REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS AND PLASTIC POLLUTION
Join our initiative to raise the sustainability bar for trash bags and can liners
Green Seal is developing an environmental leadership standard for trash bags and can liners to reduce plastic pollution and carbon emissions. By verifying high-recycled-content or thin-gauge products that provide uncompromising performance, Green Seal can play a critical role in recognizing producers who are environmental leaders in their industry and providing buyers with reliable low-carbon options in this product category.
- Household Use of Trash Bags
Approximately half of US households use at least 300 trash bags each year.
- Commercial Use of Trash Bags
One New York City office building can use 23,000 can liners per month, or more than 4,000 pounds of virgin plastic.
ENVIRONMENTAL SAVINGS AND PERFORMANCE ASSURANCE
Reducing Carbon Emissions by 70%
Recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – the material commonly used to make recycled-content trash bags – has a 70% lower carbon footprint compared to virgin plastics, according to lifecycle studies conducted by the Association for Recycled Plastics. This makes recycled resins a critical tool in reducing the carbon footprint of our homes, schools, and offices.
Preventing Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is a formidable challenge today, with fewer than 9% of plastics recycled and millions of metric tons entering the ocean each year. With a certification standard, Green Seal can play a role in driving demand for recycled plastics, helping to increase the recovery rates of plastic waste and promote the circularity of plastic products.
Verifying Performance and Durability
Historically, the higher the recycled content of a plastic product, the lower the durability and tear resistance. For households, cafeterias, daycares, and any building with food or liquid waste, the reliable strength and tear resistance of a garbage bag is critical for safety and cleanliness. As a certification body, Green Seal will play a critical role by verifying that garbage bags made from recycled content can demonstrate effective performance including puncture resistance and ability to hold heavy loads without tearing.
COLLABORATIVE STANDARD DEVELOPMENT
Green Seal’s reputation for credibility and market impact rests on an open and transparent process for developing our science-based standards, following international best practices. We seek input from industry, environmental researchers and advocates, product purchasers and the general public. Anyone interested can sign up to get involved and submit input.
Green Seal is actively working with stakeholders to develop the following sections of the future standard for trash bags and can liners. The list below are examples of requirements that you may see in the Proposed Standard.
- Functional performance requirements
- Load without breaking
- Minimum Percent of Recycled Resin
- Verifying Performance at Thinner Gauges
- Other Health and Environmental Requirements
- Ingredient prohibitions or restrictions
- Energy limits in production
- Minimized packaging, or recycled content, or recyclable packaging
The following timeline is an estimate of the project progress. Throughout the following phases, Green Seal welcomes and is actively recruiting subject matter volunteers with interest and expertise in this market.
- Winter 2022 – Research, Stakeholder Outreach, Criteria Development
- Spring 2022 – 60-day Public Comment Period on Proposed Standard
- Early Summer 2022 – Issuance of Final Standard and Launch of Certification Program