When it comes to packaging bags, there are some questions we need ask ourselves.
- What bag is cost less: different material types have different costs. (Bag Cost)
- What bag will perform better: strong for hold, retain shape, or be better for printing upon. (Bag Performance)
- What bag is green to the earth. If there’s a chance, everyone will choose bags for better environmental performance. (Environmental Factors)
The answers will help us choose the right packaging bags just for our specific packaging needs.
How do you decide? In our opinion, it is a combination of two or even all of answers to the three questions above.
Let’s break down the three factors one by one, and hopefully this will help you make a good decision.
Costs vary greatly based upon the dimensions of the bags (including thickness of the material), handle type, and especially the type of material the bag is made from. You will have to check the pricing for the particular type of bag you require.
Generally speaking, this is the order of price based on material, lowest to highest:
- Plastic Bags
- Paper Bags
- Non-woven Polypropylene Bags
- Calico Bags
1. The physical integrity of the bag used is critical. Specifically, you don’t want a bag that is going to break, tear, or stretch.
Both paper bags and plastic bags are strong. Plastic singlet bags (think the plastic bags commonly found at supermarkets, made from HDPE) are one of the strongest. Many plastic bags are, particularly in retail environments, are made from LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) and in our experience people overestimate the strength of these bags. This can results in stretch, or torn, bags.
When in need of the strongest bags available, look no further than Woven Polypropylene Bags. Find more through one of our post Basic Guide to Woven Polypropylene Bags.
2. When it comes to printing on either type of bag, both can be printed on effectively. One key consideration is the volume of bags required. For the most common bags, the minimum is roughly 10,000 bags.
And there’re some printing method ready for your reference.
Let’s look at the environmental factors surrounding the Paper Bags vs. Plastic Bags debate:
- Recyclable (especially good for composting)
- Paper bags typically have greater volume – that is, they hold more stuff
- Involves cutting down trees
- Manufacturing & recycling involves use of lots of chemicals
- Very energy-intensive to produce
- Requires less energy to manufacture than paper
- Use of plastic bags creates less emissions than use of paper bags
- Moisture resistant, resulting in less breakage of bags & product
- Is made from oil, a non-renewable resource
- Can only be recycled a limited number of times before losing its plasticity
- Most plastic bags take many decades to break down, and often end up polluting waterways and endangering wildlife
It is pretty much impossible to categorically state that paper bags are a better environmental choice than plastic bags, or vice-versa. There are many factors to consider, and it is complex. (HDPE vs. LDPE vs. Woven PP)
Nowadays, a kind of bag called paper laminated polypropylene bag is popular. It combines the advantages of both paper and plastic.
Both are bags that can be reused by the consumer many times over, which is a big positive. This has the advantage that any branding you get printed on these bags is also seen again and again – excellent exposure over and over!
Furthermore, if you are looking for something that is truly a better eco-friendly choice, consider reusable bags, such as non-woven polypropylene bags, or calico bags.
So, armed with some more information, which bags will you choose, and why? We would love to hear from you in the comments.