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Posted: November 22, 2007
Thinner nanotechnology plastic shopping bag halves CO2 emissions
(Nanowerk News) Convenience store operator am/pm Japan Co. later this month will begin using plastic shopping bags that produce half as much carbon dioxide when incinerated as conventional bags.
The bags are made of polyethylene developed by Itrix Corp. using state-of-the art nanotechnology that uniformly disperses a minute amount of a strengthening agent. Bags that are generally 13-16 microns thick can now be made 12 microns thick without compromising strength, cutting the amount of polyethylene used by 8-25 per cent.
In addition, the bags are impregnated with a substance that readily absorbs oxygen so that a greater percentage of the material ends up as ash rather than carbon dioxide when incinerated. This reduces emissions of the greenhouse gas by 35-40 per cent.
The company will introduce the bags at stores in the Tokyo area, with plans to use them at all 1,300 of its stores by next spring. It calculates that the new bags will help to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 tons a year.
The convenience store industry has set a goal of reducing the weight of shopping bags 35 per cent by fiscal year 2010, compared with 2000 levels. Switching to the new bags will enable am/pm to achieve that goal during fiscal year 2008.