Opal directs its focus to creating brown paper bags

Following the closure of its paper machines as a result of the unplanned end of VicForests wood supply last year, Opal has redirected its focus to utilise both local Australian wastepaper and wood to convert into brown paper bags.

To provide an alternative to plastic bags and ensure that manufacturing remains local, Opal said it has invested in high-tech brown paper bag technology to produce retail paper bags at its Opal Bag Solutions site in Thomastown, Victoria.

Opal’s paper bags are 100 per cent Australian made and are created from at least 70 per cent recycled paper. Opal also has the functionality to produce 100 per cent recycled paper bags.

“With Opal’s bag-making technology, we can supply retailers with a fibre-based recyclable solution. Due to environmental concerns, most states and territories in Australia have introduced a ban or a commitment to ban a variety of single-use plastics in many sectors, including hospitality and retail. As a result, paper shopping bags are increasing in popularity and providing a viable alternative to plastic bags,” Opal said.

“Once consumers have no further use for them, Opal’s paper bags can be disposed of in kerbside recycling bins to be recycled. The importance of locally made paper bags means there’s no need for international freight and no risk with overseas supply chain issues.

“The manufacturing of our paper bags not only provides our customers with a plastic-free substitute but contributes positively to the Australian economy through the support of local jobs. By introducing brown paper bag technology at our Thomastown site, Opal has created new local production jobs.”

Opal supplies Woolworths stores across Victoria and New South Wales with recyclable brown paper bags to replace single-use plastic bags. In South Australia, it also supplies paper bags to Woolworths’ customers who place orders online.

Opal also recently advised that the decision to close several of its paper machines caused its parent company Nippon Paper a total of 6.1 billion yen ($63.9 million) in losses.

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