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10 Reasons NOT to ditch Paper Bags

In the beginning, stores had paper bags. But for anyone who has ever tried to carry them it can be a little difficult. Then came the miracle of modern chemistry, the disposable plastic shopping bag. And while these were generally smaller than traditional paper grocery bags, they came with HANDLES. It was easy to carry several of them at the same time. And while some people did find uses for them once they got home, for the most part they were one use items and thrown away.

But times change. People began to have concerns about disposable plastic bags and started demanding retailers share their concerns. And the retailers listened. "Paper or plastic" was a common refrain at cash registers all across the land. But our politicians thought more needed to be done.

The war on plastic bags had entered the next phase. Legislatures started banning disposable plastic items, such as food containers, straws, and shopping bags. As these bags started to disappear our large retailers had a choice to make. They could either return to paper bags which had worked well enough for many decades, or they could retrain their customers to not only buy reusable shopping bags but to actually use them. While there was a small number of people who had always carried their own shopping bags, it suddenly became much more mainstream. In a short period of time, people's vehicles and homes were suddenly inundated with more shopping bags than ever before. Why so many? Because people would forget to take them with them and ultimately buy more at the store. And then they would do that again. Even if they were in the car, most people did not return to the car to get them. They simply bought another one. It didn't have to be that way.

The humble paper bag has been there all along just waiting to help you out. As more retailers are now doing away with paper bags in the interest of both cost and environmental awareness, what is the consumer to do? We need to let our grocers and other retailers know that not only is it OK to return to trusted and proven technologies; it is also what we, your customers need.

Praise the paper bag!

    1. They are a renewable resource.

    Paper comes from wood. And while wood processing is an industrial process that can be messy, there are no environmental impact concerns.

    2. Retailers can make money on them too.

    Many retailers already charge a nominal fee for paper bags as a cost recovery tool or as an incentive for customers to use reusable bags. There is no reason retailers can't recoup the cost of giving customers what they want.

    3. Paper bags are recyclable

    4. Paper bags are biodegradable

    5. Paper bags are easily re-purposed

    I use the paper for many projects around the house.

    6. Customers are often inconvenienced by the reusable bags

    Either by forgetting and having to buy more or by having far more than they need.

    7. Easier for the retailer as well

    Reusable bags must be ordered, inventoried, and tracked like all other merchandise. Paper bags are a consumable and can be treated as such as for the purposes of inventory and purchasing.

    8. Kids love them

    Generations of both children and parents have come up with all kinds of crafts and projects based on the ubiquitous paper bag.

    9. Paper bags are good for the economy

    Economics are such that many paper products in the USA are produced domestically. Increasing the use of paper bags keeps many employed right here at home.

    10. Less plastic

    Most of the reusable shopping bags sold today are made out of a complex combination of materials, including plastics, and require additional manufacturing processes. The production of these bags is not an environmentally friendly process.

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