Over the last few years, people have become much more aware of the impact single-use plastics have on the environment, which is just one reason why the United Kingdom has been turning away from plastic shopping bags. In their place, paper bags are gaining popularity, and new research shows just how much better they are for the planet.
According to a new report conducted by the environmental campaign ‘La Bolsa de Papel’, the use of paper bags can help save the environment up to an estimated 84,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions. To put that in perspective, it’s around the same amount as the total emissions produced by 50,000 homes for heating and hot water.
Why are paper bags so good at reducing CO2 emissions? It largely comes down to the trees that are used to create them. Cutting down trees indiscriminately is obviously bad for the environment, but the responsible growth, cultivation, and harvesting of trees used for paper bag manufacturing helps store huge amounts of harmful CO2.
This is because fast growing trees are often used as the raw material for paper shopping bags, and those trees absorb the highest levels of CO2. As the trees grow, CO2 is absorbed. The constant harvesting and growing of new trees can therefore drastically reduce emissions.
Of course, that’s only one of the ecological benefits you get from using paper bags instead of plastic. While plastic bags are not biodegradable and often end up either harming wildlife or sitting in landfill, paper bags can be easily recycled. Less energy is required to make them, and fewer chemicals are required during the process.
Next time you’re trying to decide between using plastic shopping bags and paper shopping bags, just keep in mind the huge difference you can help make for the planet simply by opting for paper.