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The war against plastic carrier bags has become a never-ending conflict

Alternative solutions to plastic bags are taking over the market, with a reduced environmental impact. Supermarkets have the highest consumption of plastic carrier bags meaning that they had the biggest influence on the environment, making them the main target.

It is right to highlight the reasons for why polyethylene bags are so threatening. Often we focus on the fact that plastic is not biodegradable therefore it represents a serious type of contamination although we may forget an equally important aspect of plastic bags. The petrol used to make the plastic is an exhaustible and extremely precious resource while paper is made of natural renewable materials. This means that there are critical phases in order to produce plastic which a major impact on the environment.

Biodegradable plastic does not represent a valid alternative since it is more expensive and not resistant enough.

For this reason, both on a global and European level, the use of plastic bags discouraged using two different methods.

The first is an option selected by some countries, Italy being one of the first to adopt it. It consists in abolishing some types of bags from the market and setting a minimum thickness of the material. This law affects the main suppliers in the market and therefore eliminates the problem.

The second is a law adopted by Holland and Ireland. They introduced a tax on the product, making it, on one hand, more attractive from an economic point of view and on the other generating a source of income for the government, which ideally should reinvest the revenue on a programme of recycling awareness.

Both cases have an impact of the consumption of plastic bags which was immediately devastating for the producers, reducing the volume of sales drastically, in some cases to nearly 100% less.

Problem solved, some might think… not quite.

From an environmental point of view, there are infinite benefits, but this change has caused a ripple effect in the market, which has reached paper bag producers.

The predictable increase in demand of paper shopping bags has required suppliers to increase the production capacity of their companies. Consequently, the paper factories were forced to introduce higher quantities of raw material in the market without considering the impact on the quality of the product.

We find ourselves facing an aggressive but unstable market.

Taffarello can only adapt to the new trends trying to be more competitive regarding service and production capacity without compromising the quality of the product, which has always been the winning aspect of our company. We are therefore trying to work on two aspects: efficiency in all processes, which includes reducing waste and the inevitable reduction of margins. All this without reducing the standards of quality of the materials or reducing quality control checks. In the long term, we are convinced that our philosophy which places quality and service first will reveal itself to be the winning strategy.

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