Polypropylene is the material that the "supermarket green bags" are made from. It's most common use is in the production of medical gowns, caps, masks and gloves. It is actually called non-woven polypropylene (NWPP) as the cross thatched pattern on the material is stamped on to make it look woven.
PP is a thermoplastic polymer - a type of plastic that can be melted down and recycled into such things as garden stakes, garden furniture and flower pots.
NWPP makes a tough water repelling bag that can be dyed and printed to any Pantone Matching System (PMS) colour. Even the most complex designs can be screen printed or heat transferred onto it. All buckles, zips, loops and studs are made from polypropylene (PP) and are recyclable.
You may find that some of your bags and backpacks at home contain a large component of PVC. PVC is cheap and tough but also highly toxic. From it's manufacture to it's disposal, PVC emits toxic, cancer causing compounds.
NWPP's strength to weight ratio and low cost makes it a suitable alternative to polyester or nylon. It is the perfect material to make a smart and fashionable bag designed for every day use.
The term 'environmentally friendly' implies that polypropylene leaves no ecological footprint. NWPP is manufactured in factories using fossil fuels, and so contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the evidence above combined with the fact that polypropylene contributes to waste reduction and the movement away from one-use products, means that its ecological footprint is smaller than that of similar alternatives.
Please make the effort to recycle polypropylene bags where facilities are available.
Most larger supermarkets including IGA, Coles and Woolworths provide wheelie style recycle bins. These are red and displayed prominently near the entrance of all stores.
Recycling facilities can also be found at local Stockland shopping centres. Officeworks stores also have red Planet Ark bins suitable for these bags.
As market demand for recycled and recyclable material grows, there will be more recycling points available. Increased production of polypropylene products will lead to more recycling facilities.
They were originally introduced by supermarkets under pressure to reduce their consumption of single use plastic bags that mostly ended up as land fill or litter.
People are encouraged to 'say no to plastic bags' as there is now a better alternative. NWPP bags are recycled in the same way as PET bottles and paper.
Kraft paper Is paper or cardboard produced from chemical pulp, produced in the Kraft process. Fully bleached Kraft pulp is used to make high quality paper where strength, whiteness and resistance to yellowing are important.