The debate about paper bags and plastic bags is blowing up in exciting ways lately. Not only are there the obvious green reasons to spark interest in foregoing the good old plastic options for eco-friendly paper bags, but there’s a growing necessity to embrace them; if you don’t, you might just find yourself at the store wondering where all your bags went.
Right now, a lot of businesses are making the switch from plastic bag options to paper bags or other eco-friendly alternatives. Like it or not, plastic is quickly going the way of the Dodo.
So, what’s all the fuss actually about? Are paper bags really better than plastic? Let’s compare the two.
A single plastic bag can stay around for 20 years or more depending on weather conditions and various other factors. This presents a threat to wildlife that may get caught in the plastic, can prevent plants from growing, and just generally mess up the environment; especially when it’s done in mass like it often is.
On the contrary, a paper bag will naturally decompose within weeks, and if a good downpour hits, it might just end up reduced to the pulp mash it was made from and washed away. It won’t pose a threat to wildlife, flora, or anything else, really.
Of course, a bag breaking down in nature isn’t all that useful if it just bursts the second you toss a single apple in it. So, how do paper bags stack up against plastic bags? Surprisingly well, as it turns out.
Sure, plastic bags won’t get soggy and rip if your meat package drips in them or you accidentally bust a can of soda in them, but that doesn’t mean paper bags aren’t just as good.
Paper bags can carry similar, if not larger, amounts of weight than plastic; you just have to be a little careful about getting them wet.
In terms of the cost to consumers, the difference between plastic and paper bags is pretty much negligible. However, the manufacturing and environmental costs of plastic bags are dramatically higher than that of paper.
When it comes to eco-friendliness, paper bags are the clear winners. A paper bag is not only 100% recyclable –and typically made of recycled paper-, but it’s also capable of being made from a destructive ocean weed known as hyacinth. Hyacinth chokes out coastal life and ruins ecosystems. So, removing it to make paper bags reduces dependency on trees and helps the coasts.
In comparison, there really isn’t anything ecologically positive about plastic bags.
Make the Switch to Paper Bags, Today
Plastic has a slight advantage over paper when it comes to durability, but that same durability is what causes most of its many issues.
For that reason, paper bags are the clear winner.