Atlantic Poly Blog

Biodegradable and Recycled Plastic Bags

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 29, 2013

With environmental concerns today, there is a high need to create packaging that can be recycled; biodegradable packaging is a new trend.
What defines biodegradable? This is an important question. There are special characteristics of biodegradable plastic bags and packaging:

  • They consist of renewable resources
  • Or they can be harvested directly from nature
  • They can completely decompose, with the aid of micro-organisms, when placed in a composting area

Biodegradable is a buzz word these days. But many products that claim to be easily decomposed are not. This is because up until very recently there were no hard-fast rules, guidelines or regulations for products and many manufacturers were calling their plastics biodegradable, when they were not.  Biodegradable plastic bags are plant-based.

Moving Toward Biodegradable Packing

Prior to recent years, nearly all packaging for food, produce, and supplies were sold in plastics that were oil-based, made from petroleum. Now with the rising costs of oil, companies are looking for ways to save money.

It is believed that there will be a growing demand for this corn-based biodegradable product, causing the market to grow by about 20% over the next year. Consumers and environmentalists, along with national recycling regulations, are helping with the growth.

Increasing interest in the new PLA technology is because of these main factors which include:

  • The improved quality of bioplastics
  • The growing market share of these products
  • Cost-competitiveness
  • More competition as new bioplastic companies crop up around the world

Purchasing Biodegradable Plastic Bags and Packaging

Now that you are more familiar with what it means to be biodegradable and how easily products that are made of natural substances can filter back into the soil instead of piling up in landfills, why not agree to purchase these products?

For more information on biodegradable plastics and recycled plastic bags, contact Atlantic Poly.

Advantages of Plastic Grocery Bags for Retailers and Consumers

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 22, 2013

There are many advantages of plastic grocery bags. While there is a perception that they are environmentally unfriendly, this is not necessarily true, see last week’s blog. Plastic grocery bags have advantages for retailers and consumers!

Many consumers are finding plastic bags are a better option than paper bags. The numbers tell the story, Americans use 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, and 10 billion paper shopping bags each year.

While there is an increase in the use of reusable cloth bags, plastic shopping bags have two big advantages:

  • Plastic bags are more durable than paper bags. They are less prone to tearing, easier to carry, and are far more useful in bad weather.
  • Plastic bags are reusable, as trashcan liners, as storage bags, or for picking up after the dog.  Plastic bags last longer than plastic bags and can be repurposed, unlike paper bags.

Retailers have always preferred plastic shopping bags. For retailers, the main advantages of plastic bags are that they are cost-effective, easy to use, and easy to store.

Plastic bags are available in bulk for less than one cent. Paper bags are typically 5 cents or more per bag. Reusable cloth bags can cost a few dollars each. Obviously, plastic bags have a better effect on business profit margins.

Not to mention, plastic bags are faster and easier to open and pack. For busy clerks, this can help with efficiency. Plastic bags take up less space to store and weight far less, so they are easier for employees to stock.

For more information on plastic grocery bags, contact Atlantic Poly.


Understand Plastic Bags and Their Environmental Impact this Earth Day

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It is easy to overlook the advantages of plastic grocery bags because it is perceived that they are environmentally unfriendly. While they certainly have ecological drawbacks, plastic grocery bags can actually be beneficial to the environment. Every April we celebrate Earth Day. For Earth Day this year, we would like consumers and business to understand the real environmental impacts of plastic bags vs paper bags.
The reasoning for banning plastic bags is that they cause harm to the environment. There are many factors that this broad statement can cover, so let’s discuss it part by part.

In terms of energy produced during manufacture, plastic bags require 182,361 kcal but recover “2,581.3 through combustion.”

However, paper bags require “three times as much energy consumption as plastic bags (626,672.9 kcal), whereas only 6,859.5 kcal can be recovered through consumption.”

Environmental Impact of Plastic Grocery Bags
There has been a lot of conversation and disagreement regarding paper and plastic bags, and which are more detrimental to the environment. The truth is, each has advantages and disadvantages.


There are several important ecological advantages of plastic grocery bags over paper shopping bags. Because they weigh so much less, they contribute far less solid waste to landfills when not recycled. According to the EPA, paper bag production requires 40% more energy than the production of plastic bags. Paper bag manufacturing also results in 50% more water pollution and 70% more air pollution than plastic bag manufacturing.


The main ecological disadvantage of plastic shopping bags is that they are manufactured from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Paper bags, on the other hand, are made from trees, a renewable resource. Plastic bags are also not biodegradable, and break down into contaminating particles over many hundreds of years.

Effect on Marine Life Myth

One of the more compelling arguments against the use of plastic shopping bags is that plastic bags result in the death of 100,000 marine animals and 1 million sea birds annually.

However, this argument is false. The myth originated from a 2002 study on plastic bags commissioned by the Australian government. In the report, the authors misquoted a previous Canadian study from 1987. The animal deaths cited were actually attributable to fishing lines and nets, not plastic bags.


The best way to help the environment, regardless of what types of bags or other containers you use it to reuse your plastic bags as much as possible. Recycle the rest.

By recycling, consumers can avoid many of the drawbacks of plastic bags. There are numerous advantages of plastic grocery bags, and by recycling them diligently, consumers can profit from their use in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

For more information on plastic bags or on recyclable plastic bags, contact Atlantic Poly.

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