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Special Article

Special Article contributed by Christian Garaffa, Marketing Department, Project Manager Waste Management Area. After Ireland, San Francisco and Oakland in California, Modbury in Britain, the debate on disposable carrier bags has recently moved to London. Many other countries and cities are looking to introduce or already have some form of ban, tax, levy or some voluntary agreement on throwaway shopping bags (e.g. France or Italy). The question is always the same: how to manage the environmental issue posed by non biodegradable carrier bags? The common logic permeating the different choices is always the one dictated by the waste hierarchy: prevent, reuse, recover, dispose of. Factors like an intensive communication to the consumers and the introduction of reusable bags “for life” which can be used for several times before they are finally thrown away or given back to the store, are an essential part of this schemes. Compostable shopping carrier bags: what is the logic for their contribution to the environment? How do compostable carrier bags place themselves into this picture? Compostable carriers can actually be a powerful aid to waste minimization and recovery policies especially there were organic waste collection schemes are to be set up or are already in place. In order for such schemes to be successful they must be hygienic for both consumer and collection crews and be as convenient as possible. The best way to ensure both these criteria is for consumers to line their kitchen caddy with a compostable liner which can then be tied and placed in the larger container. Using liners in this fashion not only keeps the system clean and hygienic from kitchen to collection to treatment facility, but by being simple to use, they also lead to higher levels of participation and subsequently greater amounts of food waste are recovered and less material is landfilled. A proper communication and the possibility for the householder to easily identify the compostable bags are completing the picture for this kind of schemes which are able to recover as much as 90% of the kitchen organics present in the household waste. 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [07/04] Vol. 2

Special Article contributed by Jonas Hellström, Marketing & After Sales Manager, FAS Converting Machinery AB, Ystad, Sweden Biobags: in-line production is the future The Scandinavian company BioBag International A/S, headquartered in Askim, Norway has great faith in the future. They have a long experience of making plastic bags and have used converting machines from FAS Converting Machinery AB, Ystad, Sweden for more than 15 years. About three years ago BioBag International started to specialise in making plastic bags which are 100% biodegradable and compostable (according to standards such as EN 13432 or ASTM D6400) and which can be recycled or incinerated with a neutral greenhouse gas impact. Converting material from the Italian company Novamont into bags in-line on a machine from FAS is a very cost-effective way of making bags on a roll. ”We believe in the future of this project”, says Jorn Johansen, president and CEO at BioBag International. Many people are becoming more aware of how important it is to take care of our Earth. BioBag International A/S has activities in 18 countries and the list of products is long. In Belgium for example, BioBag has a business arrangement with Jemaco nv. (also a customer of FAS), regarding the marketing and production of high quality bio-products. Jorn Johansen appreciates the quality of the machines and the good service from FAS, which fit well in this environmentally friendly future. Bag production in-line using the film blowing process is well known, and has been improved over the years by FAS, followed by other machine suppliers, as pointed out by Jonas Hellstrom, Marketing Manager at FAS. Especially with the combination of tensionless sealing and sealing from both sides, FAS perforation and sealing units are the ideal equipment to process biodegradable products. The FAS sealing system is one of the few that can handle a wide variety of film materials, e.g. all kinds of PE from HD to LD, recycled plastics and biodegradable materials, without any special adjustments required. In addition to the above-mentioned features, the FAS perforating and sealing units offer the benefits of constant or intermittent heating and adjustable seal pressure, which has proven to give many producers advantages when running different products on the same machine. The in-line process of film blowing and bag production brings a number of additional benefits, such as faster quality control of the plastic film, no capital locked up in storage for master rolls or floor space, and a better cash flow. And - thanks to converting a warm film which enables thick film to fold easily and the final winding to be easier – the final products often just look better. When it comes to total machine investment cost, an in-line set-up offers advantages over an off-line solution. One reason is a simpler blown film unit, as there is no need for a rotating head or winding equipment when running in-line. Other costs for a producer are the handling of master rolls and for the personnel needed to run the machines. In an in-line environment less operators are needed compared to an off-line set-up, which also provides financial benefits. As one of the biggest bag producers in Europe once said: “Produce this morning – deliver in the afternoon - and invoice tomorrow! That´s the key to success!”. bioplastics MAGAZINE [07/04] Vol. 2 21

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