Paper vs Vinyl for stickers and labels – the verdict

Everyone who orders custom stickers and labels has a choice: paper or vinyl material?

You may already have one in mind, but if you’re unsure, we’ve laid out some of the most important points below to help you decide.

The properties of vinyl stickers and labels

When we say vinyl, we refer to polypropylene vinyl only. This has generally replaced PVC vinyl in the printing industry as it has all the same beneficial properties, but without the toxicity that makes PVC a concern for people and the environment.

As a result, polypropylene is:

  • Waterproof
  • Weatherproof
  • UV-resistant
  • Tear-resistant
  • Scratch-resistant

And also recyclable and safe for use on the outside of food packaging.

Polypropylene vinyl stickers and labels are a bit more expensive than paper, but they have a lot of properties that customers prefer. For example, they will generally peel off in one go instead of being ripped off in smaller pieces. Many also appreciate the plastic-like finish of polypropylene.

The properties of paper stickers and labels

Paper still looks good, especially with a gloss or matt laminate for the desired finish. However, it’s understandably not as durable as polypropylene vinyl, as it’s not waterproof and can be ripped fairly easily.

That being said, it’s usually a cheaper option than vinyl, so you can get more stickers/labels out of your budget. Some customers also prefer the finish of paper as it’s less plastic-like, and in the case of textured paper, may prefer an intentionally “rustic” effect.

What about food safety for labels?

This is one of the major differences between vinyl and paper for product labels. Polypropylene is safe enough for the outside of food packaging, but only uncoated paper is 100% food-safe for direct contact with food or drink that will be consumed.

For example, if you had a plastic container of food, you could put a polypropylene label on the outside. But if you wanted stickers to place on apples, then uncoated paper would be a safer choice.

There may also be situations where the sticker or label comes into direct mouth contact. For example, young children’s toys. In this case, uncoated paper is also the safest option.

The verdict:

  • If you need waterproof properties or generally strong durability, go with polypropylene vinyl
  • If you aren’t bothered by these properties and want to maximise the quantity for your budget, consider paper
  • For food products, if you need labels for the outside of the packaging or container, polypropylene vinyl should be okay
  • But if you expect your stickers or labels to come into direct contact with anything that may be consumed, uncoated paper would be better
  • And for situations where the sticker or label itself may come into mouth contact, uncoated paper is also safer


2018-03-13T22:40:09+00:00 By |