Compostable bags: a path towards eco-friendly practices?
Societal attitude towards packaging is changing, and rapidly.
There is no debate that the packaging industry is having to work hard to keep up with these changing trends and demands.
Plastics continue to be a paramount theme of concern globally; we have all seen the global condemnation of the use of single-use plastic products, especially supermarket shopping bags.
But whilst this is a deliberate reaction to the growing concerns with environmental pollutants, we as consumers still demand convenience and functionality.
Changing for future generations
We desperately want to do the right thing for our planet, our well-being, and our kids. However, this societal development combines with science and technology to allow space for options to be presented.
We all want to do our bit to help the environment and to help protect future generations. One way we can do this is through dealing with the hugely hot topic of general waste reduction, and more specifically, the impacts of plastic waste on our environment. The discussion is focusing on how we can dramatically reduce these impacts.
A strong example of this is with single-use shopping bags. There is little debate now that the acceptance of these forms of plastic carrier bags is waning quickly in many countries. The consensus is there, and this combined with the mounting evidence that these products are a severe hazard to our environment, society, on the whole, is starting to work towards doing the right thing.
Single-use items are too easy to use
As consumers, we have been molded quickly into becoming creatures of convenience, and plastic provides an ideal vehicle for the convenience we all demand, touching almost everyone’s lives in some form or another.
So, when this convenience is challenged, we naturally start looking for suitable alternatives.
Single-use items are convenient, and there have been examples of sales in some businesses actually declining because of ceasing to use single-use plastic products.
This has led to the sourcing of eco-friendly, sustainable replacements that will keep the single-use desire alive, but protect our precious ecosystem too. This has given rise to a rapidly increasing demand for compostable packaging as one alternative.
immago at the forefront of innovation
Specific to this topic, over recent times immago has introduced alternative offerings for single-use plastic bags, designed to assist with your efforts to be an eco-friendly citizen, we are pleased to communicate to you, yet another!
Technology improves, processes develop, and ideas take hold.
We have been keeping a close watch on developments within the compostable products arena, specifically, offerings that fit to deliver a great story for the garment sector.
Similarly to food services that are driving sustainable packaging into their sector, we are working with the garment industry to bring you compostable products that are not only degradable via an industrial environment, but also in your home compost structures and general landfill!
Whilst compostable bags are by no means new, availability of the materials that allow the appearance and performance of plastic bags to be mimicked, and at an economical price point, has been a challenge.
Additional challenges have centred on limitations as to where these products could be composted, generally needing industrial facilities to be available and used for the decomposition process.
Whilst facilities of this nature are building in numbers globally, many countries simply do not have the infrastructure in place to facilitate getting these products to a centralised point of composting – in many cases, there is no easy way to get these bags from point A to point B for easy processing at their end of life.
Part of the solution to complement what is available right now, especially as infrastructure evolves, is the production of bags suitable for use in both industrial and well-controlled home composting systems.
What exactly are compostable bags made of?
It is well known that plastics are created from polymers, but not all polymers are plastics. There are both natural and synthetic polymers. Natural polymers (biopolymers) include materials such as wool, silk, rubber, keratins, starch, and cellulose.
Generally, compostable bags are made from starches derived from the likes of corn or from PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) derived from plants. Both a departure from the traditional petrochemical based material used for so many plastic-based products.
Under specific conditions, compostable products are designed to be broken down by micro-organisms into natural organic materials; specifically compost, carbon dioxide and water.
Whilst a very positive offering, there are some parameters surrounding these products that need to be considered – especially lifespan.
As these products are constructed from natural polymers, it is important to understand bags of this type do have a shelf life, generally around 12 months. Ensuring the bags are stored in a cool, dry location well away from sunlight, is important too.
Now economically viable
Whilst in the past the costs generally associated with eco-friendly could be prohibitive, overheads have been reducing in the compostable space as technology inputs have evolved and demands are growing.
It should be recognised that whilst compostable materials are gaining in popularity, utilising this packaging form is an investment; an investment in the story you can communicate to your clients, an investment in letting your clients know you care, whilst helping to build your image, and your status as a green-oriented business.
Although consumption reduction and the use of reusable bags will remain a priority, offerings made from renewable resources provide a huge drawcard for any sustainability path you may want to consider, with the additional benefit of assisting with satisfying that convenience factor everyone expects.
Always looking to the future
As the global cleaner, greener philosophy grows, we continue to develop our range of sustainable solutions for people and the planet, including our new compostable bags.
From seed garment tags suitable for planting, to products made from pineapple fibres, immago continues to develop alternatives to help make our planet a better place.
Shopping bags, zip lock bags, retail bags, courier satchels, the list goes on as to the types of bags that can be produced in a compostable format.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about how we can help you and your business promote environmental sustainability.
If you would like more information about offerings, our (eco) friendly and experienced staff members will be happy to answer any questions you might have.