Polythene UK has produced the Polycomp bag, which contains biopolymers made up of starch.

They biodegrade fully within just 10 days, as soon as mirco organisations are present.

The process is accelerated even further when temperature is increased, for example during the summer season, where the bugs are more active in the garden.

The bags are certified as fully biodegradable and compostable according to the European norm EN13432, which was set up to regulate products which are disposed of in composting sites.

Polythene UK’s managing director James Woollard said: “I figure that as checkout bags are something we all use and as we are all about to start having to buy rolls of compostable bags – due to changes in the way our food is being recycled – then why not make one bag that does both jobs?

“That way consumers will be able to buy their compostable bags at the checkout for the same price as they would spend on the rolls of bags, use them to take their shopping home, then reuse them in their green bins, so their food waste can go for anaerobic digestion or other composting methods.”

The company, based in Witney, were boosted a visit from David Cameron in November, who discussed the potential of the checkout bags further with James Woollard.

Mr Woollard hopes to persuade consumers, supermarket buyers, and government members to switch to a ‘greener’ option.

He said: “Although compostable checkout bags are already being successfully used in places like Belgium, UK supermarkets are currently resisting the idea due to the additional cost.

“However I am confident that one of the major chains will be forward thinking enough to offer the first truly environment solution to the UK’s plastic bag problem.

“And with the drive of both consumer and government support I am certain that the switch to this ‘greener’ option is not too far down the line.”

The checkout bags will be on display at the easyFairs ECOPACK show next February in Birmingham’s NEC.

Alison Brown

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