We have detailed a few reasons why supermarkets are still using plastic bags:
Even though supermarkets use plastic bags, they’re not the old plastic bags that people used once.
The consumer then threw away the plastic bags used once, which were not recyclable.
The supermarkets are now using a different type of plastic where the bag is for life, which you typically have to pay 25p or more for. These bags use a recyclable plastic material, and they are used week in and week out repeatedly by the consumer, whether for the supermarket shop or general shopping.
To use bags made out of paper in a supermarket, they need to be high quality. However, this comes at a cost that significantly exceeds the cost of plastic.
Even though the paper bags would be high-quality, they are still nowhere near as strong as using plastic. Therefore, they wouldn’t be practical for a big supermarket shop consumer.
In the UK, we live in a mostly wet climate (or it just feels like it!), and using bags made of paper is not a practical proposition when having to take weeks of shopping from the supermarket to the car.
Using paper will get very soggy and be prone to tearing, especially if you’re carrying frozen food.
Unlike plastic bags that get used week in and week out, over and over again, using paper would be a one-use bag, and then you’d throw it away, which doesn’t make paper a practical solution.
It takes time to make paper, from cutting down the trees to turning the wood into paper, with approximately four times as much energy used in the overall manufacturing process.
There are also environmental issues with the manufacturing process of paper, such as a lot of water is used in the manufacturing process and the release of more than three times the greenhouse gas emissions with paper over plastic manufacturing.
Transport is also an issue where it takes 3 ½ times more transport for paper compared to plastic.
While there’s media attention with plastic highlighted as an issue in today’s environmental concerns, it is still a practical solution that you can’t ignore.
Plastic is the best solution, but it’s essential to use plastic materials that are recyclable for the environment and create products such as bags that are used repeatedly for maximum consumer usage.
Ensure that you keep and use your plastic bags week in and week out for your ongoing weekly shopping.