D empson, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of printed bags, has launched a range of environmentally friendly and degradable bags.

The range includes polylactic acid (PLA) film fronted and window sandwich/baguette bags as well as high-density degradable polythene carrier bags. These replace the traditional options previously offered by the company.

The PLA window in the front of the paper sandwich bag range replaces the non-degradable polypropylene window previously used. PLA is a polymer produced from lactic acid, a derivative of dextrose obtained from corn starch. This is produced from maize, which is sustainable and renewable annually. Produced by Natureworks and distributed by Sidaplex in the UK, the high-clarity material is said to be strong, lightweight, natural and safe for all types of food.

The new carriers can be produced in short runs, depending on customer requirements, and can be printed in up to six colours. The degradable material used has a minimum lifetime of 198 months and a standard thickness range of 15-25 microns.

Dempson chief executive John Katzauer says: "It is vitally important to be an environmentally responsible company and we are delighted to have found genuinely good quality materials that look and perform as well as the existing products, but have the added benefit of being degradable."

Dempson, which recently acquired Bradford-based paper bag supplier RS Crooke & Co, has facilities in Maidstone, Kent, and Bosnia. Including the new acquisition, the company’s turnover has increased to more than £20m.

Katzauer says the company will introduce more green variants to its bag range as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.

"We look forward to supplying food retailers who want to make a real difference to the environment," he says.