Inteplast Group: Setting the Standard in Can Liner Excellence

“For can liners, you won’t find a better resource than Inteplast Group,” says Randy Orscheln, the company’s director of janitorial and sanitation products. Considering the depth of commitment Inteplast has to the can liner industry, his words could be considered an understatement.

Indispensible sanitation tools for business and industry, institutions and homemakers, can liners, also known as trash or garbage bags, are big business. Inteplast Group manufactures them for virtually every application one can think of.

As something that millions of people use everyday, it is easy to not give these seemingly simple products much thought. However, when Orscheln says,  “Knowledge about can liners and trash bags, such as what to look for regarding features, consistent quality and price is critical for high volume buyers, such as distributors and businesses, and important for consumers as well,” his enthusiasm makes the subject intriguing.

The many different types of can liners Inteplast Group manufactures is astounding. It is also logical, as can liners are used by wide ranging markets with different application requirements—foodservice, hotels, healthcare, janitorial, heavy industry, just to name a few.

Consider all the options consumers expect for home use today, drawstring, flap tie, gripper top, scented, kitchen, lawn and garden, etc., and you really start to get the picture, because store brand trash bags, too, are a specialty at Inteplast Group.

The company is dedicated to making the sales process easy and informative. “We have online tools and product grids for customers to calculate and find the right liners, and provide comprehensive phone and tablet apps for our sales representatives to calculate optimum fit and educate their customers,” says Orscheln.

Historic Beginnings

The company’s can liner product line was not always so broad. Like most success stories, there is much hard work, perseverance and dedication behind it, close to 25 years worth, in fact.

Inteplast’s venture into the can liner industry began in the early 1990s with the start up of its flagship and historically large, multi-facility manufacturing site in Lolita, TX, which now encompasses 575 acres. The industrial park was, and still is, the largest integrated plastics manufacturing facility in North America, and it was built at a time when many other manufacturers were moving out of the country.

Three distinct divisions were established. Integrated Bagging Systems (IBS) focused on blown polyethylene films used to make merchandise, produce and garment bags and can liners, among other products. AmTopp focused on biaxially-oriented polypropylene films as well as machine and hand stretch films. At World-Pak, PVC boards, corrugated sheets and reinforced films were manufactured. All of these divisions continue to this day, but on a broader scale with regard to product diversity and markets.

Each Inteplast division has its own president and Dr. John Young, group president, has served at the helm of the entire company from the onset.

In the beginning, basics were the order of the day. Words written by Young a few years ago explain why. “Given the sheer size of our production volume, we elected to participate first in the commodity or lower end markets. Because there were no previous sales leading into the start-up, there was no cushion. As we climbed the learning curve, we increasingly participated in higher-end markets.”

Joe Chen is president of Inteplast’s IBS division, which manufactures can liners among other products, and he too has served in that capacity from the onset.  Under his leadership, the division and its product offerings have grown organically and by strategic acquisition. Today, Inteplast leads the nation in can liner sales and in diversity of product offering.

“It would be challenging to cover the decades of hard work that brought the company’s can liner business this far in a mere sentence or two,” says Chen. “A key factor is our commitment to continuous  improvement. That ties in with energy efficiency, low raw material waste, ongoing reinvestment of profits back into the business for equipment and systems maintenance and upgrades. These are factors that generate quality manufacturing built for the long term.

“Flexibility is important,” Chen adds. “We are always open to new ideas, and have great people who are thoroughly committed to meeting the needs of our customers who know they can rely on us for quality, consistency, quick delivery, competitive pricing and sustainability-driven products. They also know that when we introduce a new product, it must meet our high and exacting standards.”

Powerful Diversity

A number of quality manufacturers have become part of the Inteplast Group family of companies over the years.

Each acquisition brings more great people, more products and more markets. A few include: Trinity Plastics, a leader in store brand trash bags for the retail consumer market; Pitt Plastics,  a force in the industrial market and manufacturer of hundreds of different types of liners;  Ralston, a leader in the can liner marketplace since the 1960s, introduced numerous innovative can liner firsts to the industry and continues that spirit of innovation today; and Medegen Medical Products, a leader in plastic disposables for the healthcare market, produces can liners of all types for hospitals and alternative care facilities, including bags for linens and medical waste.

With plants in Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Colorado, as well as Toronto and Alberta, Canada, producing blown films and can liners, numerous strategically-located modern warehouses and well-maintained fleets, Inteplast’s IBS Division is not only able to capture economy of scale advantages, but efficiencies in freight costs, and it has amassed substantial can liner manufacturing expertise.

“At the Lolita location, we are able to utilize our economies of scale on higher volume runs of high quality products, mostly for resale by distributors or large retailers,” says Orscheln. “At other plants such as Pitt Plastics, we can offer more ‘bells and whistles’ and customization.”

Sales Channels

Ronnie Chang, general manager and vice president, IBS, says, “The year 2005 was a major turning point in propelling can liner sales forward. That is when Joe Chen reorganized the IBS sales force into strategic business units that could focus on defined markets to address the different needs of specific types of customers. For example, our Retail/Grocery unit focuses on retail and supermarket chains; our Janitorial/Sanitation unit focuses on janitorial and sanitation customers and distributors; and our Foodservice unit focuses on restaurant chains and food distribution customers.”

In 2015, after the acquisition of plants that manufacture medical disposables and liners for the healthcare market, the Inteplast Healthcare business unit was created. The unit has a nationwide sales force under the direction of Medegen Medical Products, an Inteplast Group Company.

“The units have flexibility in adopting sales policies and customer service requirements to best serve their specific markets. Our sales are produced by direct sales employees along with commissioned brokers,” adds Chang.

Distributors are an important part of Inteplast’s sales channel. The distributors are Inteplast/IBS customers that resell the products with their own sales forces along with other items tailored to the market they serve.

Inteplast sells much more than can liners to many of those customers. For instance, retailers that purchase trash bags for store brands might also purchase recloseable zipper bags for store brands. Food service customers that purchase can liners might also be purchasing bread bags, ice bags, gloves, films and more.

Inteplast sales representatives are able to provide many customers with a complete portfolio of products on one invoice and for one shipment, ensuring cost and time efficiencies.

With so much to offer and a solid platform of growth and success, the future looks bright for Inteplast Group’s can liner business. For stock can liners of virtually any kind or size, as well as custom store brands, they are a true industry leader and reliable partner.