Thursday, March 29, 2007

San Francisco's County Ordinance Creates Demand for Biodegradable Plastic

Roplast Industries Inc. launches compostable, biodegradable and reusable plastic grocery bag in response to San Francisco's new Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance. The ordinance will require that grocery stores offer only compostable plastic bags, or recyclable paper bags, to its customers at checkout.

Oroville, CA (PRWEB) February 16, 2007 -- Roplast Industries, Inc. today unveiled the B4™ Bag, a compostable, biodegradable and reusable plastic grocery bag. B4™stands for Bio Bring Back Bag. A newly developed Roplast product, the B4™ is made of EnviRo 6400, a biodegradable and compostable film, as defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)'s standard D6400 for compostable plastic.

Roplast, a leading North American manufacturer of finely printed plastic packaging, including reusable grocery bags, is offering the bag in response to the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, which was introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi on January 23, 2007. The B4™ is an extension of Roplast's current line of reusable grocery bags.

Supervisor Mirkarimi's Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance calls for a ban on the use of traditional plastic grocery bags in San Francisco. The ordinance will require that grocery stores offer only compostable plastic bags, or recyclable paper bags, to its customers at checkout.

In addition to being reusable and compostable, Roplast's B4™ plastic grocery bag is sturdy enough to be reused multiple times. "Nationwide, consumers are actually recycling only a small percentage of recyclable plastic bags," says Robert Bateman, president of Roplast Industries, Inc. "Reusable plastic grocery bags are well established in Europe, and the use of these bags is considered by the European Union and European plastic bag manufacturers to be the single most effective step in minimizing the environmental impact of grocery check out bags.

"Ideally shoppers will bring the B4™ bags back to the grocery store several times, and then place them with other compostable items destined for municipal composting facilities," continues Bateman. "The bags can also be used to dispose of food or gardening waste, such as grass clippings, in a compost pile." The biodegradable bags are a distinctive green color to differentiate them from recyclable plastic bags, and to remind consumers to dispose of the bags in the compostable waste stream rather than a recycling bin.

The B4™ compostable plastic bags, which can be packed as easily as paper sacks, are designed to carry over 20 lbs., and are as durable as traditional plastic bags. The EnviRo 6400 film degrades by microbial action in the presence of heat, moisture and microbes. It contains over 25 percent of non-petroleum material, including resin manufactured from corn and a readily available mineral, the highest non-petroleum content currently available in resins suitable for commercial manufacture of reusable grocery bags.

Roplast developed the EnviRo 6400 biodegradable and compostable film in response to consumer products manufacturers demanding more earth-friendly packaging solutions. According to Bateman, "the main driving force has been Wal-Mart, who encourages its suppliers to offer biodegradable products as part of the retailer's sustainable product program."

The B4™ is also designed as an Art Bag, further encouraging purchase and reuse of the bags. These Art Bags offer advertising potential, as well as opportunities for community and student artists to display their work. Modeled after the successful Art Bag program run by Woolworths, a major grocery chain in South Africa, the art gives shoppers another reason to buy the bag and reuse it multiple times. Art selections can involve the local community, whether chosen from school competitions or from works by local artists. "We anticipate that due to its artistic sensibilities, San Francisco will embrace the Art Bag program, like the South Africans have," says Bateman.

"Roplast is proud to be part of two initiatives -- increasing the acceptance of reusable plastic grocery bags, and the development of practical plastic products made from biodegradable, compostable films," adds Bateman. "If the products are accepted and supported by the public, and used and disposed of as intended, these initiatives will contribute to lowering the impact of packaging on the environment."

The B4™ is an addition to Roplast's other earth-friendly plastic product line that includes the Bring Back Bag ®, also an Art Bag, and Bag for Life ®, which involves the free replacement of used plastic bags returned for recycling.

Not only does Roplast produce a line of earth-friendly plastic bags, but it also helps reduce the environmental impact of packaging at its source, during the manufacturing process. Roplast's plant in Oroville is accredited by the California Film Extruders & Converters Association's Environmentally Preferred Rating (EPR) program, as complying with the most environmentally sensitive manufacturing practices. EPR accreditation is an industry "seal of approval," given to plastic makers that meet strict environmental standards certifying that they maintain environmentally sensitive production facilities.

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