The Paper Bag Myth
Most people imagine paper bags as the more environmentally friendly alternative.
They’re ALL wrong.
We often think of paper bags as a better alternative for the environment, and no doubt, there are some benefits. These many traditional and recent plastics are not truly biodegradable. They don’t threaten marine animals if they end up in our oceans. And they are easier to recycle than traditional plastic bags.
Still, disposable paper bags are as greenwashed as disposable plastic bags when you look at the bigger picture. Check out these stats on Paper bags:
- They often do not biodegrade for decades or even hundreds of years
- Paper emits 51% more global warming gasses
- Paper creates 50 times more water pollution
- Paper uses 4 times more raw materials
- Paper consumes 2 times more energy
- Paper bags are typically single-use only
- Only about 80% percent of all paper bags end up in landfills.
- Removing trees for paper depletes our oxygen generating forests.
- Read here about how horrible clear-cutting can be
Further, they tear easily and disintegrate when wet. So even if they are recycled, they cause a huge carbon footprint with emissions and waste as we truck them to a new processing center, reprocess them, and then truck the new ones back for another use.
Paper bags cost more to landfills than plastic bags because they take up more space via their weight and volume. Recent studies have even suggested we should consider landfills to be more like “long term storage for paper”, than a mechanism for biodegrading.
When invented, plastic was hoped could save our trees and forests, and now it is going back as a better alternative, especially if you consider single-use plastics like the ones we offer.
Do you want a better solution than traditional plastic bags and paper bags? Pura Vida Bioplastics single-use bio-based bags start breaking down in as little as 30 days, and can be done with a simple at-home composter. And unlike other solutions, our product requires no chemicals, heat, or other special accommodations to break down, it does so naturally in the environment.