Printed paper bags and plastic bags are both commonly used for carrying groceries and other items, but they have different impacts on the environment which is prompting companies to make a change to the materials they choose. Whilst plastic carrier bags are popular, it’s evident that we need to cut back on using single-use plastic, which means there is room for a new type of bag to take over. This is where printed paper bags can come in useful. These bags are sustainable and biodegradable, making them the best choice for modern businesses. Weighing up the two products can help you make your decision – we will do this below.
Paper Bags: Environmental impacts
One of the main advantages of printed paper bags is that they are biodegradable and can be easily recycled. When paper bags are discarded, they will naturally break down over time and will not contribute to plastic pollution. Additionally, paper bags can be made from sustainable materials such as recycled paper, which reduces the need to cut down trees and contributes to conservation efforts.
However, paper bags are not without their environmental drawbacks. The production of paper bags requires large amounts of energy and water, and the process releases greenhouse gases and pollutants into the environment. Additionally, if paper bags are not properly recycled, they can end up in landfills, where they will take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Plastic Bags: Environmental impacts
On the other hand, plastic bags are made from petroleum or natural gas, which are non-renewable resources. Plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose in the environment, and they can have severe impacts on wildlife and marine life. Plastic bags often end up in oceans, where they can harm or kill marine animals that mistake them for food. Plastic bags can also clog drainage systems, leading to flooding and other environmental problems.
Despite the environmental drawbacks, plastic bags have some advantages. They are lightweight and durable, making them convenient for carrying groceries and other items. They also take up less space than paper bags, which can be beneficial for retailers and consumers.
Comparing plastic and paper
When it comes to environmental impact, both printed paper bags and plastic bags have pros and cons. Paper bags are biodegradable and can be made from sustainable materials, but they require a lot of energy and water to produce. Plastic bags are durable and convenient, but they are not biodegradable and can harm wildlife and marine life.
One way to mitigate the environmental impact of both paper and plastic bags is to reduce consumption by using reusable bags. Reusable bags made from durable materials such as canvas or nylon can be used for many years and can replace hundreds or even thousands of disposable bags over time.
Another alternative is to use biodegradable plastic bags, which are made from materials such as cornstarch and will break down in the environment over time. However, biodegradable bags are still plastic bags and have the same environmental drawbacks as regular plastic bags if they are not properly disposed of.
In conclusion, while both printed paper bags and plastic bags have environmental drawbacks, paper bags are considered to be more environmentally friendly due to their biodegradability and ability to be made from sustainable materials. However, the best option for the environment is to use reusable bags and reduce the consumption of disposable bags as much as possible.