Compostable Bags Add Green to the Produce Aisle

Posted: April 15, 2014 by
Ron Romanik

Excellent Packaging & Supply has added a new line of domestically produced, clear produce bags designed for grocery stores and bulk food purveyors. The new produce bags, which can be supplied with branding messages, are made primarily from GMO-free cornstarch that is both backyard and commercially compostable. The bags are available as a custom order from BioMass Packaging, which is known for its collection of stock green dinnerware and foodservice packaging.

Many grocery managers are looking for ways to eliminate plastic produce bags, which are made from fossil fuels. Compostable produce bags have been available but, until now, these bags tended to be somewhat opaque, making it difficult to identify the produce or bulk food inside. The new produce bags are made from an improved version of Mater-Bi, the compostable and primarily bio-based plastic. These new bags offer good clarity of their contents, making them more convenient for shoppers and checkout clerks. The new produce bags also use 50 percent fewer raw materials and less energy to produce and ship than standard bags.

To reduce waste further, these compostable produce bags are dispensed from the innovative Pull-N-Pak dispenser that offers customers single-hand dispensing of individual bags. BioMass Packaging provides these unique dispensers free with any purchase of the new produce bags. The Pull-N-Pak dispenser has a narrow profile, making it easy to accommodate it within produce displays, and dispenses bags pre-opened for the customer. Additionally, the bags feature a wide opening that makes it easy to load large, wet items.

The Natural Grocery Company, and early adopter, has two stores in Northern California: in Berkeley and El Cerrito. Its produce and meat departments are dedicated to organic and natural products. The company’s green initiatives include the use of solar energy and ensuring its waste stream is diverted to compost and recycling wherever possible. Bob Gerner, general manager, says the enormous number of plastic bags the store was ordering every year was a primary driver to consider alternatives.

“We decided to switch from traditional polyethylene bags to the new compostable bags made from Mater-Bi,” Garner says. “It’s never an easy decision to change to a more expensive product, but we wanted to do our part and help reduce the level of plastic going into landfills, the San Francisco Bay, and ultimately the ocean. Overall, the response from customers has been very favorable. People understand that these bags cost more and aren’t quite as convenient, but they think we’re doing the right thing.”

Top benefits of using compostable produce bags:

  • Reduction in the use of fossil-based plastics
  • Offers a viable, green option for produce and bulk-food bags
  • Available pre-printed with custom branding
  • Single-hand/single-bag dispensing system is convenient for customers
  • Roomy with a wide opening (15” x 20”) makes it easy bag larger items
  • Modern, attractive dispensing system, provided free for businesses

“Providing patrons of grocery, produce and bulk food stores a planet-friendly alternative to traditional plastic grocery bags can boost goodwill and loyalty — especially if the bags are branded with the store’s logo,” says Allen King, president of Excellent Packaging & Supply. “We’re pleased to be able to give our grocery customers access to the first new innovation in the produce bag dispensing area in years, combined with a green solution to the proliferation of fossil-based plastic produce bags.” For more information, visit www.excellentpackaging.com or www.biomasspackaging.com.