As International Green Week 2013 gets underway in Berlin, leading German packaging professionals and carrier bag manufacturers are using the event to highlight ‘ecologically sensible’ carrier bag alternatives, and reduce the estimated 10,000 plastic bags put into circulation every minute across the country.
The Bio Bag, a durable, reusable and compostable carrier bag made by the Victorgroup, is already a top seller in Austria and Switzerland, and as cornstarch replaces part of the oil used to make the carrier bags, the Bio Bag can be used for the collection of organic waste and composted industrially.
Speaking on behalf of Victorgroup, Jens Boggel – Head of Sales, said that he sees a political reason for the popularity of bio-bags in Alpine Countries, and went on to say, “In Austria and Switzerland the bio bag is accompanied by a positive political message to promote its use. Austrian and Swiss politicians recognise that a technology independent of oil should be developed, while lobbyists here continue to battle it out over the carrier bag.”
Approximately 20 per cent of carrier bags sold in Austria are now Bio Bags, with recyclable carrier bags, paper carrier bags, and traditional plastic bags making up the remaining 80 per cent. The average cost of a carrier bag in this tiny European Country ranges between 18-25 euro cents, making the soon to be introduced 5p carrier bag levy in Northern Ireland seem quite reasonable – but is it the answer to the world’s waste problem?
Mr Boggel said, “A carrier bag made wholly from regenerative raw materials has long since ceased to be a utopian idea and is now only a matter of time.” With the proportion of raw materials used in the bio-bag expected to increase significantly over the next few years, it looks as though a high quality, reusable, environmentally friendly carrier bag may be available to us all, and that certainly beats the controversial carrier bag tax.