What is BOPP Label Material?

BOPP label material

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BOPP, or Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene, is a thermoplastic polymer label material characterised by its clarity, strength, and excellent barrier properties. This material is produced by stretching polypropylene film in both the machine direction and across the machine direction, enhancing its durability and making it ideal for robust labelling applications.

In this article, we will delve deeper into BOPP label material. We will look at the types, applications, advantages, and potential drawbacks of using BOPP label materials to better understand their widespread popularity and suitability for different industrial requirements.

BOPP Label Materials

BOPP labels are known for their robustness, ensuring they do not wrinkle or shrink when exposed to external conditions. These labels also feature excellent clarity and gloss, making them suitable for high-quality printing applications where visual appeal is crucial. Furthermore, BOPP is resistant to UV light, which helps maintain the integrity and vibrancy of the label’s printed area over time.

The inherent properties of BOPP make it an excellent choice for a variety of labelling needs. These include.  

  • Durability: BOPP labels withstand wear and tear from handling and environmental exposure, maintaining their form and functionality.
  • Moisture Resistance: Ideal for products that face exposure to humidity or need refrigeration, such as food packaging.
  • High Clarity: Provides a crystal-clear finish that enhances product visibility and presentation.
  • Chemical Resistance: It is resistant to solvents and oils, making it suitable for medical, automotive, and industrial applications.
  • Flexibility: Adapts to various packaging forms while maintaining strength and aesthetics.

Types of BOPP Labels

Four types of BOPP labels

BOPP labels are differentiated by their specific applications, finishes, and suitability for various packaging needs. Here’s a closer look at each type. 

White BOPP Labels

White BOPP labels are manufactured using a white polypropylene film that ensures high opacity. This makes them excellent for products that require a background that will make the printed information stand out, such as colourful graphics or intricate designs.

White BOPP labels include a layer of adhesive and a face film, which is then treated to enhance print receptivity. The benefits of white BOPP labels include strong durability and excellent moisture resistance. 

White BOPP labels are commonly used in the food and beverage industry, personal care products, and household cleaning supplies.

Clear BOPP Labels

Clear BOPP labels are produced by applying a clear film to the adhesive without any pigmentation, maintaining the film’s natural transparency. This type is particularly favoured for products where it is desirable to see the contents or colour of the product, such as in bottled beverages or beauty products. 

Clear labels blend seamlessly onto the container, giving a no-label look that is sleek and modern. While they enhance product visibility and aesthetics, their transparency can sometimes highlight any underlying imperfections on the packaging surface. 

Metallic BOPP Labels

Metallic BOPP labels involve adding a metallic foil layer during film manufacturing, giving these labels a shiny, reflective appearance. The process includes a metalised film that is bonded to the polypropylene base, creating a barrier that is both decorative and functional.

Metallic labels are often used for high-visibility products with critical brand presentation, such as luxury goods and premium beverages. The reflective surface of metallic BOPP labels catches the eye, making products stand out on shelves. However, the cost of production is higher, and the metallic finish can sometimes interfere with barcode scanning equipment.

Biodegradable BOPP Labels

Biodegradable BOPP labels are a newer innovation, made from an oxo-biodegradable form of polypropylene that breaks down more quickly under environmental conditions than traditional plastics.

These labels maintain standard BOPP’s durability and protective qualities but degrade into non-toxic residues after disposal. While they offer an environmentally friendly alternative, the technology to create biodegradable BOPP is more complex, leading to higher costs. 

Biodegradable BOPP labels are especially appealing in markets where environmental impact is a significant concern, including in the food and personal care industries.

Advantages of BOPP Labels

Seven benefits of BOPP labels

BOPP labels offer a multitude of advantages suited to diverse industry requirements. Here are the key benefits that make BOPP labels a preferred choice for quality and performance across various applications. 

Aesthetic Appeal

BOPP labels offer a high-gloss finish, making any product label look more vibrant and visually appealing. This aesthetic enhancement is crucial in competitive retail environments where product packaging can influence buyer decisions.


BOPP labels are durable and capable of withstanding exposure to UV light, moisture, and extreme temperatures without degrading, fading, or peeling away. This makes them ideal for outdoor products, equipment, automotive supplies, and items with long shelf life.


BOPP labels are highly adaptable to various packaging types, ranging from rigid containers to flexible pouches, making them a favoured choice across various industries. Their flexibility allows them to conform to different shapes without compromising durability and aesthetic appeal.

This versatility also extends to printing technologies. BOPP labels are compatible with multiple printing methods, including flexography, digital, and offset printing, enhancing their usability across different applications.

Moisture and Solvent Resistance

BOPP labels are resistant to water and oil-based substances, protecting the integrity of the label and the readability of its information. This makes them useful in environments prone to spills or humidity, such as kitchens or bathrooms. 

Non-Toxic and Food Safe

The safety of BOPP labels makes them a prime choice for direct food contact applications. They do not leach harmful chemicals into food or beverages, adhering to stringent safety standards required in the food packaging industry. 


BOPP’s classification as a No. 5 plastic means it can be recycled where facilities exist, aligning with growing consumer demand for sustainable packaging solutions.

Using recyclable BOPP labels can help brands promote their commitment to environmental sustainability, a factor increasingly influencing consumer purchasing decisions.

Adhesive Versatility

The customisation of adhesives used on BOPP labels allows for specialised applications tailored to meet specific requirements. Whether for retail price tags that need to be easily removed without leaving residue or for labels that must withstand harsh industrial conditions, BOPP labels offer a versatile solution.

This adaptability enhances the practical utility of BOPP labels, ensuring they perform optimally across various scenarios. It takes into account the environmental demands and the product’s lifecycle, guaranteeing that each label functions effectively for its intended use.

Potential Drawbacks of BOPP Labels

Five potential drawbacks of BOPP labels

While BOPP labels offer many advantages, several limitations and challenges are associated with their use.


BOPP labels are generally more expensive than other materials such as thermal paper. This higher cost is due to the complex manufacturing process that includes biaxially orienting the polypropylene film to enhance its properties.

The cost factor can be a significant consideration for businesses with tight budgets or those requiring large quantities of labels.   

Limited Rigidity

BOPP’s inherent flexibility can sometimes be a disadvantage, particularly when stiffer labels are required for specific packaging needs. In situations where the structural integrity of the label is crucial, BOPP’s lack of rigidity might result in label damage or detachment.

This issue can become apparent during handling and shipping, especially in pharmaceuticals or automotive parts industries, where packaging demands robust labelling solutions. 

Specialised Printing Requirements

Printing on BOPP labels demands specific technologies and inks to ensure proper adhesion and vibrancy over time. This requirement poses a challenge for businesses without access to advanced printing resources. 

Additionally, BOPP labels often require corona treatment to enhance the surface energy, which improves ink adhesion. This extra step adds complexity to the production process, potentially leading to longer lead times and increased costs. 

Such specialised requirements can limit the accessibility of BOPP printing for some businesses, affecting their ability to use these labels effectively.

Thermal Resistance

Although BOPP is generally effective across various environments, its performance is compromised in high-temperature settings. When exposed to significant heat, BOPP labels can deform, impairing both their aesthetic appeal and functional integrity.

Permeability to Gases

While BOPP is highly effective at blocking moisture, its relatively high permeability to gases can adversely affect the shelf life and freshness of perishable items. This characteristic is particularly disadvantageous for products sensitive to oxidation or flavour loss, such as specific food items and pharmaceuticals.

Where are BOPP Labels Used?

Five industries where BOPP labels are used

Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene) labels are widely used across various industries due to their durability, moisture resistance, and adaptability to different types of printing and applications. Here are some common areas where BOPP labels are used.

  • Food and Beverage Packaging: BOPP labels are often used on products like snack bags, bottle labels, and flexible food packaging due to their resistance to oil and water
  • Personal Care and Cosmetics: In the beauty industry, products often face exposure to moisture, such as in bathrooms. BOPP labels are favoured for shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and makeup packaging because they resist water and oils, ensuring the packaging remains attractive and functional.
  • Pharmaceuticals: BOPP labels are used for medicine bottles and healthcare products due to their durability and high-quality print compatibility. They ensure that important information, like dosage instructions and ingredients, stays clear and legible, which is crucial for safety.
  • Chemical Products: BOPP is chemical resistant, making it suitable for labelling household cleaners, industrial solvents, and agricultural chemicals. These labels can withstand exposure to harsh substances without fading or disintegrating.
  • Retail and Logistics: BOPP labels are also commonly used for barcodes and shipping labels because they are tough enough to handle abrasion, moisture, and varying temperatures during shipping and handling.

How to Print BOPP Labels?

Achieving high-quality prints on BOPP labels involves a meticulous process tailored to accommodate the material’s unique properties. Here are comprehensive guidelines to ensure effective printing on BOPP labels. 

Surface Preparation

Before printing, BOPP film typically undergoes corona or flame treatment to enhance ink adhesion. 

  • Corona Treatment: BOPP films are typically treated with a corona discharge to increase the material’s surface energy. This process improves ink adhesion by creating surface micro-pores, allowing the inks to bond more effectively.
  • Flame Treatment: Flame treatment presents itself as an alternative technique to corona treatment, capable of altering the surface energy of materials. It involves exposing the film to a controlled flame to roughen the surface for better ink adhesion.

Ink Selection

Choosing the right ink is critical for print quality and durability. 

  • UV-Curable Inks: These inks are preferred for their fast curing times under UV light and their excellent resistance to fading, smudging, and chemical exposure. They form a hard, scratch-resistant surface ideal for BOPP labels used in high-wear applications.
  • Solvent-Based Inks: Known for deep penetration into non-porous substrates, solvent-based inks offer robust adhesion and are suitable for labels exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

Printing Techniques

Two main printing techniques are optimal for BOPP labels.

  • Flexography: This is a versatile printing technique especially suited for large runs. Flexography uses fast-drying inks, which are ideal for the non-porous surface of BOPP. This method is cost-effective for creating high volumes of labels with consistent quality.
  • Digital Printing: It is perfect for short runs and variable data printing. Digital printing on BOPP is highly adaptable, allowing for quick setup and turnaround times. It’s ideal for customised label designs or limited edition products where detail and colour accuracy are paramount.

Post-Printing Finishes

Post-printing enhancements can significantly extend the life of BOPP labels.

  • Lamination: A protective laminate over the printed label can protect against abrasion, chemicals, and UV light, extending the label’s lifespan.
  • Varnishing: A varnish coat enhances the aesthetic appeal by adding gloss or matte finishes and adds an extra layer of protection against external elements.

Alternatives to BOPP Labels

Three alternatives to BOPP labels

While BOPP labels are highly versatile and durable, several alternative materials may be better suited for specific applications or environmental considerations. Here’s a look at some of these alternatives and why they might be chosen over BOPP. 

Polyester Labels

  • Applications: Ideal for outdoor use, polyester labels excel in environments that require high durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions. They are commonly used in automotive, electronics, and industrial applications.
  • Advantages over BOPP: Polyester offers superior resistance to extreme temperatures, UV light, and chemicals. Its rigidity and strength make it more durable for outdoor and heavy-duty applications where BOPP might not perform as well.

Vinyl Labels

  • Applications: Vinyl labels are well-suited for applications that require flexibility and a high degree of water resistance. They are often used for outdoor signage, product labelling in marine environments, and any application involving curved or irregular surfaces.
  • Advantages over BOPP: Vinyl is more flexible than BOPP and can adhere to uneven or curved surfaces. It also has a higher degree of elasticity, making it ideal for stretching or bending applications.

Paper Labels

  • Applications: Paper labels are a cost-effective solution for indoor applications, such as food packaging, retail labelling, and temporary promotions. They are best used in dry environments where long-term durability is not a primary concern.
  • Advantages over BOPP: Paper is significantly less expensive than BOPP and more eco-friendly. It is easier to recycle and can be composted, making it a preferred choice for brands focusing on sustainability. Paper labels also offer a natural and tactile feel that can enhance the product’s appeal in specific markets.

Wrapping Up

BOPP labels are essential for modern packaging, known for their exceptional durability, clarity, and resistance to environmental factors. This article has highlighted their versatility across various industries, enhancing product presentation and safeguarding information integrity. 

From retail to logistics, BOPP labels ensure products maintain their aesthetic appeal and withstand harsh conditions. As the demand for reliable and visually appealing labels grows, the advantages of BOPP become increasingly significant.

We hope this exploration of BOPP label materials has been informative and has helped you make well-informed decisions about your packaging needs. 

Thank you for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Considerations for Choosing Between Clear and White BOPP Labels?

Choosing between clear and white BOPP labels depends on the desired aesthetic and functional outcomes. Clear labels are ideal for a no-label look, while white labels offer a classic background for vibrant printing.

Is There a Cost-Effective Alternative to BOPP Labels That Still Offers Durability?

While BOPP labels are known for their durability, materials such as vinyl and polyester offer robust qualities at potentially lower costs, depending on the supplier and volume.

Can BOPP Labels Be Used for High-End Products?

BOPP labels are an excellent choice for high-end products due to their premium finish and ability to support high-quality, detailed graphics that enhance product presentation.

What Printing Techniques Are Best Suited for BOPP Labels?

Printing techniques such as flexography, digital printing, and rotogravure are commonly used for BOPP labels.

How Do BOPP Labels Perform Under Extreme Weather Conditions?

BOPP labels perform exceptionally well under extreme conditions, maintaining their integrity and readability due to their moisture and temperature resistance. This makes them ideal for outdoor applications and products subjected to fluctuating or harsh environments.

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