In 2007 the Directors realised that for Australian plastics manufacturing to survive and stand any chance of growth, there would need to be major structural changes to the industry and to the company.
The message was clear and well understood, that our prospective customers were looking for flexible packaging that was “fit for the purpose” and “good value”. Australian manufacturing was becoming uncompetitive and bureaucratic, leading to excessive lead times and unnecessary expense.
Our biggest assets were our location, capacity and technical knowledge. Our weakness was our inability to recognise that we would not survive unless we restructured the way the company was managed.
Since 2007 we have implemented a management team capable of delivering the “new objectives”. Our vision and mission have remained to encourage “Growth through customer service and the supply of technically superior high performance flexible plastic products”. However, now we have greater flexibility, less bureaucracy, and the ability to offer an alternative to “imported flexible packaging”.
Econopak will always look to put the customer first and offer a “Customer Care Charter” which outlines our commitment to meeting the customers’ expectations. This is one of our unique points of difference.
2010 has continued to be a year of growth, setting aside the “The Pink Batts”, with the appointment of Jo Pendleton, Executive Officer. Jo brings with her a great deal of knowledge and has trebled monthly sales in Queensland.
Plastic bags are cheap to produce, economical, strong, durable, waterproof, convenient, reusable and
recyclable. They are made from the gases produced as a by-product of the manufacture of petroleum
products and cause less damage to the environment in their manufacture than alternatives such as paper.
A recent study in the U.S.A. ("Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Polyethylene and Unbleached
Paper Grocery Sacks," Franklin Associates, Ltd., June 1990) reports that the plastic bags gave the following
• 30 percent less energy used compared to the paper alternative;
• 77 percent less solid waste during manufacturing and distribution;
• 68 percent less atmospheric emissions;
• 93 percent fewer waterborne wastes.
After the initial use plastic bags can be reused or recycled and if deposited in a landfill take up far less space
than alternative single trip packaging.
Recent improvements in polymer properties have meant that less plastic has to be used than was previously
needed to achieve the required mechanical properties of the bags.
In addition, at the time of disposal, plastic bags:
• can be easily recycled, requiring less energy to do so than alternative products;
• can be re-used many times over;
• if disposed of in landfills they require less volume;
• are chemically inert, therefore resist decomposition into gases that add to the greenhouse effect;
• maintain the integrity of garbage in landfill sites preventing subsidence and allowing completed
sites to be used for other purposes such as parks
Unlike "normal" plastics, that degrade and disintegrate very slowly, degradable plastics are manufactured to
accelerate the destruction of the plastic product, preferably extending the destruction to the extent where
the plastic is mineralized into its basic component elements.
Oxo-biodegradable plastics (also referred to as oxo-degradable plastics) are normal petrochemical based
polymers which have a small amount of prodegradant added during the production of the plastic. The
prodegradants act as a catalyst to speed up the degradation process of the plastic and is normally a
transition metal. Some of these metals are considered trace elements and are essential for life, such as
cobalt which is essential for the formation of vitamin B 12.
Hydro Biodegradable plastics are those plastics that contain a percentage of both petrochemical derived
polymers and biopolymers (normally starch based when used to produce bags for example Starchpolycaprolactone
(PCL) blends produced by Novamont in Italy and branded as Mater-Bi ) These polymers
are complex in structure and need to be initially hydrolyzed by water which breaks them into shorter lengths
and they are then destroyed by the enzymic action of microbes. Originating from organic materials there are
numerous species of microbes which will assimilate these products.
Oxo-degradable additives allow the rate of degradation to be controlled so as to best suit any particular
environmental application, again ensuring our customers receive the best possible product.
There are certainly products for which starch based polymers are ideally suited but unfortunately many of
these are not in areas of the market which E-Pak supplies at present, as this technology improves there
may well be a need for E-Pak to adopt aspects of it to ensure that our customers are offered the best
suited product available.
The major benefits to consumers of plastic shopping bags are • Their low cost • Their carrying capacity • Time saving • Their ease of distribution • Their waterproof ability • Security in terms of printed store bags identifying the shop from which items were bought • Ease of packing at grocery check out stations enables fast customer processing • Advertising and brand awareness • Customer safety created by the strength of the plastic • The cost savings they provide to retail stores • Bags may be re-used as dust bin liners and household containers • Security in terms of not displaying the contents.
Econopak Flexible Packaging has developed with its technical partners a range of degradable polyethylene products which are produced on co-extruded format utilising cost effective polymers, thereby making the Biopoly® range a technically advanced,environmentally friendly alternative to standard polyethylene products.
Materials utilised are manufactured under license and FDA approved for use in direct contact with food and pharmaceuticals.
In line with the principles of the National Packaging Covenant, Econopak is well placed to meet its responsibilities in terms of product stewardship. Our recycling facility gives our downstream supply chain partners the opportunity to participate in a program that minimises environmental impact.
Recycle materials are utilised in the manufacture of suitable industrial products.