Disposable paper bags are often offered as an eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic bags.
So how eco-friendly are paper bags?

Production resources

Energy

Plastic bags consume 71% less energy than paper bags to be produced.

Water

Paper bag production consumes 25 times more water than plastic bag production.

Raw materials

Paper demands cellulose, which means less trees absorbing carbon.
Plastic demands oil, which has a high carbon concentration – which eventually has to go somewhere else.

Transportation

 Paper bags are heavier and occupy more space.
It takes 7 trucks to transport the same quantity of plastic bags that can be transported by 1 truck.

Recycling

Most recyclers don't take plastic bags because they are a difficult material to handle, as they can easily clog machinery.
Paper bags can be recycled more easily, but their recycling process consumes 91% more energy than plastic bags.
 

Briodegradation

Paper bags

Paper bags will eventually biodegrade if placed in favourable conditions. However, modern landfills are actually designed to not allow any degradation in order to avoid soil and water contamination. Compared to plastic, paper takes more space, demanding larger landfills.

Plastic bags

However, even in favourable conditions, plastic does not decompose down to the chemical/atomic level, it only becomes smaller pieces of plastic (micro and nano plastics), which contaminates basically everything and everyone.
 

Bottom line

Both types of bags generate pollution in many forms throughout their short life cycles.
The bottom line is simply to not take single-use bags at all.
 
Own quality, long lasting bags made of sustainable materials and reuse them as many times as possible.

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