Is it a greener plastic bag or paper bag? … you may be surprised!

At first glance, a paper bag might seem like a clear choice. But the answer is not so clear and obvious. If we look at the plastic bag manufacturing process and compare it to the same paper bag process, we find that the opposite is true. Studies show that calculating the cost of all the necessary bag-making resources puts plastic disposable polyethylene bags (plastic bags) in a greener position.

Let’s take a look at this in the language of numbers, and let the final opinion be made by everyone.

Comparison first: general information

LDPE disposable bag (plastic):

plastic is harmful to the environment

produced from a non-renewable source (oil)

can be recycled

Paper bag:

it does not pollute the environment

it is produced from a renewable source

can be recycled

Winner: paper bag

Comparison second: the cost of making the bag

Itself for a purchase volume that fits in 1000 bags (the same bag capacity is considered)

Paper bag Plastic bag
Energy consumption 2600 MJ 760 MJ
Water consumption 23 kg 15 kg
The share of municipal waste 34 kg 7 kg
Greenhouse gas emissions 0.08 tonnes CO2 0.04 tonnes CO2
Water consumption 264 liters 15 liters
Winner: plastic bag

Comparison third: storage, transport, and distribution

of 1000 bags

Paper bag Plastic bag
Empty bag weight (unfolded): 52 kg 6 kg
Volume of empty bags (unfolded): 150000 cm3 7500 cm3
Winner: plastic bag


As can be seen from the above comparison, the production of a plastic bag is considerably less energy-intensive. The production itself pollutes the environment less by the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2), it has considerably lower demands on the consumption of water, energy, fuel, and occupies a smaller percentage of the volume of municipal waste. Also, distribution, storage, and transport are significantly less demanding due to ten times less weight and volume.

After reading the above information, is everything as clear as it seemed at the beginning of the article? Let everyone make their own opinion.

Finally, based on this study, another plastic packaging can be viewed in a similar way. In any case, you can choose, in our offer you will find paper and plastic bags.

These data are taken from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


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