Bags of distinction: SFA National Small Business Awards article in the Irish Independent

Thorn Environmental was born out of one family’s desire to keep the planet safe for the next generation.  Established in 1997, there are now two generations of the Thorn family working in the business, with a  third expected to follow soon. A previous incarnation of the company was the first to launch refuse sacks on rolls on the Irish market. A re-assessment of its operations in the mid-1990s saw a strategic shift  towards the production of eco-friendly packaging and waste management solutions that were in line with the EU’s new environmental action programme, now known as Agenda 2030.

“Environmental legislation provided the initial spur to realise opportunities that may not have been spotted if it didn’t exist,” explains company director Adam Thorn. “We have subsequently been able to carve out a niche for ourselves via a combination of macro-environmental analysis, innovative thinking and ongoing R&D investment to create a product range that meets all consumer and legislative requirements.”

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Ireland’s National Environmental Awards, The Pakman Awards has announced the businesses, organisations, community groups and individuals shortlisted in its eleven categories. Amongst those shortlisted this year are Repak members Aldi Ireland, Danone Ireland, Tesco Ireland, Bord na Móna Recycling and NPP Group Ltd, as well as community projects by Tinahely Community Area Projects Ltd and initiatives such as IRD Duhallow Furniture REVAMP.

Now in its seventh year, the National Environmental Awards honour companies, individuals, and community initiatives who demonstrate excellence in recycling and waste management. The winners of each Pakman Awards category will be announced at this year’s awards ceremony which takes place on Friday, 29th October in The Shelbourne Hotel, in accordance with government guidelines.

Each category winner is eligible to win the Overall Pakman Award, which celebrates outstanding achievements in recycling and waste management over the last two years.

Finalists this year include Volkswagen Group Ireland (Tyre Champion), RTÉ (Waste Prevention Business Award), Clean Coasts (Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative), Thorntons Recycling (Waste Recovery Operator of the Year – Commercial and Household) and DID Electrical (Battery and WEEE Champion).
Winning a Pakman Award is the most prestigious accolade that can be won in Ireland’s environmental sector. From local community group efforts to improve recycling, to corporate schemes that prioritise prevention of waste and innovation in waste management, the Pakman Awards play an important role in highlighting and acknowledging these achievements.
A new category introduced to the 2021 awards programme is the Online Green Packaging Award. The finalists for the inaugural year of the category are Annie Pooh, Faerly and Pestle & Mortar. The award recognises a producer or retailer of e-commerce packaging that has been innovative in producing sustainable packaging, with an emphasis on reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Commenting on the 2021 Pakman Awards finalists announcement, Repak CEO, Séamus Clancy said: “I am delighted to announce the category finalists of the 2021 Pakman Awards, in a year that sees the return of a full programme after last year’s awards was impacted by Covid-19. The Pakman Award are always evolving, and our categories honour the great work of individuals, communities and organisations across the country.
Despite difficult conditions over the last 18 months, most businesses and organisations have continued to implement exemplary waste management, sustainability, and recycling practices and with both our existing and new categories, we want to highlight these efforts and celebrate their achievements.

The quality and innovation displayed in our entries for 2021 gives me confidence that we are making great strides to protect our environment and plan for a more sustainable future. We look forward to welcoming our finalists to the Pakman Awards evening on Friday, 29 October and hope they inspire others to take action too.”
The finalists for the 2021 Pakman Awards in the Innovation in Waste Resource Products or Service are:
Harp Renewables
Integrated Materials Solutions
Thorn Environmental Ltd

The 2021 Pakman Awards are proudly sponsored by AMCS, The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Dublin Waste to Energy, Enviroguide Consulting, The Environmental Protection Agency, European Recycling Platform, Irish Waste Management Association, Repak ELT and WEEE Ireland.

Dublin-based Thorn Environmental has introduced a line of bio-based plastic recyclable refuse sacks and sheet films which capture and store carbon at the rate of 200 kilograms for every 1,000 kg of product.

The carbon capture products are marketed under the brand name earth2earth. They are manufactured from biomass produced when ethanol is refined from sugar cane.

Managing director Myles Thorn  explained: “We are delighted to bring to the Irish market the first bio-based, carbon capture refuse sacks, liners and films. These are certified by the Carbon Trust for their carbon footprint, which is minus 0.2kg per kilo from cradle to gate, removing 200kg of carbon for each tonne of material delivered.” 

The bio-based (plant) content is also certified by TUV, a product certification company in Austria.

Thorn Environmental  says that products are sustainable and renewable, being produced in plant-based ethanol production that captures carbon, which is then turned into High Density Polyethylene.

According to Thorn, “The CO2 saving when compared to ‘normal’ plastic bags is up to 2.9kg per kg of product. So if you weigh your existing plastic bag and multiply the weight by 2.9 this will give you the estimated CO2 saving. For example, if you switched one tonne of ‘normal’ plastic over to our carbon capture film, the CO2 saving would be 2.9 tonnes.”

Thorn Environmental started making environmentally friendly plastics in 1998. It was the first company in the world to produce water and heat resistant compostable sacks.

Photo: Myles Thorn  (left) and Adam Thorn Originally published on

Earth 2 Earth

Posted on October 17, 2019 by lynn

earth2earth® announced today (Thursday 17th of October) the first fully certified Bio-Based, Carbon Captured “plastic” sacks and films in Ireland. The refuse sacks, bin liners and packaging films are all made from ethanol produced from sugarcane, which captures and stores 200kg of Co2 for every 1000 kg of product produced. It’s also 100% recyclable with normal fossil fuel-based P.E (polyethylene). It is a major breakthrough in this industry.

Speaking at the announcement today, Myles Thorn of Thorn Environmental Ltd, owners of the earth2earth® brand said “we are delighted to bring to the Irish market the first bio-based, carbon captured refuse sacks, liners and films. These sacks & films are certified by the Carbon Trust for its carbon footprint which is minus 0.2Kg per Kg. from cradle to gate, removing 200Kg of carbon for each tonne of material delivered”. The Bio-based (plant) content is also certified by TUV – a product certification company based in Austria.

The products are both sustainable and renewable being produced from plant-based ethanol that captures carbon, which is then turned into high-performance HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). It is indistinguishable from fossil fuel-based plastic and can be 100% recycled along with normal plastics.

According to Thorn, “the sugar cane captures carbon from the atmosphere and stores it within the finished product. The carbon footprint of both production and distribution is less than the carbon that has been taken out of the atmosphere, which makes it a carbon negative product. Utilising the latest multi-layer extrusion technologies means the bags are thinner yet stronger than traditionally produced plastic sacks. It means we can produce our products using less material than before, which further assists the positive environmental impact”.

Carbon Savings

The CO2 Saving when compared to “normal” plastic bags is up to 2.87kg per kg of product. i.e. if you weigh your existing plastic bag and multiply the weight by 2.87 this will give you the estimated CO2 saving. For example, if you switched 1 tonne of “normal” plastic over to our Carbon Capture film, the CO2 saving would be 2.87 tonnes. A significant reduction.

By choosing earth2earth®’s new Carbon Captured sacks and films, a significant decrease in carbon dioxide going to the atmosphere can be achieved. Climate change is occurring rapidly and earth2earth® are dedicated to a solution-based philosophy behind their products.


Finalist in the 2020 Green Awards in two categories:


Finalist in the 2021 Pakman Awards
in the category: