‘Star-Tribune’ in Minneapolis Goes Green with Biodegradable Plastic Bags

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By: E&P Staff

On Monday, the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis will take another step toward “greening” the newspaper when it becomes the first major domestic newspaper to distribute both its daily and Sunday newspapers in biodegradable plastic bags.

In February, Dallas-based GP Plastics announced that it was giving all of its newspaper customers the option of switching to PolyGreen “oxo-biodegradable, environmentally friendly plastic bags.” The bags, which feature water-soluble inks and non-lead-based color concentrates, are expected to degrade in 2-3 years in a landfill. Bags “floating” as litter in the environment are expected to degrade within a few months. Because the bags are conventional plastics, they can also be recycled.

“[T]he folks at the Star-Tribune embraced the concept of oxo-biodegradation from the start,” GP’s CFO Mike Skinner said in a statement. “Over the next several months, many of our customers nationwide will convert to PolyGreen bags; however, this day belongs to the Star-Tribune, as it’s not often you have the chance to lead the way.”

Al Olson, the Star-Tribune’s circulation fleet logistics manager, headed the paper’s research in to the PolyGreen bags. “In our effort to be a company that is continuously improving our processes and products, it is … critical that in our innovation we are also environmentally responsible,” he said in a statement. “We are very excited about the prospect of eliminating anything relative to our newspaper that could have a negative affect on our environment.”

GP President Bob Baumgartner offered his support in the company’s statement: “I congratulate the management of the Star Tribune. This is a significant endeavor and there are additional costs involved. I know that their readers and advertisers are aware of the environmental issues, and I believe that both will respond favorably. … Our main focus is to transition 100% of our manufacturing to environmentally friendly products. At this point, I just do not see conventional plastics as a necessity.”

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