Single Use Plastics Project: Poly Bag Standards document
The EOG is urging businesses to adopt uniform standards launched today for the use of plastic poly bags in product packaging.
After extensive research and testing, the European Outdoor Group’s Single Use Plastic Project (SUPP) has published ‘PolyBag Standards’ (download below) as part of efforts to reduce the impacts of single use plastics throughout the value chain. The document is available free of charge and includes advice on material considerations, which attributes to prioritise, and a suggested bag design that encapsulates the best current application of the standards.
The Single Use Plastic Project Poly Bag Standards document has been developed with input from the entire value chain -producers, manufacturers, brands, retailers, waste intermediaries, recyclers, and sustainable packaging specialists. Working together, the partners have critically evaluated the fragmented standards already in use, and have achieved broad alignment on packaging requirements in the context of their impact.
SUPP maintains that the first priority is to remove unnecessary poly bags, and is encouraging and actively supporting the creation and roll out of elimination strategies.Where poly bags are still necessary (for instance, to provide perceived essential protection to delicate garments during transit), project partners have developed a set of standards to minimise contaminants and ensure that the maximum value of the material is retained. This work has also led to the introduction of a prototype ‘pillowcase’ poly bag that uses recycled and recyclable material, and incorporates a design that encourages users to open the bag without tearing it, allowing for its potential re-use.
This design was originally created by UK based Equip Outdoor Technologies in collaboration with— and using feedback from — the SUPP team, packaging producers, brands, retailers, and recyclers. The prototype bag has been tested across several product lines and moved without issue from manufacturing through brand and retailer to end users, with promising results. Once a pillowcase poly bag is finally deemed unusable, its pared back design means that it can be more easily retained in the resource stream via systems such as an industry recycling scheme that is being developed by SUPP.
Scott Nelson, EOG programme manager, is leading the Single Use Plastics Project and comments:
“The best possible poly bag is no poly bag, and we encourage and support aggressively prioritising elimination strategies. Where poly bags are still necessary, we have developed a set of standards to minimise contaminants and ensure the maximum value of the material is retained.
“Our ultimate objective is to return poly bags to the resource stream. By designing for end of life, we can prioritise specific attributes which have the largest net impact on the bags' value after use. If these bags are deemed an invaluable, critical resource for protecting certain products, then they need to be treated as such and not so readily discarded"
Contributors / With thanks to:
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Interseroh, Mainetti, Papier-Mettler, Recoup, RecyClass, REI, and the Single Use Plastic Project team:
For more information about poly bags within the outdoors industry, or to find out more about the Single Use Plastics Project™ please contact:
Scott Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org or Verity Hardy email@example.com at the European Outdoor Group.