Paper bags are gaining popularity due to their many benefits to individuals and the environment. Many brands, stores, and outlets are switching to paper bags as traditional plastic bags can be pretty harmful to the environment. Interestingly, paper shopping bags are now widely used in every corner of the world. One is doing their part to help society and the environment by using paper bags. Shopping is the most commonly done activity. A few years ago, millions of plastic bags were used daily. The number has been reduced with the introduction of cloth and paper bags.
Where are they widely manufactured?
Moreover, paper bags are manufactured in rural areas. Using them would increase their sales and gradually increase the employment of people in rural areas. The advantages of using such bags keep adding to the list. Making a small change like this could save a lot and benefit many people.
Advantages of using paper bags:
i) Biodegradable- Unlike plastic bags, paper bags are environmentally friendly. They are biodegradable and do not pollute the earth in the long run. Paper bags take less than six months to degrade compared to plastic bags, which take up to 1000 years. Meanwhile, plastic also pollutes rivers, lakes, and seas and adversely affects marine animals.
ii) Recyclable- The recycling process of a paper bag does not release harmful gases or chemicals into the atmosphere. Therefore, it does not cause pollution. They can be recycled up to 100%. Plastic bags release many toxic chemicals that cause various environmental problems for wildlife and humans.
iii) Energy saving- The energy savings that comes from manufacturing a paper bag is a lot. It is manufactured from locally available materials. Hence, it reduces transportation, storage, and production costs. Therefore, the cost-benefit analysis is favourable for such bags.
iv) Conserving natural resources- Since paper bags do not pollute the environment, they help conserve the earth’s most precious resources, especially water. This is so because paper bags do not pollute seas and oceans nor cause any damage to marine animals. They also do not release any toxic chemicals when recycled.
How are paper shopping bags made?
Paper bags do not mean that they are manufactured from paper. These bags are made with various naturally occurring local raw materials.
- Sugarcane waste- The pulp left after sugar is extracted from sugarcane is used to manufacture paper bags. It makes the quality of the bag excellent and exceptionally durable. The pulp is removed from the dried cane and processed with other raw materials to formulate high-quality paper bags.
- Straw/grass- This might sound weird, but most paper bags are made with straw. Farmers are encouraged to sell straws at a fair price to manufacturing companies instead of letting them go to waste. Straw is used to create thin paper bags. Only a few light items can fit in as it is delicate. They are most widely used to deliver milk packets.
- Jute- Jute is a highly durable fibre. Various types of paper shopping bags of superior quality can be manufactured from raw jute. Jute extracted from trees is considered the most durable and hardest substance in making paper bags. Various quality types of bags can be manufactured using jute, depending on the proportion of the material.
- Coconut husks- The outer layer of coconuts is generally discarded and considered waste by many people. However, this is not true; it can be used to create a superior quality paper for writing and usage. The husks are soaked in water until they get absorbed entirely and then processed with several other natural ingredients.