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Special total number of

Special total number of plastic shopping bags being used in the country, “Earthsoul is creating an awareness and a special experience around the values of conservation, sustainability and dignity for the elements of nature for the customers who use an Earthsoul bag,” says Perses Bilimoria. Most of the customers are organic food markets, high-end pastry and delicatessen shops, liquor stores, deluxe hotels and spas. Perses Bilimoria believes that although this certainly is still just a niche market, these are customers who are decision makers in the corporate world and the message is clearly understood in terms of good green governance and sustainable environmental practices. With a growing population of almost 1.4 billion (more than China), by 2025 India will have a mature market for bioplastics based on renewable natural raw materials such as corn starch, which can be easily sourced from within the country. In addition, Perses Bilimoria has been instrumental in convincing the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to implement and follow the guidelines of EN 13432 and ASTM D 6400-99 for bioplastics in India, together with adequate compost labelling protocols. India shall shortly adopt the equivalent to the new ISO 17088 or EN 13432. Photo: nature packaging Photo: Chameleon Perses Bilimoria is somewhat concerned however about the fact that India – like Europe – is facing the problems of oxo-degradable and additive based synthetic polymers, saying that they are “flooding the market in disguise as “biodegradable bags”. India is a very price sensitive market and most people are not educated on the aspects of biodegradability and compostability, thus it becomes very difficult to convince buyers about the difference between an EN 13432 certified product and those that are only degradable,” Perses says. Shopping totes – the fashionable style Shopping bags made from renewable resources can also be completely different. Chameleon Packaging, a Division of Design & Source Productions, Inc., New York, for example, offers tote bags made of the PLA fibre material Ingeo. Chameleon Packaging began developing samples with NatureWorks Ingeo fabrics in 2004, but realised that most fabrics were developed only for the garment industry, making them typically too soft for application in bags. The backbone of Ingeo has been so supportive, that NatureWorks has offered opportunities to discuss development for new fabrics that would be more suitable for bags. The few projects specified with Ingeo typically obtain much, but the average customer has not wanted in the end to pay the difference in material costs. “But as the costs come down and such bags become more competitive and give the opportunity to use better materials, there will be more and more inquiries, and that will turn into more projects,” says Nicole Smith, environmental director of Chameleon Packaging. The customers need time to recognise that the material will still be around, be consistent, have enough production output to meet their needs, and be reliable in a few years time, as well as good for the environment. Chameleon Packaging’s commitment to sustainable materials is steadfast, and its is convinced that Ingeo has a large potential for its current and future customers. “Overall,” says Nicole, “I believe the nonwoven material has the greatest potential. Non-woven bags have become really popular in all of the sustainably focused shops and stores”. Conclusion These are just a few examples of the successful introduction of bioplastic shopping bags. Shopping bags made of bioplastics can definitely not solve all the problems connected with plastic bags. Littering, for example, is more a question of education than of the material. The effect of bioplastic bags on the killing of marine life in the oceans has not yet been sufficiently researched. But their advantages surely offer a market potential in the months and years to come. 12 bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1

bioplastics MAGAZINE ePaper