The question of what is more environmentally friendly between paper bags and recycling plastics is an old one but it refuses to go away. However, it is renewed by increasing concern about the environmental impact of plastics on neighborhoods. The fact that is unknown to many is that even the bags have an impact on the environment. Only a closer look at the facts surrounding the campaign on plastic shopping bags can reveal the best between paper bags and recycled plastics.

Advantages of Recycling Plastics

Recycling is the method recommended for dealing with plastic waste in the environment because it presents numerous advantages. Here are some of these advantages.

Energy efficient

one of the accusations against plastics is that they require a lot of energy to produce. When these plastics are recycled, less energy is used to produce similar products. This makes the entire process and the resulting products more efficient on energy.

No raw materials are consumed

Once you recycle plastic, you will not need to use new raw materials. This means that the environment is not damaged in order to produce a similar bottle or cup. It means that you will be saving the environment without reducing the quality of life of people or affecting their convenience. They will still enjoy the same plastic products without continued damage to the environment.

The solution to water and air pollution

Landfills and the process of manufacturing plastics results in environmental damage. The solution lies in use of recycled plastics. This process takes the plastics away from the environment, leaving it clean and free from pollution. The process of recycling emits fewer harmful gases compared to manufacturing the plastics afresh.

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions

The process of producing plastics from scratch leads to extensive greenhouse gas emissions. When the plastics are recycled, this process is not repeated. This leaves the environment cleaner and healthier for people.

While recycled plastics have advantages, there are disadvantages that you have to deal with. They include the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere as the plastics are recycled. These gases are harmful to plants and animals in the surrounding environment. There are volatile organic compounds or VOC that are released as the plastics are recycled. These compounds are harmful and are easily released into the foods packed in these containers. The heating process of recycling leads to release of heat and other harmful gases into the atmosphere, causing health and environmental damage. The differences in plastics mean that they cannot be recycled in the same factory. Even the quality of jobs created by the industries that recycle plastics is not enviable. There is no guarantee that the recycled product will be of good quality. These are some of the disadvantages of recycling.

Advantages of Using Paper Bags

Paper bags are advocated in an attempt to save the environment. They came before plastics and their use has been reawakened upon the discovery of the disastrous effects of plastics. While plastics are more convenient for packaging, the problem is that most of the plastics do not get recycled. You can reuse paper bag and is also considered to cause less pollution into the environment.

Here are advantages of choosing paper bags over the other packaging options.

Less harmful to the environment

The damage caused by the process of manufacturing paper bags is less compared to the other packaging options. Trees can be replaced once they are cut from forests. However, the gasses emitted in the process of manufacturing paper bags cannot be removed from the environment. This makes paper bags safer to use.

Convenient for packaging

Technology has allowed paper bags to pack and carry different products. In fact, they can hold an incredible amount of weight. This means that you do not have to worry about the goods packaged and whether your paper will hold them.


Paper bags can withstand different weather conditions and protect the packaged commodities from damage. They are sprayed with special substances on top to make them resistant.


Paper bags decay naturally from the environment. This reduces landfills and damage to the environment. The chemicals resulting from the decay process are not harmful to underground water or air. This provides the most eco-friendly packaging material.

The debate on reusable shopping bags vs plastic bags is not about to die. The challenge is how to balance environmental effects and convenience in shopping and packaging. Since plastic is not about to be banned, the focus should now be on how to recycle the plastics safely.