How to Remove Shrink Wrap

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Things You'll Need

  • Scissors

  • Fingers

  • Trash can

Image Credit: Images

Plastic revolutionized the way the modern world packages and protects consumer goods. Shrink wrap was invented in the 1950s and experienced a rise in usage during the 1970s, when the technology to inexpensively apply it to retail goods was developed. Made of a polymer plastic film, shrink wrap is heated and conforms to whatever product it is placed over. Once you have mastered the removal techniques of plastic shrink wrap, the next time you need to do it, the task will be easy.


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Step 1

Grasp the shrink-wrapped product in your hand. Some shrink wrap is applied over boxes or plastic containers. Sometimes shrink wrap is sealed over actual products with the shrink wrap serving as the only packaging. If your product is a soft product and easily punctured or containing a liquid, use caution when removing shrink wrap.

Step 2

Use a finger to press against the shrink wrap. Firmly press a fingernail or finger into the shrink wrap plastic until the plastic breaks and you can insert a finger under the plastic film.


Step 3

Peel the plastic shrink wrap away from the product with your fingers. If the plastic shrink wrap will not break beneath the pressure of your finger or fingernail, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4

Use the scissors and gently poke the shrink wrap with the end of the sharpest scissor blade, breaking the plastic.

Step 5

Slide the blade of the scissors beneath the layer of plastic shrink-wrap film, cutting the shrink wrap. Cut or rip the remaining plastic shrink wrap from the package or product. Discard the shrink wrap into the trash.


Plastic shrink wrap is not usually a product that can be recycled in local recycling programs. Always properly discard plastic shrink wrap into a trash receptacle and do not litter.


Plastic shrink wrap, like all other plastics, should be kept away from children and pets. Plastic can be a choking hazard if ingested and a suffocation risk if placed over or on a child’s or pet’s face and/or mouth.