GSM is a term you’ll see a lot when looking at and ordering non-woven bags. You know, those recycled/recyclable grocery totes you see everywhere.
GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter and measures the density of polypropylene material. The higher the GSM, the more dense, strong and durable the material.
Most bags in this industry will measure between 70 and 100 GSM. There is a definite difference between weights on either end of the spectrum. You’ll be able to feel the difference between a 70 and a 100.
Keep in mind too that GSM measures the density, but not necessarily the quality of the material. Some polypro materials might contain fillers which will bring down the cost, but will also reduce the quality and strength of the material. The country of origin can also play a role in the quality as material produced in Europe tends to be of better quality than those produced in China.
Another issue to consider is stitch count. While traditionally, you might think that the higher the stitch count, the higher the quality, when it comes to polypro bags, it’s actually the opposite. Imagine the polypro material as a sheet of plastic. Each time a needle enters the material, it makes a hole. If the holes are too close together, the material can rip. Look for a stitch count of 6 stitches/inch for optimal integrity.
When it comes to ordering non-woven totes or grocery bags, we prefer to use our suppliers who carry products with 80GSM or higher values. For best quality, we also like to stick with our supplier that has many products with 100GSM and sources their materials from German-manufactured machines without filler materials.
Keep in mind, when requesting non-woven totes, getting the lowest price isn’t necessarily going to get you the best quality. You may only pay $.99 for a tote, but it may only last one time before it rips out. Paying just a few cents more can yield a much more durable and longer lasting bag – something that can be important when your name is advertised on it.