By: Jessica Holbrook
February 28, 2013
PASO ROBLES, CALIF. — Lindamar Industries Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of custom plastic bags, is launching a line of compostable bags made from renewable corn starch and biodegradable polymers.
According to Lindamar, the bags meet international composting standards, including ASTM International's D6400 and European Standard EN13432 certification requirements, and are designed to compost safely and quickly in municipal, commercial or industrial composting facilities without negatively impacting the resulting compost.
Lindamar is using a resin from a company associated with BASF Corp to manufacture the bags.
President and CEO Anthony Hall would not disclose financial details, but said that launching the new product required a "fairly large investment."
Lindamar reconditioned two of its extrusion lines to work with the compostable material. The company also adapted two converting machines and dedicated them to the new project, along with increasing its staff by 10 percent, he said in a phone interview.
The investment has paid off. The company has been successfully making the compostable film material and converting it into bags for about 7 months, he said.
The bags have been well received and "customers are willing to pay the much higher price point" for them, he added.
The project isn't running at full capacity but has reached its first production milestones – it expects to reach 3 million pounds by the end of the year, he said. If everything goes well, Lindamar will continue investing in the project and ramping up production.
The bags are currently about 10 percent of Lindamar's business, but could shortly make up 30 to 35 percent of business, he added.
Lindamar offers the compostable bags in several styles – as single-use shopping bags, food wrapping, and as trash bags to collect yard waste, kitchen trash and food for composting – and can be printed with up to eight colors using environmentally friendly printing methods. The company also says the bags are thicker and more durable than bags that don't contain bio-plastic material.
The bags could be a good substitute for single-use paper bags in supermarkets, especially in regions where plastic bags are banned or carry a fine, Hall said.
There's worldwide demand for compostable bags, he said.
"We don't think plastic is going away, it's always going to be the majority of our business, but we do believe there's going to significant demand for compost material," he added.
Along with new eco-friendly options, Lindamar is moving toward having a certified sustainable plant. It recently installed new lighting systems and is undergoing energy audits to identify the best ways to cut back, Hall said.
The plant should be certified within the next 3 to 6 months, he said.
Lindamar, located in Paso Robles, Calif., makes FDA-grade polyethylene packaging for agricultural, medical, bakery and other markets. The company, which employs 70, offers extrusion, converting and printing services.