16.12.2016 - Polypropylene: is it suitable for long-term archiving?

(wm) For many years philatelists have asked themselves which material is the most suitable for keeping old documents, stamps and other philatelic material. Polyester is without doubt the first choice, especially for exhibitors. In contrast to PVC, no harmful side effects of polyester have been reported. However, for a collector who has no ambition to exhibit his precious treasures, or for collections that has only contain cheap material, polyester (or PET) is way too expensive – people will look for cheaper alternatives.
In various ‘how-to’ guides - most recently in ‘Wider die Zerstörung in der Philatelie - Zur Aufbewahrung und Bewahrung philatelistischer Schätze’ (‘Against the Destruction in Philately – Guide for the Preservation of Philatelic Treasures’), written by Wolfgang Maassen (Schwalmtal, 2016), it has been pointed out that polypropylene (PP) could be an alternative.
Klug Conservation of the German town of Immenstad is a renowned name in circles of archivists and librarians. The firm has recently published the sixth episode in a series presented under the heading ‘Wissen’ (‘Knowledge’). This brochure addresses the topic ‘Polypropylene - a suiteble material for long-term archiving?’. In it, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Banik examines the use of polypropylene (PP). Among other things he concludes that PP has a number of positive qualities. For example, it can take a beating without giving off damaging aging matter. A disadvantage is the ‘strong tendency to become electrostatically charged, with the result that it attracts dust and other loose particles.’
The advantages and disadvantages mentioned above have already been published in various ‘how-to’ guides. PP film is certainly suitable for display purposes and also for storage. However, in dust-laden rooms the polyester film will attract dust and other small particles. Collectors can avoid this by keeping their stamp albums in locked cupboards. A further advantage may not to be overlooked. PP film costs far less than PVC, and that whilst latter is considered by many as harmful for the material stored, for instance when it concerns stamp mounts made of this material.
The results of a study carried out bij Klug Conservation is available at the following internet address: (Aktuell / 2016).