After twelve years of enjoying our exclusive system for returning polythene bags for re-use, the time has come to review and re-vamp the system. Originally we printed the freepost return address on the bags and you simply put the bags inside one and posted them back to us. One way to improve the environmental savings is to remove the need to print the bags, as this involves a whole separate manufacturing operation. In the manufacture and printing of polythene, the polythene is extruded and rolled up, then it goes to the printing press, where it is unrolled and printed then rolled up again. Then the roll of printed polythene is taken to the bags forming machine where it is unrolled and cut and sealed to make the bags, so by not printing we go straight from extrusion to bags. A saving of one whole manufacturing process, We believe this is the way forward, to look at what plastic we use and to investigate the manufacturing process and see what can be removed and still leave us with the basics of requirements.
We also looked into compostable bags, clearly the end result is preferential, but we found the industry to be very young and would require us to remove the re-seal top of the bags, this we felt was not good for keeping the food fresh. Also the material used is not quite strong enough yet and in tests we found some bags broke in transit.
So we chose to have plain bags with no print and keep the re-seal opening. We needed a new way to return them - so we decided to use a standard size grip seal bag that is large enough to hold up to 12 of our new bags and we send with it a label stuck on for the free post address, so you empty the bags with the food in them and then place them into the labeled bag and post it back to us. One advantage is that we can re-use the labeled bags too! so we send out the bags again and again so reusing all of the polythene bags we send out - brilliant.