Water soluble bag manufacturers make bags that dissolve in hot or cold water and are used for washing and isolating contaminated textiles in hospitals. The bags are hygienic and environmentally friendly because they dissolve in the washing process leaving no residues in the laundry or the water. The bags are also marine safe and the ink used to print on them is water based. The material is also fully transparent making it possible to scan the barcodes from outside the garment bag.
The bags are manufactured from a composite uniplanar film consisting of a strip of cold water soluble plastic film bonded at its edge to a strip of hot water soluble plastic film. The film has excellent tensile strength and tension and is very resistant to puncture and tear. It is also fully recyclable and the production of the film requires no solvents or lubricants. The bags can be printed with hot or cold water based inks, which means that they are both recyclable and biodegradable.
In addition to the high tensile strength, the bags are also very durable and have good heat resistance. The bags are suitable for a wide range of applications, including packaging of clothing, underwear, swimwear and soft homewares. They are also an alternative to single-use plastic garment bags. The bags are completely biodegradable and have a low impact on the environment, making them an eco-friendly choice for shipping and retail.
PVA is a polyvinyl alcohol film that has been chemically modified to become soluble in water. It is not, as some claim, a replacement for traditional single-use plastics. In fact, a key supplier of the PVA used in water-soluble polybags makes this very clear in a white paper on its website. The document states that despite the fact that water-soluble plastic films have the potential to reduce the amount of plastics that end up in the oceans, it is still important that the products that they are replacing continue to be made from virgin plastics.
This is because the carbon impact of the PVA used in water-soluble plastic films is far higher than that of Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) – the primary material in traditional polybags. The LCA (life-cycle assessment) figures published by the company show that the PVA polybags have a global warming potential of 11.8 kg CO2 equivalents per kilogram, which is significantly higher than LDPE.
Another issue with the marketing of these bags is that they are often suggested as a solution to single-use plastics. However, it is impossible to fit PVA-based hot water-soluble plastic bags into a circular economy as most end-of-life pathways involve the destruction of the material by dissolution in water or industrial composting. This would mean that a large proportion of the PVA used in these polybags will have to be sourced from virgin plastics.
Water-soluble polypropylene film is a new, environmentally friendly packaging material that has many advantages over conventional plastics. It has great water solvency and can be dissolved in various temperatures of water, at different speeds and fathoming depths. It is not a toxic substance and does not pollute the water ecosystems, so it is ideal for packaging a variety of products, including food, medical supplies and chemicals. It is available in a range of thicknesses and dimensions to suit specific requirements.