Almost 500 billion plastic bags are used globally each year. Every minute, almost a million bags are used. The environment suffers severely as a result. Canada is one of the 99 nations that forbade the use of plastic bags as of 2022. Which shopping bag is ideal for use at the grocery store? Find out in the upcoming article.
Why Should Supermarket Choose Sustainable Bags Over Plastic Bags?
The following is a summary of the negative aspects of plastic bags and the ban on single-use plastic to help you better understand why it's so important to switch to sustainable bags for grocery shopping.
Plastic Bags and Their Negative Impacts
Aside from the convenience and low cost of produce, the following are the environmental consequences of plastic bags.
Impact on the environment:
- Pollution: plastic bags take centuries to decompose, overflowing landfills and releasing harmful toxins. In addition, they pollute waterways, entangling and harming marine life. When they are decomposed, they release microplastic. Plastic bags are related to air pollution. Burning plastic bags releases toxic fumes and greenhouse gasses.
- Resource depletion: Plastic bag production consumes vast amounts of fossil fuels leading to resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.
Impact on business:
- Consumers increasingly choose brands committed to environmental responsibility, and using plastic bags can damage your brand image and reputation.
- Consumer awareness decreases plastic bag sales, impacting business that manufactures and distribute them.
Compliance with Regulations
There are now 99 countries that ban plastic. Here are some recent successes:
- EU (2019): Directive requiring member states to ban single-use plastics by 2021.
- Kenya (2019): Comprehensive ban with severe penalties, leading to cleaner streets and beaches.
- China (2020): Gradual ban in major cities, aiming for nationwide elimination by 2025.
In Canada, the ban on single-use plastic bags become effective in 2022. Therefore, switching to sustainable bags now become a must for supermarkets to comply with the regulations.
Alternatives to Plastic Bags for Supermarkets
For supermarkets, it’s important to choose the right sustainable shopping to satisfy both sustainability and convenience. Here are some of the alternatives to plastic bags for supermarkets to consider.
Biodegradable Shopping Bags
When it comes to biodegradable bags, there are 2 common options:
- Biodegradable plastic bags: Made from plant-based materials and decompose quickly in controlled environments.
- Bio bags: Compostable bags made from starch or cellulose, suitable for organic waste.
These bags have pros and cons as below:
- Decompose naturally within months, reducing plastic pollution.
- Renewable resource materials like cornstarch or cellulose.
- Offer a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastic bags.
- Can be more expensive than traditional plastic bags.
- May not be as durable as plastic bags, especially when wet.
- Still contributes to waste generation, even though biodegradable.
- Not all biodegradable bags are compostable in-home bins.
Therefore, biodegradable bags are an eco-friendly choice to replace traditional plastic bags. However, they can be more expensive and may not be as durable as plastic bags.
Here are some common types of reusable bags that supermarkets can consider:
- Tote bags: Durable, versatile, and customizable, but can be bulky when empty.
- Insulated bags: Ideal for frozen and refrigerated items, but heavier and bulkier.
- Mesh bags: Breathable and perfect for produce, but not suitable for heavy items.
- Foldable bags: Compact and portable, but may not be as strong or durable.
Here is the breakdown of pro and cons of reusable bags you should know:
- Reduce reliance on bags altogether.
- Encourage bulk buying and minimizing packaging.
- Can be used for various items, including fruits, vegetables, and bulk goods.
- May require more initial investment than bags.
- Not suitable for all groceries.
- May require additional cleaning and storage space.
Reusable bags offer a high carrying capacity. They are reusable and can be used for a variety of purposes. Although they can be more expensive than single-use plastic bags, they are the ideal choice for environmental reasons.
Are paper grocery bags better than plastic?
Paper bags are commonly used in supermarket. Comparing to plastic, this type of grocery bag has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a table comparing these 2 types of bags:
Paper Grocery Bags
Biodegradable (within weeks or months)
Limited composability in industrial facilities
Weight and size
Lightweight and compact
Heavy and bulky
Susceptible to tearing and damage when wet
Can be reused for non-food items
Limited reuse potential
Recyclable in some areas
Contributes to plastic pollution
Lower environmental impact
Convenient to carry and store
Can be cumbersome and require double-bagging
Can be printed with designs
Plain or limited design options
Generally more expensive
As the table above shows, paper grocery bags are an environmentally friendly choice compared to plastic bags. Due to their features, paper bags can be ideal to use with lightweight items or non-heavy products.
Which Sustainable Bags Should Supermarkets Use?
For supermarkets, the choice of bags depends on several factors including environmental impacts, cost-effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and local regulation.
While each eco-friendly bag has its advantages and disadvantages, a combination of reusable and biodegradable bags seems to be the most sustainable and practical approach for supermarkets.
Here are some strategies to implement for the best result:
- Offer a variety of reusable bags: Provide customers with options like tote bags, mesh bags, and insulated bags to suit their needs and preferences.
- Make reusable bags readily available: Stock bags at checkout counters, near entrances, and in designated areas.
- Implement a reusable bag discount program: Encourage consistent use by offering discounts to customers who bring their bags.
- Partner with local organizations: Collaborate with environmental groups to promote reusable bag use and educate customers about sustainability.
- Provide clear instructions: Offer guidance on properly disposing of biodegradable bags.
- Invest in educational campaigns: Inform customers about the benefits of each bag type and encourage responsible choices.
Reusable Bags Suggestion from Kimecopak
Now at Kimecopak, aside from different eco-packaging for the food business, we provide wholesale reusable bags for distributors. Our bags are made from eco-friendly materials like non-woven and paper. They are available in different sizes, to respond to business needs and requirements.In addition, Kimecopak also provides custom logo service and exclusive offers for long-term partners including a fixed price for 6 months, free storage, and scheduled shipping. For more information, please contact us via email: email@example.com or Facebook Facebook Fanpage