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Food Coop Good Earth support sustainable transport packaging

Each week, the Food Coop Good Earth supplies its members with an assortment of locally produced and organic goods. The goods may be delivered. It is a matter of conscious choice when the cooperative uses paper bags from KESANOVA DOO.

Take Away bag @ KESANOVA
Take Away bags from KESANOVA DOO. Photo: Novatone Group

In due course, another corona autumn will begin, and 10.000s of Skopje citizens will once again have goods brought from various companies. Transport packaging is needed. KESANOVA offers environmentally friendly brick bottom paper bags that are tailored for the purpose.

The Food Coop Good Earth has its good reasons for making use of the bags of KESANOVA:

“Obviously, we abstain from using plastic for transport packaging,” says co-founder Ivo Baru, “because it would contradict the whole purpose of our cooperative.”
Ivo points at the cooperative’s desire to promote sustainability and to keep its ecological footprint as modest as possible.

“So, it was only natural to continue our collaboration with KESANOVA and use their bags for our new online delivery. The best would be a deposit system for transport packaging, but that is not realistic right now.”

Food Coop Good Earth was one of KESANOVA’s first customers in Macedonia. By Food Coop Good Earth, you can find local fresh produce from Macedonia grown the natural way without chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

The benefits that match the ambitions of sustainable consumption, ecology and local production are:

• Biodegradable
• No or low carbon dioxide footprint
• Recyclable
• Reusable
• Replaces plastic

Read about paper bags from responsibly run forestry and about misconceptions in relation to transport packaging.

KESANOVA Update #1

Paper Carrier bags by KESANOVA DOO of Macedonia
Paper Carrier Bags by KESANOVA ДОО

We also sell bags without print. We have decided also to sell bags without print. As a beginning, we have a price list ready for 15L & 25L bags with handles, and for 6L bags without handles – all in brown KRAFT. We sell one box as a minimum. This is between 150 and 600, depending on the format.

Product news – Pizza bags. In June 2021 we introduced a new product to the Macedonian market, namely Pizza bags. The bags fit 6 pizza boxes, they are extremely solid, and can be used many times. The pizza bags will also fit several cake boxes etc.

Sister company. Kesanova Doo is expanding. We have just established a sister company in Denmark, Kesanova ApS. The production stays in Macedonia.

Newsletter. We plan to issue a newsletter like this, whenever we have special offers (cleanup sale etc.), product news, price changes and/or organizational news. Let us know, if you prefer to receive by email or the like.

Coming up news: wrapping paper; idea bank for customers; favoring pay-on-time customers.

As always, please excuse our missing in-house local language capacity 😉

Best regards,
John Petersen
Kesanova.mk
076 420 010

About plastic bags in North Macedonia

Plastic bags Skopje-Cair 2020
Plastic bags Skopje-Cair 2020

KESANOVA would like to sell paper carrier bags to supermarkets in Macedonia, and large supermarket chains have already had the quote of the century. At least, that’s how we see it at KESANOVA. They refuse however, and that’s understandable. Plastic bags are cheap, and plastic has many good properties.

However, there are also some misconceptions in circulation which may cause the merchants to cling too much to plastic bags. For example, we recently met a marketing manager who seriously believed her supermarket chain was green because it only used bioplastics bags.

But it does not necessarily make a difference to climate and the environment that it says “bio” on a bag, or that it is called a bioplastics bag or similar.

What does “bio” mean on a plastic bag

You will probably offend no one by saying that “bio” is a word printed on bags, so that both the merchant and the consumer can feel that they are on the right side in the climate battle. Sometimes the feeling is based on false assumptions, other times it is so to a lesser extent. Sometimes the merchant knows well, other times he or she does not.

In the market you will find plastic bags:

– made of biomass (plants) and biodegradable.
– made of biomass (plants) but NOT biodegradable.
– made of fossil material (oil) and biodegradable.
– made of fossil material (oil) but NOT biodegradable.

The last type is the type of plastic bags we knew in the old days. It is the only type where a printed “bio” would be completely wrong. For the other three types, one will find “bio” printed on the bag and often in composition with another word – “biodegradable” or “bioplastics” for example.

Therefore, if a bag is called a bioplastic bag, it does not necessarily mean that it can be degraded biologically. It might just mean that it is made of biomass.

“Biodegradable” does not mean “naturally degradable”

No conventional plastic bag can be degraded in nature, regardless of whether the plastic is made of biomass or fossil material. Nature’s microorganisms cannot break down plastic within a humanly comprehensible span of time. Plastic is plastic.

However, when biodegradable plastic is found, it is because one can add some substances to the plastic that enable microorganisms to break down the plastic. However, it takes some particularly favorable conditions – oxygen, adjust humidity and temperature – to break down the plastic biologically. This requires an industrial composting plant.

Such a plant – as far as we have understood – does not exist in Northern Macedonia.

Obviously, oxygen is crucial when biodegradation of plastics is required. If biodegradable plastic ends up in the sea or on the bottom of the Vardar or the lakes, it makes no difference that it is biodegradable. It will stay approximately forever. Archaeologists will break their brains in the future, as to why our time has equipped plastics with a printed “biodegradable” and then dumped it in the water.

Read more about European Bioplastiks or about the climate impact related to KESANOVAs products.

Quick, colorful and flexible packaging solution for Christmas shopping at Paket.mk

From today, DIY gift bags are an offer on paket.mk. The bags are supplied by KESANOVA, which despite a limited edition could deliver quickly and cheaply, even with varying motifs in many colors.

26L paper carrier bags from KESANOVA with seasonal designs for paket.mk
26L paper carrier bags from KESANOVA with seasonal designs for paket.mk

Paket.mk now offers online customers to put together a Christmas or New Year gift bag. The bags are currently available with three different seasonal motifs. However, finding bags that met all requirements was not straightforward:

“We only need the bags for the Christmas and New Year’s trade,” says CEO Dragan Josifovski from paket.mk, “and this meant a relatively small number and at the same time we needed the many festive colors of the season, and then we preferred even to print more motives.”

“We know it is the recipe for expensive packaging, especially when you need quick delivery,” Dragan adds.

Paket.mk found the solution at KESANOVA

26L brown KRAFT is created for supermarkets

KESANOVA is a specialist in relatively small prints with multicolored printing. And the 26L bags in brown KRAFT, (320x170x400) mm, are already created for supermarkets.

However, KESANOVA also supplies large stores for, for example, supermarket chains that want climate-friendly packaging solutions.

CRUX philosophy: Healthy food demands healthy packaging

The newly opened CRUX will be the place where tomorrow’s Skopjans feel at home. This includes healthy food, muted music, a comfortable working temperature and a touch of the future. And green packaging.

CRUX bar counter with KESANOVA carrier bag and staff Marrija (right), Martin and Iva.
Behind the CRUX bar counter is Marija (right) and staff members Martin and Iva. Photo by KESANOVA DOO.

“There are many freelancers and entrepreneurs in this neighborhood,” says Marija Nikolova, who is one of the owners of CRUX, “and they miss a place where they can settle down with the computer for an hour or two. We want to be their anchorage.”

“We believe that modern Skopjans wish to be where they do the right thing. At least, we wish to,” Marija continues.
“This is why we have been looking for sustainable packaging. Among many other things. We still need a little – paper straws for instance – but it’s gonna come.”

CRUX at Mother Teresa

CRUX is located on Mother Teresa 60 (Vodnjanska), with a terrace pleasantly raised above the road, without being packed away. Besides Marija, the team of owners consists of Filip, Martin and Maja. They work hard these days to get off to a running start as smoothly as possible.

“And there is plenty of space to park your bicycle,” Marija jokes. As everywhere in Skopje, there is a lack of parking lots nearby CRUX.
“In fact, we try to turn it into something positive. We probably appeal to the urban types that go by bike.”

The 17L-bag is in line with CRUX demands

KESANOVA provides a variety of formats within paper carrier bags. The standard formats suit most types of take away food.

CRUX has chosen to use a brown 17L bag because it fits their sandwich boxes. The bottom fits exactly two boxes next to each other; with three in height, there is space for six.

CRUX 17L paper carrier bag from KESANOVA
CRUX makes good use a brown 17L paper carrier bag. It fits their sandwich boxes, and healthy food demands healthy packaging. Photo by KESANOVA DOO.

“With the 17L bag from KESANOVA we have a product that is both compostable, reusable and recyclable, and we can change the print as we please.”

“This speaks our language, and we believe it also speaks the language of the customer segments we are focusing on,” concludes Marija.

Need to face the music?

Sometimes you prefer not to face the music, right? Well, perhaps paper carrier bags might be helpful. We became aware of it last week when a picture circulated, of kids using bags to prepare masks for Halloween.

Halloween preparations. October 2019, Skopje.

As the kids showed: paper carrier bags can serve as main ingredient for making masks. In fact, the kids’ creativity was probably even challenging Facebook’s facial recognition systems (add optimism here).

It could be more serious though. Perhaps you have an interest in media catching sight of your message, while at the same time you have no interest in being too visible yourself.

One focus of KESANOVA is printed paper carrier bags for exhibitions or other events, when customers need only a few hundred or thousand exemplars.

However, we didn’t really think of public demonstrations or happenings before, until kind people made us aware of the potential last week. Here you have a few quick samples. Brew on by yourself.

Je (ne) suis (pas) Hong Kong
May peace descend on Twitter
Skopje smog alarm

Let’s talk tear strength and paper carrier bags

This paper carrier bag was not produced by KESANOVA. Though, this is not the point. There is nothing wrong with this bag. It is just that it was used for a purpose that it is not built for. Let’s talk tear strength, alias rip strength.

This innocent paper carrier bag was ripped yesterday during a bicycle ride on Cvetan Dimov Street.
This innocent paper carrier bag was ripped yesterday during a bicycle ride on Cvetan Dimov Street.

The paper of this bag is approximately 80 g/m2, and the bag is made of recycled paper and with straw handles. The retail shop making use of this bag in downtown Skopje use it for cloth and perhaps also for a bit heavier equipment. For the first purpose it is most probably fine, for the second purpose it is less likely to be strong enough.

Ripped on Cvetan Dimov Street

So, this paper carrier bag should be pretty ok, if you don’t shake the straw handles too much, and if you don’t fill it too much.

However, no matter what, this bag couldn’t stand a bicycle drive up the Cvetan Dimov Street. Well, this road is dangerous even for cyclists, but the broken bag is not due to heavy congestion and individualized traffic rules. Rather, it is about the bag’s low rip strength.

What is rip strength or tear strength

Tear strength is a term used to express how vulnerable is the paper of the bag. Low tear strength means that it is easy to tear the paper apart. High tear strength means the opposite. High tear strength means less vulnerable by contact with sharp edges, uneven weight distribution etc.

You can test the strength by simply trying to tear the top edge of the paper carrier bag. It is always good to test it close to the handles, as this is usually the most vulnerable place on the paper carrier bag.

Obviously, thicker paper usually means better rip strength, but this is most certainly not the only parameter. Basically, it is about paper quality.

Virgin paper vs recycled paper

Virgin paper is a term used for the paper that has not yet been recycled. It means that the paper fibers are still long and strong.

Recycled paper – on the other hand – obviously contains paper that has been used before, one or many times.

Unfortunately, the rip strength depends on how long and strong the fibers are. Since usually you cannot know how many times recycled paper has been recycled, it is difficult to predict the rip strength of a recycled paper product – like paper carrier bags.

So well, even if you are tear-testing by yourself, the test may only apply to the individual bag you are testing.

Brick bottom paper carrier bags from KESANOVA

All brick bottom carrier bags from KESANOVA are made of either 90% or 100% virgin paper, and we do not offer straw handles. And, you guessed it right: Virgin paper is – all else unchanged – often more expensive than recycled paper.

However, if you count how many times you can use a paper bag made of virgin paper compared to a paper bag made of recycled paper, the math falls out in favor of virgin paper bags.

Naturally, virgin paper is also recyclable.

Meet the carrier bag family

Here they are. The block bottom carrier bag family. For one times sake, all formats united at the Vardar River bank. Only the “strongman” white 49 liter bag is missing, but the brown twin is in the upper right corner.

Block bottom paper carrier bag family photo. Skopje, August 2019. Bottom left: The 5L (Liter) bag in brown and white and the 17L “flower bag” in brown (wet strengthened) and white. Second row left: white and brown 6L bags, 8L bags, and 12L “lunch bags”. Third row left: 21L brown “doggie bag”, white and brown 10L bags and 15L “conference bags”. Fourth row left: 35L brown bag, white and brown 25L “city shopping bags”, and 26L “shopping bags”. Top left: 35L white bag, 30L white and brown bags, and the 49L “strongman” in brown.

The family is in Skopje to match a developing market. Strong, eco-friendly paper bags with water-based and multicolor printing are entering the scene where plastic bags and bags of inferior paper quality do not suffice (i.e. scumbags).

Find the exact measures, strength indications and more data on KESANOVAs website.

The KESANOVA family values

  • No or low carbon dioxide footprint
  • Recyclable
  • At the forefront of anti-plastic laws
  • Adds to your street credit
  • Adds to your street visibility
  • Long and strong primary fiber
  • Reusable
  • Replaces plastic

Get a quick indicative price!

Ohrid gets eco-friendly lunch bags

From this season, Ohrid Holidays introduces lunch bags of paper. The tour organizer wants to live up to its own green ideals, and now tourists from home and abroad get their lunch in environmental friendly packaging.

Ohrid Holidays’ elegant 12L paper bag is well matching the beautiful Ohrid Lake. Beginning with the summer season 2019, this practical lunch bag is going to accompany thousands of tourists.

Every year, Ohrid Holidays organizes tours for more than 10,000 guests from home and abroad. Often, travelers are provided with packed lunches before being sent to Bitola (Monastir), Matka, St. Naum Monastery (Sveti Naum) or other popular destinations in and around North Macedonia.

“We cannot in decency send our guests out in the country with plastic bags,” says director Chelik Asim.

“We are fully aware that the amazing nature of the Ohrid Lake area is our livelihood. We live by nature, we value nature, and we would like to take care of our nature and of the climate in general.”

Tourist attraction

By tradition, tourists from the Netherlands are frequent guests around the Ohrid Lake. Ohrid Holidays is tour organizer for and partner with TUI in the Netherlands.

“Our Dutch and Western guests are far more climate aware than the average here in Macedonia, and they do not like to see plastic flying around in nature,” says Chelik Asim, and continues:

“We agree and we all want to prevent it, so now we take our small step. The Dutch demand has in fact helped pushing us in the direction of searching for a more climate-friendly solution – like the bags of paper.”

Ohrid Holidays makes use of 12L bags

At KESANOVA you can find more relevant standard sizes for paper bags when it comes to packed lunches, catering or take-away food.

Ohrid Holidays has chosen a brown 12L brick bottom bag. The bottom of the bag measures 250×200 mm. It is a good size for various sandwiches and small and large meals.

The bottom dimensions fit a wealth of standards in burger packaging, folie trays and other food packaging found in more or lesser environment- and climate-friendly versions.

The prices at KESANOVA are independent of the number of printed colors on the bag. Ohrid Holidays takes full advantage of that with its multi-colored logo.

Facts about 12L brown brick bottom carrier bag from KESANOVA:

  • Biodegradable
  • No or low carbon dioxide footprint
  • Recyclable
  • At the forefront of anti-plastic laws
  • Adds to your street credit
  • Adds to your street visibility
  • Long and strong primary fiber
  • Reusable
  • Replaces plastic

Climate, aesthetics and practical considerations weigh at AYA Farm

A 21L block bottom bag from KESANOVA has proved to match a number of requirements and considerations for AYA Farm at Pirok. AYA Farm make use of the paper bags every morning to deliver fresh, organic milk to the customer’s door.

21L block bottom bags (320x220x260) in paper and with handle are delivered with AYA Farms beautiful logo, which on the natural colored paper signals sustainability. The farm is located at Pirok between Gostivar and Tetovo.

The paper bag bottom area measures 320×220 mm, and it fits nicely with six bottles of milk, explains Gazmend Muharemi, who is the local entrepreneur behind the family business AYA Farm. The farm’s organic production has just been expanded with a new dairy, which will soon be operational.

Biodegradability is crucial

When organic milk from AYA Farm is supplied in 100% biodegradable paper bags, it is also about taking responsibility.

We have used plastic bags before, but plastic is lying about everywhere, and it does not disappear again, explains Gazmend. And for him, pollution is noticeable:

“We have problems with people dumping waste out here. Especially plastic materials are detrimental to soil quality. The waste is scattered by homeless dogs and ends where the cows graze. Last year we lost a cow on that account.”

“The plastic bags could be used many times, of course, but you do not do that, and then there could only be four bottles in it,” explains Gazmend.

“The paper bags can also be used many times, and this we do in fact.”

Jeff Lee, Gazmend’s partner at AYA Farm, complements:

“We want to act responsibly in relation to climate and nature, and we believe our customers feel the same way. Therefore, bags made of paper!”

Gazmend Muharemi with his son Diar. Gazmend is the local entrepreneur behind the family business AYA Farm.

Facts about 21L brown block bottom bag from KESANOVA:

  • Biodegradable
  • No or low carbon dioxide footprint
  • Recyclable
  • At the forefront of anti-plastic laws
  • Adds to your street credit
  • Adds to your street visibility
  • Long and strong primary fiber
  • Reusable
  • Replaces plastic