The findings of IVL Life Cycle Assessment report has highlighted the environmental advantages of using paper-based packaging products compared to plastic packaging. It was found out that plastics have slower and longer degeneration time when placed on the landfills as opposed to paper. Plastics can continue to impact the environment in the landfill for 100 years.
In the United Kingdom alone, about 65% of plastic waste can be found in landfills. Since the degradation process is very slow, it leads to more greenhouse gas emissions. Paper packaging particularly those manufactured from virgin or recycled fiber can be further recycled and processed for re-use. The report further stated that plastic grocery bags are more likely to have a stronger impact on global warming than paper grocery bags. The same is also true for the acidification process in the material production of plastic grocery bags as against paper grocery bags.
In the UK, AB Group, a packaging manufacturer has been making efforts to highlight the issue on the advantages of using paper for packaging instead of plastic. In England, a 5p charge on all single use plastic bags was introduced in October 2015 as part of Crown/EU initiative to make improvements on the environment and to protect the food chain.
AB Group is working with high street retailers to ensure a seamless transition to paper grocery bags. There is no charge to using paper and consumers prefer the change because paper is eco-friendly and progressive. Brands using paper packaging are continuously seen on the high street as more and more retail stores have adopted the paper packaging trend.
The government expects to focus more on plastic bag charge as an approach to the problem of carrier bag distribution and littering. According to info from the government, paper bags make up less than 0.1% of carrier bags that are being distributed in the UK by seven of its major supermarket retailers.
There are lots of advantages in using a paper bag for packaging. Aside from being eco-friendly, paper bags are cost effective and there is plenty of room for customization to highlight the brand. In fact, paper bag is a popular packaging option for luxury fashion items.