Shopping bags are an item everyone uses on a massive scale. In a consumer-driven society, a single person can use well over a thousand disposable shopping bags in a single year. This can amount to hundreds of thousands for a family of four in their lifetime.
This is why it is important to think smart when it comes to shopping bags. Two better alternatives to plastic grocery bags are paper or jute. But which one is the best? Continue reading to find out how each scores in three important categories: sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and eco-friendliness.
What is a Paper Bag?
A paper bag is a bag made from recycled paper products. Most grocery stores offer these as an alternative to plastic, not only because they are better for the environment on some level but also because they are stronger.
What is a Jute Bag?
A jute bag is made from the fibrous materials of the jute plant. This is more commonly known as burlap, which has been used for packaging goods for centuries. These bags are much stronger than plastic, reusable, and have a lot of potential uses outside of groceries.
When it comes to sustainability, a jute bag wins hands down. The jute plant grows quickly, which means it is a much more renewable resource than the trees paper products are made from. A single tree may need as much as two decades to reach full maturity, whereas a jute plant can grow in less than a tenth of that.
The paper bag will win this category, as paper can cheaply be manufactured on a larger scale. This is why paper bags were manufactured for use in grocery stores in the first place. Looking at the long term, however, both bags even out as burlap lasts longer than paper does. When seeking out which is better as a short-term investment, however, we will have to give a point to the paper bags.
Although paper bags are better for the environment than their plastic counterparts, this does not mean they are GOOD for it. Paper products still contribute to landfill waste – not to mention the issue of deforestation, which leads to eradication of wildlife species.
Jute bags, on the other hand, are reusable. They can be used for an extended period while still maintain their efficiency. This means they do not contribute to landfill waste, or, at the very least, they contribute on a much smaller scale. They can also be repurposed as they wear and tear. As a matter of fact, people during history once made their clothing from upcycled burlap sacks that flour and other materials came in.
In the end, paper bags may be cheaper to manufacture but there is no doubt that Jute bags are overall the better choice for shopping bags. They are much more sustainable, better for the environment, and they even the potential to be reused or upcycle. Paper bags, on the other hand, do not hold up in most of these categories.