Paper Bags or Reusable Plastic Bags? What’s Better for the Environment?
Paper or plastic? This is the question that plagues millions of shoppers on a daily basis.
Most people believe that paper bags are more eco-friendly than plastic bags because they are made from a renewable resource and are biodegradable as well as recyclable. The truth is that plastic shopping bags actually outperform paper bags environmentally in all aspects ranging from manufacturing and reuse, as well as the solid waste volume and generation.
Plastic or Paper? Which Option is Better?
Plastic bags were first used in the 1970s and were seen as an eco-friendly alternative to paper bags as no trees needed to be cut down to make paper. Another positive contributing factor was that polyethylene was extracted from ethane which was a direct by-product of natural gas extraction and a major contributor to global warming.
This is in direct contrast with the production of plastic which has a direct impact on the environment as the whole logging process is done with the use of heavy machinery which runs on fossil fuels. This is also not mentioning the huge amount of water that is used to turn the pulp into paper.
After looking at the above information for both paper and plastic, you would probably think that paper is the most obvious and eco-friendly choice for you.
The truth however is that paper requires a lot more energy to be recycled than plastic as it weighs more. The stress of recycling this extra weight also leads to a much greater expenditure of greenhouse gases by recycling plants. Research and studies have been done to discover that paper tends to have a more negative impact on the environment than plastic.
4 Proven Facts Why Plastic is Better than Paper Bags
- Plastic has a much lower global warming potential as the environmental impact of all types of bags is dominated by the amount of resources that are consumed. Transport, secondary packaging and end-of-life management usually have very little to no influence on their quality.
- Regardless of the type of bag used, the key to reducing its impact is to reuse it as much as possible. It is difficult to reuse paper bags as they rip open.
- Many life cycle assessments state that conventional plastic bags are better for the environment than paper bags.
- Paper bags have a greater mass in terms of solid waste and can weigh 7 times more than plastic bags for the recycling to plants to process which leads to a seven fold increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
It is pretty clear from the above comparison that plastic bags are way better than paper bags. Before you decide to buy any plastic bag making machine for your business make sure to check with our professionals at XL Plastics.