Food Waste / Supermarkets

Shouldn’t we be using paper bags?

October 22, 2019

Paper a renewable resource

I’ve heard this many times, how paper would be a better option than plastic bags. It seems obvious but if we delve a little deeper into the facts then it may not be the best idea after all.

  • Pros of paper bags for packaging are that they decompose much faster than plastic
  • Its easily recycled and readily used in it’s recycled format
  • Its renewable and gives companies that use it the opportunity to re-plant forests to maintain it as a renewable resource

Paper is undoubtedly a great material for many uses but not for all packaging

  • Paper bags use 4 times as much energy to produce as plastic
  • For bread packaging, paper bags do not keep the bread fresh for long thus increasing the chances it will be thrown away half eaten. This contributes to food waste which is as big a problem if not bigger than plastics and this is the keypoint for bread
  • They are heavier to transport and bulkier to carry so therefore use more resources in fuel

The BBC wrote an article about this recently following the introduction of paper carrier bags at Morrisons which you can read here