Manufacturers invest in "ecological garbage bags"

Darlan Alvarenga
From G1, in São Paulo

Recycled, 100% renewable, biodegradable, compostable and soluble. These are some of the options of "ecological garbage bags" that are already being offered on the market by the manufacturers, who try to adapt to the changes that bag elimination programs in supermarkets start to provoke in the consumption habits in states such as São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

The main plastic package companies in the country bet that the end of the bags with make the sales of garbage bags grow and are including more sustainable products in their portfolios. The phenomenon is already observed in the cities that banished disposable grocery bags, such as Belo Horizonte (MG) and Jundiaí (SP).

Extrusa-pack is putting on the supermarket shelves biodegradable and compostable (that can become fertilizer). The technology developed by Basf takes cornstarch in the composition. According to the manufacturer, the product decomposes in a few months and without leaving toxic substances in the soil. The bag made from this raw material is approximately 30% heavier. Whereas the price can be as much as six times higher than common plastic.

The new technology was the alternative found by companies to compensate the revenue losses in cities that have already banned plastic grocery bags. In these locations, the supermarkets starting selling biodegradable and compostable bags for R$ 0.19 each unit.
The Associação Paulista de Supermercados (Apas) signed an agreement with the government of the state of SP predicting the end of the distribution of disposable grocery bags by January 25, 2012.

"With the end of the grocery bags, the search for more sustainable materials is going to grow and we are seeing the biodegradable and compostable bags as an alternative to save our business a bit", states Gisele Barbin, commercial manager of Extrusa-pack, which also began to manufacture returnable plastic bags.
At the company's factory in Guarulhos, the line of biodegradable and compostable plastics now represents 10% of the production. "With the state of São Paulo adhering the grocery bag elimination program, the slice of this production should increase to 50%", predicts the manager.

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