A series of polypropylene carbonate (PPC)/ZnO nanocomposite films with different ZnO contents were prepared via a solution blending method. The morphological structures, thermal properties, oxygen permeability, water sorption, and antibacterial properties of the films were investigated as a function of ZnO concentration. While all of the composite films with less than 5 wt % ZnO exhibited good dispersion of ZnO in the PPC matrix, FTIR and SEM results revealed that solution blending did not lead to a strong interaction between PPC and unmodified ZnO. As such, poor dispersion was induced in the composite films with a high ZnO content. By incorporating inorganic ZnO filler nanoparticles, the diffusion coefficient, water uptake in equilibrium, and oxygen permeability decreased as the content of ZnO increased. The PPC/ZnO nanocomposite films also displayed a good inhibitory effect on the growth of bacteria in the antimicrobial analysis. The enhancement in the physical properties achieved by incorporating ZnO is advantageous in packaging applications, where antimicrobial and environmental-friendly properties, as well as good water and oxygen barrier characteristics are required. Furthermore, UV light below ∼ 350 nm can be efficiently absorbed by incorporating ZnO nanoparticles into a PPC matrix. ZnO nanoparticles can also improve the weatherability of a PPC film. In future research, the compatibility and dispersion of the PPC matrix polymer and the inorganic ZnO filler nanoparticles should be increased. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011.