Paper Bags: Are They Really An Eco-Friendly Option?

Creating custom printed bags for your business can be a great way of personalising the shopping experience. But with a wide range of materials to choose from as well as printing methods, it can be difficult to find the perfect one. With plastic being slowly removed from circulation and eco-friendly alternatives being used, we are on the right step to sustainability. But are we really? In this article, we will be looking into whether or not printed bags really are an eco-friendly option. 

The Manufacturing Process 

There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to printed bags being much more environmentally friendly when in fact they are not. Not only does the process of creating the bag have much more of an environmental impact due to the amount of energy being used, but the product lifecycle is also significantly shorter than a plastic or material alternative. Though it may seem a more sustainable form of packaging, it could actually be the most environmentally damaging in the long term. 


In addition to the environmental impact that the production process has, there are also a number of elements to consider when it comes to the practicality of the packaging. Not only does the material weaken over time, but the material softens in water leaving it useless in the rain. This can be an issue particularly if you are planning on selling items that are heavy as the bag will break. Though they can be reinforced, this is an additional cost that has a further environmental impact leaving this as not a very popular choice for any business looking to switch up their branding. 

The Product Lifecycle 

Though both plastic and paper are recyclable it is important to note that a paper bag generates more waste. With an additional volume of paper added to the waste stream, this produces harmful greenhouse gases as it decomposes, therefore causing additional harm to the environment. In addition to this, the bag is more likely to rip much faster, this means that customers are less likely to re-use the bag and rather simply throw it in the bin, therefore making the product less environmentally friendly than a printed cotton bag or plastic alternative.

The Costs Of Recycling 

In addition to this, paper is much heavier than plastic meaning that there is more machinery needed to create, print and recycle the material throughout its lifecycle. This, therefore, increases the environmental impact as the amount of water and fossil fuels needed to create and recycle the product can at times out way that of a plastic bag. Therefore, it is important to consider your options as a business not only from a cost perspective but also the carbon footprint that your business will have when generating this packaging.

With this in mind, there are a number of ways that paper bags can be used for your business, but as we have seen, there is a higher economic impact throughout the production process. Which style of packaging will you be choosing when you opt for your packing techniques.


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