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Paper beats plastic

Paper beats plastic

The humble paper bag has made a comeback in the wake of last year’s plastic bag ban. You only have to take a stroll through a supermarket or mall to see that paper bags are once again being widely used by retailers and grocers. Let’s take a minute to consider the pros and cons of reverting back to paper.

Plain and simple

Commonly manufactured with a flat bottom and gusset, paper bags offer an ideal format for packing groceries or shopping items. They’re strong - not as strong as plastic - but do they really need to be? Considering that a plastic bag will hang around for hundreds of years after its 27-minutes of use perhaps we can afford to trade off a little bag strength! And anyway, paper bags are designed to be ‘fit for purpose’ so those intended for carrying heavy groceries and goods will be a bit thicker and more robust.

With the multitude of formats and sizes available, retailers have the opportunity to tailor their packaging to their product. A jeweller may choose a small high-quality punched handle bag whereas a takeaway bar can utilise an extra-wide twisted handle bag that keeps food parcels right-way-up. Compared to the typical one-size-fits-all conventional plastic checkout bag, paper bags offer a world of options. More suitable options could mean less packaging in general, which is always a good thing.

Ecopack paper bags are packed in convenient retail-ready sets. Punched and twisted handled bags come in sets of 25, whereas lightweight and checkout bags come in sets of 50.

Easily branded

Our paper bags come unbranded as standard. But they can easily be screen printed or stamped to achieve a bespoke design. Please note that minimum order quantities apply if you want us to arrange branding on paper bags for you – and they usually start at around 5,000 bags.

End of life options

Paper bags are somewhat unique in that they can be re-used, recycled or composted. The ideal lifecycle of a paper bag would see it being used mindfully, then reused over and over again, and ultimately disposed of in either a compost pile or sent to paper recycling. Made from natural wood fibers, kraft paper bags will break down in a compost environment over 1 - 2 months, transforming back into nutrient rich soil. It’s actually a great way to get carbon (“brown”) contributions to your compost to balance out the nitrogen (green waste and food scraps).

Environmental impact

Manufacturing any product takes a toll on the environment but of course some products are worse than others. The upside of paper is that it has easy, attainable end-of-life options. The downside is that the process of making paper bags takes tonnes of water.

Wherever possible we source FSC-certified kraft paper. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council - they are the world’s most trusted sustainable forest management solution and guarantee wood products come from responsible sources. You’ll see the FSC Recycled mark on the bottom of most Ecopack paper bags, which proves that they are made from reclaimed material.

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