One way to minimise environmental impact is to use polyethylene bags that are recyclable. For example, Cortec Corporation, a producer of environmentally responsible corrosion control solutions, manufactures recyclable VpCI brand bags (used for corrosion protection of metals) that customers can send back to Cortec after use to reprocess into new film at up to 20% recycled content (satisfying quality requirements). The customer receives a credit, and Cortec receives an additional source of ‘repro’.
This provides a resourceful method for diverting thousands of pounds of waste from the landfill annually, helping both manufacturer and end user reduce their carbon footprint. Another option for minimising the impact of plastic packaging is to use compostable bags that do not contain polyethylene and can biodegrade without harming the surrounding environment. Incorporating biobased content increases sustainability by drawing on a renewable resource.
Cortec custom-manufactures such film for all-purpose waste bags and shopping bags under the Eco Works brand name. These US-patented films and bags are compostable in a commercial compost setting. They contain biodegradable polyesters, including an annually renewable biopolymer source derived from plant sugars. The bags are available in Eco Works 10 and Eco Works 30 versions, containing 10% and 30% biobased polymers, respectively. The film has a stiff feel to it, similar to HDPE bags, but without being petroleum-derived.
Eco Works film and bags bear the DIN CERTCO “seedling” logo, a distinguishing mark of compostability around the globe verifying that the film meets requirements for industrial compostability according to European (EN 13432), U.S. (ASTM D 6400), and ISO (ISO 17088) standards. When placed in an industrial compost setting, Eco Works film and bags will fully biodegrade into carbon dioxide and water within a matter of weeks, with no eco-toxicity to the soil, plants, or microorganisms involved in the process. Unlike some “biodegradable” films of the past, Eco Works does not rely on biodegradability additives for compostability.
Recyclable and compostable films and bags are produced and recycled for the North American market at Cortec Advanced Films in Cambridge, Minnesota, and for the European market at EcoCortec d.o.o. in Beli Manastir, Croatia.