What is the advantage of plastic bags

Topic of the month

Paper, cloth or plastic bags - what is really more environmentally friendly?

We all want to shop with a clear conscience. But in order to proceed as sustainably and waste-avoiding as possible, there are a few things to consider. For example, the question of the right shopping bag: paper, cotton or plastic? We compare the different materials and show their advantages and disadvantages.

Plastic Bag - Really As Bad As Its Reputation?

The simple answer is yes. If you go into a bit of detail, however, plastic has a few advantages. It weighs little, is inexpensive to manufacture, sterile and extremely durable. But the last point is also the great disadvantage of plastic. Depending on the type of plastic, it breaks down into smaller and smaller parts over decades or centuries. The resulting microplastic does not simply disappear, however, but can still be found in the ecosystem for a very, very long time. Also, plastic mostly consists of non-renewable raw materials and can therefore not be considered sustainable.

Tip: avoid plastic bags
If a plastic bag is still necessary, we recommend that you continue to use it for as long as possible. A dirty plastic bag, for example, can still be used as a garbage bag. Only when it is broken should it be disposed of in the yellow bin or sack so that it can be recycled.

Reusable bags made from recycled plastic are also a good alternative - despite plastic as a raw material. These have a comparatively good ecological balance and can be used for a very long time.

Paper bags - but made of waste paper, please!

Alternative materials to plastic pose other environmental problems. Paper bags are often only used once and use more water and resources in production than plastic bags. Another disadvantage of paper bags is that they cannot withstand moisture for long. However, they have the advantage that they completely decompose in nature. In addition, if properly disposed of, paper is easy to recycle. Because paper fibers can be reused up to seven times.

Tip: Prefer paper bags made from recycled paper
Only these do better ecologically than plastic bags when they are used once. Compared to fresh fiber paper bags, their production saves electricity and water and, above all, no trees are felled. But regardless of whether it is fresh fiber or recycled paper - the more often the bags are reused, the more resources are saved.

The jute bag - cotton is not always better

In the case of cotton bags, it is even more important to reuse the bag over a longer period of time: more precisely, at least 20 times. Because the production of cotton requires significantly more resources. The cotton bag can only score points over the paper and plastic bags if you spend a lot of time shopping. But it is also clear that cotton bags are robust and even washable and therefore more durable than bags made of paper, for example.

For many people, plastic and paper bags are disposable - after one use they end up in the trash or worse - in nature. Cotton bags, on the other hand, are usually used much longer.

Before you reach for one of the three presented bags, it is particularly useful to use what you already have at home: It can be a backpack, a basket or a shopping trolley. Because which shopping bag is preferred: The most important thing is always the frequency of use. Instead of plastic bags, you should therefore not simply use other disposable bags, but generally avoid rubbish.

Next time you shop ...

... avoid buying new disposable bags and take your own bags, rucksacks or bags with you. Bring your own reusable cotton or linen bag for shopping in the bakery and save a disposable paper bag.

... reuse bags that have already been purchased for as long as possible and only dispose of them when they are too dirty or broken.

… Use reusable nets for loose fruit and vegetables.

... also visit an unpackaged store if you have one nearby.

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