Plastic or paper bags: which is better?

plastic bags

Plastic bags are bad for the environment - that's no longer a secret. They are made of plastic, i.e. a substance that does not occur in nature and does not completely decompose. Plastic breaks down into microplastics over the years. Sometimes it takes up to 500 years. Plastic bags are a disposable product - they are often only used once and then end up in the garbage. On average they are used 25 minutes before being thrown away. In addition, a raw material of plastic is petroleum - a limited resource. Germans alone use around 24 plastic bags per capita every year. Every year, around 2 billion plastic bags are used in Germany - around 3700 bags per minute! These are just the plastic bags. Camisole bags, the little bags you find in the fruit and veg section of supermarkets, for example, are not included. Around 39 sachets are used per person in Germany every year. Our consumption has changed in recent years: while the consumption of plastic bags has fallen (2016: 45 bags per person per year), that of t-shirt bags has increased (2016: 36 t-shirt bags per person per year). This is perhaps also due to the fact that plastic bags are charged for, if they are still offered at all. Fortunately!

paper bags

Okay, plastic bags are bad. So should we use paper bags? Better not. It is a misconception that paper bags are automatically environmentally friendly. The production of paper requires a lot of wood and water, it is very energy-intensive. Paper bags have to be used up to four times to have a better ecological balance than plastic bags. However, because they tear quickly and are rarely water-repellent (they would have to be coated for that), they end up in the garbage very quickly. By the way: Just because paper bags are often brownish in color does not mean that they are made from recycled material. Unfortunately, this is an attempt to mislead consumers. Most paper bags are made from virgin fiber.

cotton bag

The more often and longer you can use a product, the better it is for the environment as no new resources are required. Cloth bags are unfortunately very energy-intensive. They have to be used up to 131 times to be better than plastic bags in terms of ecological footprint. In contrast to these, however, they are biodegradable. Cloth bags also last significantly longer than plastic and paper bags. Those who cherish and care for them may even enjoy them for the rest of their lives. In any case, they last for many years - and often look quite stylish. Basically, cloth bags should only be purchased if you actually use them. If the bags collect at home, it is not environmentally friendly. But if they are used often, they are definitely better than plastic and paper bags. Do you already know our statement cotton bag ? With the motto "Make Love Not Waste" you always score. 💚

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