Consumers, Sustainable Grocery Bags, & The Role of Machine Knives To Keep It “Green”

Sustainability is touching every aspect of our day-to-day lives. As consumers become more aware of waste, and how their actions contribute to the deterioration of the environment, there’s been a major push towards sustainability – particularly in the world of bags. From grocery bags to garbage bags, consumers are looking for more sustainable options.

Reusable bags are one of the most noticeable trends. These bags are built to be used over and over again – rather than used once and discarded. Stores such as Whole Foods, Home Depot, and Kroger have jumped on the reusable bag bandwagon – offering cheap or free reusable bags to customers, in order to replace the wasteful plastic grocery bags that have become such a poster child for environmental destruction and human waste.

Indeed, stores such as Kroger are looking to promote a “zero waste” policy that helps consumers transition to using more reusable bags. According to Kroger, their variety of reusable bags has helped save over 1 billion plastic bags since 2008, and has helped change consumer habits.

However, reusable bags are not necessarily more sustainable, just by virtue of being less wasteful. Even bags such as the post-recycled PVC bags sold by Whole Foods are crafted overseas – and have to be shipped thousands of miles to the U.S.

Wal-Mart also started selling a reusable black bag that was made entirely from recycled bottles – but it was a bit pricey. Now, their primary reusable bag is cheaper, and made of a thin blue plastic that uses less material – but only ⅓ of the plastic is recycled, and it only lasts about half as long as the previous black bag.

Even while Grocers and Retailers are trying to replace plastic grocery bags, manufacturers are working hard to use plastic films that are easier to recycle. Plastic bags and flexible wraps, also known as “film,” are now easily recyclable and, like other plastics, can be used to make many other products. Recycling reduces litter, lessens the amount of waste going to landfills (or in our lakes and oceans), and gives a valuable resource a second life. Major Grocers and Retailers are encouraging consumers to return plastic bags and films to labeled receptacles, widely available at grocery and retail outlets.

Once collected, plastic bags and film are baled and sent to recycling centers. Here, the used bags are cleaned, processed and turned into flakes and pellets. The pellets are reused to make into new plastic shopping bags, durable outdoor fences, decks, shopping carts and home building products. The Netherlands is even testing roads that are made of recycled plastic!

At TGW International, we consistently review our role in the sustainability space Our industrial machine knives can be one key component of the overall process. TGW blades are used to cut, slit, and seal hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of miles of plastic bags annually. We know that in order to produce any type of bag product, you’re looking at an incredible amount of production hours and energy consumed.

Sustainability is a tough challenge – and sustainable grocery bags are a prime example of this. Even “green” reusable bags can have hidden environmental impacts, and the vast majority of Americans still don’t use reusable bags. If enough of us change our habits, we’re sure to make an impact. But until then, sustainable grocery bags remain quite a niche – and only about 5-10% of consumers use them regularly.

Implementing Reusable Bags? TGW International Can Help

The more durable and strong a reusable bag is, the more environmentally-friendly it is. This is because the longer it can be used, the more plastic is saved from disposable grocery bags.

At TGW International, we pride ourselves on helping to create a more sustainable world – and the role our industrial machine knives play in that commitment. Our knives can help you produce bag products more efficiently, reduce operating downtime, and minimize waste.

Our knives are sharper, heat-treated for durability, and use advanced material coatings to deliver incredible performance, and unparalleled product quality. From serrated tooth knives, to slitters and perf blades, we do it all! 

So trust us as your machine knife partner for supporting your company’s role in sustainability. We’ve got what you need to succeed.

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