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We are in a climate crisis, and with it many governments and its citizens are looking to live a more environmentally sustainable life. While many factors are impacting climate change, plastic has become one of the most concerning, as it brought a need for sustainable packaging in modern society.
Paper, and most recently plastic, have been used worldwide to protect items during transportation or for storage, and are also essential to make fragile products like medicine more accessible and cleaner for everyone. There is no easy answer as to which material is the most sustainable one, but there are some considerations to make next you go to the grocery store.
Each material has its advantages and disadvantages depending on its use, and also a different environmental impact. For example, paper-bags, while compostable and easily recyclable, have a higher level of energy and water consumption during production process than high-density plastic shopping bags, which on the other hand perform better than the plastic ones.
Also, while plastic bags are often produced from waste products of oil refining, paper requires forests to be cut down to produce the bags and its manufacturing process creates a higher concentration of toxic chemicals as its plastic counterpart.
So which one is best? Both materials have a big impact in the environment, and the real answer is to reduce your bags as much as possible. Even if they’re made of paper, if the bags are not damaged, try to reuse them for different products and its need.