The Resurgence of Paper Bags26 Jul, 2018
With big-name supermarkets and retailers, such as Woolworths and Coles, ending their use of plastic bags, now seems like the perfect time to discuss their impact and alternatives. At Funktion, we provide an expansive range of stylish, eco-friendly paper bag options for customers throughout the hospitality industry. This push for more environmentally sustainable packaging options makes the use of plastic bags a topic near and dear to our hearts.
So, with that in mind, why are plastic bags being phased out?
The Problems With Plastic
According the the NTEPA (Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority), the main issues associated with plastic bags from an eco-standpoint are:
The Litter Problem
Each year, the Australian Government spends over $200 million solely in litter management. With plastic bags making up a large component of Australian litter, the prolific use of plastic bags is both an environmental and economical issue.
Over the last few decades, the amount of plastic found throughout the world’s oceans has seen a dramatic increase. This high-concentration of plastics, debris, bottles, and bags has been shown to severely impact marine life and aquatic ecosystems. This video below really puts into perspective the sheer volume of plastic present in our oceans.
While a person may only use their plastic bag for an hour, it can take hundreds of years for them to break down once they reach landfill. Although the push for recycling has made an impact on the number of plastic bags, this only makes up a small percentage of bags produced.
The Benefits of Paper Bags
As a stylish, biodegradable alternative to plastic, paper bags are quickly becoming a preferred choice of customers and businesses alike. While this is primarily due to their standing as a preferred eco-friendly option, they excel in a variety of areas. These include:
From spices to coffee beans, paper bags have been the preferred packaging option of culinary artisans for quite some time. This more rustic, handmade style immediately exudes quality and craftsmanship in the eyes of consumers. This customer appeal can be furthered with the use of custom branding, which both adds to their stylistic value and increases brand recognition.
While many assume that plastic bags are objectively better at maintaining freshness, the poly-lining commonly used in paper bags provides an enormous increase in the longevity of products. This makes options like our tin-tie bag perfect for sealing coffee beans, loose-leaf tea, chocolate, nuts, and more!
As mentioned earlier, one of the main issues associated with plastic bags is their inability to effectively decompose in landfill. Paper bags, as you would likely expect, fare far better in this regard; with the decomposition time of paper being around one month. While paper bags do take up more space than plastic, this quick biodegradation time more than makes up for it.
A Renewable Resource
With the exception of vegetable-based bioplastic, most plastic bags are manufactured using polyethylene; a product of petrochemical sources (natural gas and petroleum). Given the non-renewable nature of these used compounds, plastic bags are manufactured using finite resources. Paper bags, on the other hand, are made from (often recycled) paper pulp, derived from trees. This means that the use of paper bags is far more sustainable from a resource perspective.
Although paper bags still pose some environmental concerns, the eco-benefits they offer when compared to plastic more than makes them a fantastic alternative. From aesthetics to sustainability, paper bags are a perfect choice for businesses across the hospitality spectrum.
While there is still a long way to go before Australia’s hospitality industry can be considered sustainable, the push to cease usage of plastic bags is an excellent step forward. Is your business looking to switch up its hospitality supplies? If so, Funktion Hospitality’s range of biodegradable straws, custom-branded paper bags and more is sure to suit your tastes. Explore our products for yourself, or contact Funktion Hospitality today to learn more!