When it comes to carrier bags there aren’t all that many options available to retailers. For the large part you only get two choices – plastic or paper bags. There are pros and cons to each material, but which one offers the better solution?

Let us put some internet myths to rest and show you the benefit of paper bags:

Paper Bags are ‘Greener’

Unless you’ve opted for biodegradable plastic bags, you will find that paper is a much more eco-friendly material. They’re made using materials that can be easily regrown, are widely recycled and are biodegradable if thrown away.

People do throw up the argument that plastic bags are often reused for other purposes – but the number of bags that are actually reused is not proportionate to those distributed. Instead they often sit around for years in a draw or cupboard until being simply thrown away.

However, this doesn’t relate to all plastic bags – if they are made using biodegradable materials then they can actually be more environmentally friendly than paper bags. This is really where the conundrum comes in as people get very confused about which is more environmentally friendly – paper or plastic bags. To get an honest answer you’d have to look at the materials used, how the bag is disposed of and the general lifecycle following its disposal – there really isn’t a straightforward answer.

So, to step away from the environmental impact – what are the benefits of paper bags?

Paper is More Customisable


One of the best things about paper bags is that they are extremely easy to print on and customise. Not only can this provide an extremely high quality finish, but it allows you to make sure that your branding really stands out. While this is also possible with plastic bags, due to the nature of the material it will flex and crumple which will distort the image and lose that final touch.

Paper bags can come in a huge range of sizes, shapes and thicknesses in order to provide you with the perfect packaging material. This is especially useful if you have heavy or sharp edged products that would break plastic bags, as paper is thicker and more durable.

On Trend

You may have noticed that there is a very retro trend sweeping the nation at the moment, with people wanting things that look vintage. Brown kraft paper bags fill this gap brilliantly, allowing your customers to get a truly vintage, handmade vibe not just from your products but from your packaging as well.

Keeping up with the latest fashions is important for most businesses and with many major retailers making the switch from plastic to paper, this may be something you need to do just to stay with the competition.

Can be Lined

Paper bags can be made from PE or PP coated paper, making them ideal for use with hot or greasy food products. This is especially useful if you own a deli, bakery or restaurant that offers a takeaway service, as this is a function that plastic simply cannot offer. If you were to use plastic carrier bags here, then you would essentially have to double up on your packaging options – increasing cost of packaging and waste.

paper-bags-2Want to find out more about whether you should be using paper instead of plastic? Talk to Charlotte Packaging today – with over 40 years in the industry we have a wealth of knowledge that ensures you get the right packaging solution for your needs.