The time has come to switch from plastic to paper bags. And it’s critical.
The reality is, if we continue to use as many plastic bags as we do currently, it is it predicted that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the number of fish! Not only this, but plastic bags are now being found in the stomachs of sea birds and stranded whales. They are not just harming the environment, but are becoming a threat to life, and it’s time to act.
Plastic is incapable of biodegrading, so when it’s isn’t recycled, simply builds up over time until it covers the planet. And that’s exactly what we see happening today.
There is an increasing concern about the impact that single-use plastics are having on the environment. With only 14% of plastic packaging being recycled globally, the majority of plastic waste is being discarded irresponsibly with little thought to how it will impact the environment we live in, which this can be seen particularly in the contribution that plastic bags are having to marine litter.
Research from Marine Litter Watch has revealed that plastic shopping bags are the 7th most significant item of litter found on Europe’s beaches.
So what’s the best alternative?
The answer is paper.
Widely recognised as the most practical and attractive alternative to the plastic bag, paper bags are also hugely more environmentally friendly and sustainable, so what’s not to love?
Contrary to the popular myth, paper is actually extremely robust and hard-wearing, and can be designed and developed for highly demanding packaging. Carrier bags made of paper can be manufactured from a wide variety of fibre types and specifically designed for what they need to carry. Those made from Kraft paper are especially durable, due to their long, strong fibres which give a high level of mechanical strength.
Incredibly tactile, due to its texture and shape, paper also has outstanding print quality and colour reproduction, allowing for endless creative opportunities in advertising and development of brand image.
Paper is one of the most sustainable materials that exists. The raw material used for manufacturing paper bags – wood – is a natural and renewable resource, and with forest certification schemes to ensure that all wood used comes from sustainably managed forests, guarantees there is no negative impact on the environment.
It is a common misconception that using paper contributes to deforestation, but the truth is that between 2005 and 2015, European forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland; the equivalent of 1,500 football pitches a day!
Paper is also a widely recycled product, with the recycling rate for paper and cardboard packaging in the EU at an impressive 85%. And even if a paper bag is discarded irresponsibly, paper experts Two Sides reveal that the impact this has on the environment will only be low, due to its natural compostable characteristics.
Besides offering a much more eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to plastic, paper packaging is fast becoming a popular look! It’s natural and renewable attributes lends paper packaging a certain charm and appeal which can really resonate with consumers.
Did you know...
78% of UK consumers like paper and cardboard packaging because it is biodegradable.
64% like it because it is made from renewable wood fibres.
48% prefer the touch and feel of paper and cardboard packaging to other materials.
Blake are pleased to be a part of the Two Sides programme – click here to take a read of their fascinating new fact sheet, ‘Paper Bags, The Natural Choice’, to find out more today.