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W. Lee Flowers and Company, based in Lake City, S.C., said yesterday it would introduce a new 100 percent degradable plastic grocery bag, which is reusable and recyclable, into Columbia, S.C.-area IGA Stores.
The environmentally responsible plastic bag is based on oxo-biodegradable technology and will start to degrade after its expiration date, according to the company. When disposed of in landfill, soil, or compost, the degraded fragments will ultimately biodegrade in the presence of oxygen, microorganisms, heat, and humidity.
"To our knowledge, this will be the first oxo-biodegradable plastic grocery bag introduced in a major supermarket chain in the U.S.," said Henry Johnson, president of W. Lee Flowers, in a statement. "We are excited to be leading the industry in finding a way to minimize the environmental footprint from our business. Over the next several months we will evaluate the effectiveness of this bag to determine its performance and customer reaction to this environmentally friendly initiative. We think this is a big step in the right direction and we believe it to be superior to either traditional plastic or paper bags."
The bag is manufactured using TDPA (Totally Degradable Plastic Additive) technology, developed by EPI Environmental Products, Inc., based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. EPI's TDPA has been used in many plastic products in over 50 countries around the world for several years, including plastic shopping bags in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and others.
W. Lee Flowers and Company, founded in 1922, operates or supplies 90 IGA and other independent supermarkets in the Carolinas and Georgia.