Albany plastic bag company striving for more sustainable products

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – By now you’ve likely heard about New York’s single-use plastic bag ban going into effect on March 1st. But, with so many things we use and even wear containing plastic, what are manufacturers doing to get “greener”?

News10’s Anya Tucker took a tour of Clear View Bag Company in Albany to get an inside look at the current state of plastic and where it’s heading.

“This press is going to take that plain, clear film and make it into something beautiful.”

But, President Todd Romer says those beautifully printed bags come at a cost to the environment. It’s something he is keenly aware of. His company does not make the single-use plastic bags that are part of New York’s ban. Romer says most of those are made overseas.

“This is what the controversy is all about (points to single-use plastic bag) and we are all for it. There’s no reason for it. The problem is everything you put into that bag is made out of plastic. Some of it we need, some of it we don’t.”

Anya asks: “You’re saying this is just one minor, minuscule step?” Todd: “It’s very minor.”

At Clear View, plastic has been the family business for about 60 years. But, they are now shifting gears toward more sustainable materials.

“I don’t think I ever felt great, especially in the last five to 10 years about the product that we made.” That’s Trent Romer, Todd’s brother. Trent has traveled the world to see how change can be accomplished while making a profit.

“So we needed to find materials that passed three things. We need to run it on our machines. Because if I can’t run it, it’s really hard to do.”

They also needed a consistent stream of materials. And it had to be at the right price.

Right now just 10 percent of their bags are made from plant-based materials.

“Hopefully we do an interview in three or four years and I can tell you it’s 75 percent.”

But they have also made other changes. They recycle all scrap polyethylene, but they set themselves a challenge to reduce scrap waste by 25% saving 150,000 pounds of poly.

The Romer’s say the biggest challenge will be to infrastructure- changes to manufacturing and recycling. Things that have been accomplished in Europe and in some U.S. cities.

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