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Switching to Compostable Bags

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Experts estimate that more than 500 million plastic bags are produced every single year, and the sad truth is that only 1 percent of those bags end up being recycled — part of the estimated 8 million tons of plastic that end up in the oceans every year.

Clothing manufacturers have used poly bags for decades. The thin layer of plastic protects the clothing from damage, and it’s so light that it has a minimal impact on shipping costs. However, those plastic bags will never entirely break down, and they often end up in our waterways.

Rather than sticking with poly bags and asking users to “please recycle,” the folks at Grundéns, which has been producing fishing apparel for nearly 100 years, just announced that the company will begin shipping apparel in bags made from glucose. The eco-friendly bag is 100 percent biodegradable and will fully decompose in less than a year. They’re also compostable — you can cut the bags into strips and put them in your garden. The bags will be made using Polylactide, or PLA, a raw material that is created by making glucose from corn starch.

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Grundéns says it will make the packaging open source, with information about the supplier printed on the packaging itself, to encourage other brands to follow suit. The company hopes this will increase the rate at which plastic bags are eliminated from the supply chain.

Grundéns also began using ECONYL, a fabric made from recycled fishing nets that would otherwise end up in landfills or drift about the oceans as “ghost nets.” The new material is available in two products, men’s boardshorts (shown here) and women’s capri pants, as part of the Grundéns NetSourced collection that the company says it will expand in coming seasons.

“With plastics in the ocean playing a major role in the health of many fisheries around the world, we’re taking the lead in bringing an alternative to poly bags to the market,” said Grundéns CEO David Mellon in a statement. “Sustainability is a journey, and we are constantly striving to improve the environmental performance of our own products, packaging and operations. This new compostable packaging will allow customers to drop it into their own home or municipal compost stream, confident they aren’t adding plastic waste into the environment.”

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