Currently we supply bags made with polypropylene (OPP) or Polylactic Acid (PLA) film.

Polypropylene (OPP)

This material is can be recycled where facilities exist.

Polypropylene is easy to recycle and can be recycled many times without loss of its material qualities. This is fine for food trays, washing bowls and car bumpers, but thin film packaging is difficult and expensive to recycle, as a result in recent years councils have not collected packaging film at the kerbside. For film manufacturers it is much more expensive to use recycled film than to make virgin film from scratch.

In 2022 this will change though, for the following reasons:

  1. European and UK governments are to introduce a tax on all plastic packaging made from virgin material. This will make the use of recycled material more financially viable.

  2. New recycling technology is now coming on stream that can easily recycle plastic packaging even where the plastics are mixed. This new process effectively re-engineers the plastic back into oil, that can then be used to make plastic again or be used as fuel.

  3. Major supermarkets in the UK have agreed to collect packaging film for recycling at their stores.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

This material is made corn-starch and other plant materials. This film is compostable and biodegradable. It is certified for composting in an industrial setting at 58 deg C. It can be home composted but usually a home facility does not get hot enough for the process to happen in a reasonable time.

At the moment PLA is not collected at the kerbside. Most PLA packaging therefore ends up in landfill where it will not degrade due to a lack of oxygen.

The future

Sustainable plant based packaging seems attractive but the there some significant drawbacks and costs involved. Supporters would claim that it has a future if only governments would create a proper infrastructure and support it with legislation. Even so the widespread adoption of these materials would be a massive global challenge.

At the moment European governments are committed to increasing the amount of genuine recycling of oil-based plastics creating what they describe as a circular economy. Together with new technologies and other measures this constitutes a major, worthwhile step forward.

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