and I come up with a true package cost of $27.65 per thousand packages. 

$128 Per Roll

4,629 Pkg. Per Roll128 / 4629=.2765

$27.65 per thousand packages


Utilize these calculations for your packaging. Are you paying more than you expected for each package?

*Cut-off?? What's a cut-off?! The cut-off is where your seal-bar drops on the film between packages. To determine your cut-off, package one of your products on your shrink machine and remove it before it goes into the shrink tunnel.  Slit the film to allow you to remove your product and lay the film flat. Measure from one end seal to the other. This is your cut-off length.


If you don't have a copy of the shrink film cheat sheet, you are missing out on actionable cost-saving ideas that are EASY-PEASY to implement!

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About David Roberge

I am grateful for my 9 years as part of the outstanding Industrial Packaging team. I was able to hang out with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the packaging industry. I feel even luckier that I was able to share that knowledge with you. I love learning, hiking, and growing people and teams both personally and professionally, and helping companies grow better.
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