Domtar has been honored as one of the winners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge, led by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag — a collaboration convened by Closed Loop Partners with leading retailers, environmental partners, global design firm IDEO and others. The challenge attracted more than 450 global participants, and nine winners were announced on Feb. 16..
Though the single-use plastic bag remains ubiquitous in retail operations today, rising concerns about plastic waste have spurred efforts to identify viable alternatives. The consortium assembled leading retailers to find innovative solutions that serve the function of today’s single-use plastic retail bag, offering ease and convenience for consumers while reducing the product’s negative environmental impacts.
Domtar’s winning submission is a 100 percent paper-based material that is sourced from a renewable natural resource, robust enough for limited reuse in a bag application and curbside recyclable.
Paper-Based Material Impresses Bag Challenge Judges
The bag challenge asked participants, “How might we transport goods from retailer to destination in a way that is compatible with diverse retail systems, delivers ease and convenience for customers and reduces environmental impact?”
Following a period of review and selection with the consortium partners, Domtar’s submission was one of just 58 that made it to the Ideas Shortlist. Afterward, a panel of expert external judges, the consortium founding partners, sector lead partners, environmental advisory partners and Closed Loop Partners convened and further reviewed the shortlisted submissions to select the top ideas.
Though 100 percent cellulose fiber–based, Domtar’s winning submission boasts properties not commonly associated with paper:
- Stretchable — This unique product stretches and flexes up to 40 percent.
- Strong — The durable material is stronger than conventional kraft bag paper.
- Lightweight — Domtar’s material is up to 47 percent lighter than conventional bag paper.
- Sustainable — This paper is responsibly sourced and curbside recyclable after its intended end use.
The result is a lighter weight carrier bag material with superior qualities, reduced material content and a lower environmental impact.
Why the Retail Bag Needs Reinventing
For decades, the single-use plastic bag reigned as the dominant design solution for one of the most common human activities: getting a purchase home.
But that popularity comes at a great cost. Almost all plastic bags end up in a landfill, are incinerated or leak into the environment as trash.