Reusable bags in the trunk of a car.

Approved EO 4 Specification: Reusable Bags

Reusable Bags
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Covered Products

State-funded purchases of reusable bags.

 

Background

State agencies commonly purchase reusable bags to provide as giveaways in order to support waste reduction outreach and education and similar initiatives at various events, venues and outreach opportunities. Providing reusable bags instead of single-use items is an environmentally sustainable practice and encourages consumers to practice waste reduction.

 

Goal

To assist and encourage New York State agencies to purchase environmentally sustainable reusable bags and therefore decrease their environmental impact by utilizing a reusable bag specification.

 

Definitions

Cloth - Woven or felted fabric made from wool, cotton, or other fiber.

Durability - The ability for a reusable bag to withstand one lifespan (see lifespan definition).

Film Plastic – Thin flexible sheets of plastic or other material derivative that is then created into material having the characteristics of thin flexible sheets of plastic.

GSM - Refers to grams per square meter. A measure of the density of a chosen material used to manufacture a reusable bag.

HDPE bag - A bag made from high-density polyethylene.

Lamination – A coating applied to the interior, exterior or both the interior and exterior of a reusable bag.

LDPE bag – A bag made from low-density polyethylene.

Lifespan - A minimum of 125 uses. One use is equivalent to carrying a minimum of 22 pounds over a distance of at least 175 feet.

Mil - The unit of measurement used to identify the thickness of film plastic bags. One mil is one-thousandth of an inch.

Non-woven polypropylene bag - A type of reusable bag made out of polypropylene plastic in which polypropylene polymer threads are pressed together.

Plastic - Any of various compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.

Post-consumer recycled content - Post-consumer refers to a material or product that has served its intended use. If a reusable bag contains post-consumer recycled content it means that it has been made from post-consumer materials recovered from the waste stream for use in the product.

Recycled PET (Re-PET) bag - A type of reusable bag made with post-consumer recycled content that originates from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE).

Reusable Bag - A bag made of non-film plastic or other washable material that has at least one handle and is intended for multiple uses.

Washable - Any method by which the reusable bag can be cleaned and/or disinfected.

Woven polypropylene bag - A type of reusable bag made out of polypropylene plastic in which polypropylene polymer threads are woven together.

 

Specifications

Affected entities shall, to the maximum extent practicable, purchase reusable bags that meet the following specifications:

1. Durability and Strength Standards

  • Have a minimum lifespan of 125 uses. One use is equivalent to carrying a minimum of 22 pounds over a distance of at least 175 feet.
  • Hold 22 lbs. for the duration of the above-mentioned lifespan of the bag.
  • Have a volume capacity not less than 15 liters.
  • Have a minimum fabric weight not less than 80 GSM.
  • Have at least one handle that does not stretch and is fastened to the bag in such a manner that it allows the bag to meet the above-outlined durability and strength standards.

2. Materials Used

  • Comply with NYS Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. The reusable bags shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%). These restrictions shall also apply to any components, coatings, or labeling.
  • Are made from recycled PET, non-woven polypropylene, woven polypropylene, or cloth.
  • Contain a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content for bags made from recycled PET, non-woven polypropylene, or woven polypropylene.
  • Are made from a washable material and follow the definition of washable as outlined in the “Definitions” section.

3. Print

  • Meet the EO 4 Ink Specification.
  • Print the following information on a permanently affixed tag or somewhere else visible on the bag, or provide appropriate documentation concerning such information to the purchaser:
    • The name of the manufacturer.
    • The location (country) where the bag was manufactured.
    • A statement that the bag is a reusable bag and designed for at least 125 uses.
    • If the bag is readily recyclable, it should include information on the appropriate recycling stream for disposition of the bag.
    • If the bag is not readily recyclable, it should have special instructions informing the user of appropriate end-of-life management methods for the bag.
    • A statement that the bag or any parts thereof (e.g., handle(s), lamination, inserts) do not contain lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts.
    • The percentage of post-consumer recycled content used.

 

Affected entities are encouraged to purchase reusable bags which meet the following specifications:

 

1. Durability and Strength Standards

  • Have a minimum fabric weight not less than 120 GSM.

2. Materials Used

  • Have at least 50% post-consumer recycled content or greater for bags made from recycled PET, non-woven polypropylene, or woven polypropylene.
  • Contain post-consumer recycled content for bags made from cloth.
  • When made from cotton, are USDA certified organic or an equivalent certification program or agency.
  • Contain post-consumer recycled content for any lamination material used.
  • Are made of materials that will not stain easily or absorb odors and are easy for consumers to clean.

3. Print

  • If the bag is made from post-consumer recycled content, it is encouraged to have that printed on the exterior of the bag in a location visible to consumers.

 

Packaging 

Packaging shall comply with NYS Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. Packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%).

New York State encourages affected entities to adopt the following:

  • The use of bulk packaging.
  • The use of reusable packaging.
  • The use of innovative packaging that reduces the weight of packaging, reduces packaging waste or utilizes packaging that is a component of the product.
  • That all packaging remain the property of the supplier and not become the property of the affected state entity under any circumstance or condition. The vendor shall certify that the packaging material will be reused, recycled, or composted, and managed in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws.
  • Packaging that maximizes recycled content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines.
  • Packaging that is recyclable or compostable.

 

Amended specification effective October 1, 2018.