What is the Environmental Impact of Paper Bag Production?

Paper bags have become the latest eco-packaging decision for organizations and buyers needing to act (or show up) more environmentally accommodating. Who could want anything more? Paper bags are biodegradable, recyclable and regular. It's not difficult to expect that when compared to their shocking plastic partners, paper bags are a feasible and eco-packaging decision. However, there is also a positive as well as negative impact of paper bag production which nobody talks about. As with most environmental issues, there's a great deal to consider about eco-packaging, for example, paper bags. In this article, we will discuss the environmental impact of paper bag production in today’s era.

Paper vs. Other Basic food item Bags

Over time, various forms of shopping bags have been made, giving a down-to-earth answer for packaging and shipping basic food items home. Before bags entered the image, individuals just purchased what they could convey in their grasp or pulled everything in trucks. Without legitimate conveying strategies, individuals were restricted in the amount they could purchase and were forced to make different excursions to the store.

Now, there is a tremendous scope of basic food item bag choices — the most well-known being plastic, cotton, and paper. Compared to plastic and cotton, brown paper bags offer both environmental benefits and weaknesses.

Paper bags are made from trees

Self-evident, I know. It's likewise very clear that we want trees to prevent and switch devastating global warming. So for what reason did we out of nowhere suppose eco-packaging paper bags were the environmental sacred goal?

Indeed, because they're not plastic. Upwards of 15 billion trees are chopped as the year progresses, In the meantime, the global number of trees has fallen by ~46% starting from the beginning of human development. Encouraging further interest in the paper isn't the response.

Plastic Grocery Bags

Plastic bags furnish businesses with a fast, modest, and effectively open transporter. They are easy to deliver in mass but accompanied by various negative environmental aftereffects. In comparison to exemplary paper holders, plastic grocery bags:

  • Make more landfill waste;
  • Takes longer to deteriorate;
  • Produce and deliver toxic substances;
  • Use up a great deal of fossil fuels; and
  • Are difficult and exorbitant to recycle.

They produce a higher carbon footprint than paper transporters, making them quite possibly the least environmentally cordial solution. This is why paper grocery bags are the best.

Cotton Totes

Like paper bags, cotton totes are a famous eco-option in contrast to plastic as they are reusable and minimize the overall creation of litter. However, creating cotton totes requires loads of water. Also, they take some time to deteriorate, which consumes scant landfill space.

Brown Paper Bags

Brown paper bags have biodegradable properties, reducing their overall environmental effect. Their biodegradable abilities minimize waste and litter, instead decomposing into supplements that are valuable for the environment. Although similar to plastic, paper bags are delivered in mass and often made for single-use purposes. Furthermore, like both plastic and cotton, paper requires a considerable lot of resources and causes some contamination during creation.

Paper creation is very polluting

It takes 4x as much energy to produce a paper bag compared to a plastic one. The majority of paper bags are made by heating wood chips under tension at high temperatures. This is done in a toxic synthetic solution that contributes to air and water contamination. Therefore, paper bags produce 70% more air and 50x more water poisons than plastic bags.

Paper bags DON'T separate in landfill

Research shows that paper in landfills doesn't debase quicker than plastic. Nothing debases in present-day landfills because of the absence of water, light, oxygen and other significant components that are important for regular materials to be treated in the soil.

The Life Cycle and Eco-Footprint of Paper Bags

The life cycle of a shopping bag is divided into numerous parts: sourcing, creation, utilization, and disposal. Various factors play into the bag's eco-footprint, creating a variety of environmental effects all through its life cycle. Although many see paper shopping bags as one of the more eco-accommodating renditions of grocery transporters, they have negative environmental effects during different parts of their creation and use.

Material Sourcing

Sourcing paper over plastic offers a more sustainable solution since paper is an inexhaustible resource. It comes from two significant sources — wood and recycled paper. Between the two, using recycled paper offers more environmental benefits than chopping down trees and sourcing new wood for mash.

However, many paper plants don't source recycled materials. Instead, various trees are chopped down to create new sheets. If cut trees aren't supplanted or sustainably cultivated, creating paper shopping bags risks aiding deforestation.

Creation and Energy Productivity

When sourced sustainably, the greatest contributor to paper bags' carbon footprint is their creation interaction. Plastics come in mass burdens because they are fast and simple to make. Then again, paper bags require more advances and resources for their manufacturing cycle. Producing the mash for paper and creating the bag itself requires a ton of energy — in many cases, significantly more energy than what is required in plastic manufacturing.

The increased energy utilization expects individuals to reuse their paper grocery bags no less than two times to take advantage of the energy used. Fortunately, the paper offers flexible qualities that permit the item to be used on different occasions and for various conditions.

Waste Disposal

One of the greatest selling points of paper transporters is their biodegradability and recyclability; they produce more sustainable waste than other shopping bags. However, many individuals treat their paper bags as single-use items, which are unloaded to discard once some food is.

Despite being biodegradable, paper in landfills litters the environment and influences surrounding biological systems. Also, when combined with other heaped waste, paper bags decay and produce unfortunate measures of greenhouse gases. In a request for individuals to expand the environmental benefits of paper bags, they need to reuse, reuse, or appropriately recycle the paper.

Paper bags contaminated with food are destined for landfill

Paper that has food or oil on it can't be recycled with clean paper. Contaminated paper can ruin a cluster of recycled paper if it is not gotten before it goes to the factory. The inclination for contamination is the reason producers reject tons of recyclable paper every year.

Paper bags are the original single-use bags

Eco-packaging paper bags are not strong and that is precisely why plastic bags took their place. The second these suckers get a tiny bit of moisture on them or you put one item too numerous in, paper bags are ruined and afterwards discarded.

Eco-packaging paper bags continue the linear, single-use economy that is destroying our planet

Whether a bag is paper or plastic isn't the main problem, the way that it's single-use is. Our ongoing linear economy is fueled by a single-use culture and is unsustainable.

The transition to a sustainable future involves developing a roundabout economy, where we decrease, reuse and recycle instead of tossing things when we're done with them. Eco-packaging paper bags are a band-aid solution for the damaging linear economy.

Related: Top 15 Uses of Paper Bags to Take Note Of

How To Use Paper Grocery Bags All the More Effectively

Exemplary brown grocery bags offer a great deal of environmentally well-disposed properties, particularly when used in an eco-cognizant way. Although it's difficult for an item to be 100% environmentally sustainable, there are ways of reducing its effect.

The biodegradable characteristics and regular composition of paper bags make them a compelling supplement source for manure and fertilizer. Using paper for supplement-rich preparation lessens landfill waste and takes full advantage of the energy and resources used to make brown bags. Other approaches to reusing paper grocery bags include:

  • Using them as fire fuel;
  • Using them in expressions and artwork projects;
  • Reusing bags for resulting grocery runs; and


The environmental impact of paper bag production at last relies on how the bags are used. Compared to plastic, they give a more extensive scope of eco-cognizant uses. Furthermore, compared to cotton totes, paper grocery bags are simpler to supply and stock in mass, making them a more common bagging choice for businesses.


All shopping bags and packages have their negative environmental effects and sustainability disadvantages. When choosing a transporter for your enterprise, think about your requirements, inclinations, and how you can advance environmentally cordial shopping rehearses.


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