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Domtar named a winner in challenge to reimagine paper bag

March 8, 2021  By P&PC Staff

Photo: Domtar

Domtar has been named one of the winners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge, led by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag.

The consortium is a collaboration convened by Closed Loop Partners retailers, environmental partners, global design firm IDEO and others.

The challenge attracted more than 450 global participants, and nine winners were announced on Feb. 16.


Though the single-use plastic bag remains ubiquitous in retail operations today, rising concerns about plastic waste have spurred efforts to identify viable alternatives.

The consortium assembled retailers to find innovative solutions that serve the function of today’s single-use plastic retail bag, offering ease and convenience for consumers while reducing the product’s negative environmental impacts.

A stronger, more flexible paper

Domtar’s winning submission is a 100 per cent paper-based material that is sourced from a renewable natural resource, robust enough for limited reuse in a bag application and curbside recyclable.

The bag challenge asked participants, “How might we transport goods from retailer to destination in a way that is compatible with diverse retail systems, delivers ease and convenience for customers and reduces environmental impact?”

Following a period of review and selection with the consortium partners, Domtar’s submission was one of 58 that made it to the ideas shortlist. Afterward, a panel of expert external judges, the consortium founding partners, sector lead partners, environmental advisory partners and Closed Loop Partners convened and further reviewed the shortlisted submissions to select the top ideas.

Though 100 per cent cellulose fibre–based, Domtar’s winning submission features properties not commonly associated with paper. It stretches and flexes up to 40 per cent and is stronger than conventional kraft bag paper.

Domtar’s material is also up to 47 per cent lighter than conventional bag paper. The paper is responsibly sourced and curbside recyclable after its intended end use.

Domtar’s Catapult team, which includes individuals from market development and new technology innovation, engages in projects seeking to translate evolving market needs into innovative fibre-based products.

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