There was once a time when paper shipping bags were the go-to, and then came plastic. Now, the two are in competition. It appears to be a consensus that mailing bags that are not plastic are preferable. The ever-increasing focus on environmental sustainability has occasioned this paradigm. Like many other widely discussed topics, a lot of the information used in these discussions is not well understood.

We shall discuss the difference between these two mailing bags under various topics.

       i.          Circularity

Circularity refers to the recyclability of the mailing bag. A mailing bag with good circularity should be used and then recycled. A mailing bag with high circularity is better than one with lower circularity. Paper mailing bags are made from entirely biodegradable material. On the other hand, Plastic scores low on recyclability and in this regard, therefore, paper mailing bags are better for sustainability.

Part of circularity is the ability of the mailing bag to be reused. Paper mailing bags usually face a problem in this area because they are likely to lose some of their structural integrity. The other reason they aren’t easy to reuse is the difficulties they present with sealing. Plastic mailing bags usually have more than one tear and seal strip. You can use the tear and seal strip to reuse the bag; it will be as good as new.

     ii.          Biodegradability

There is always the possibility mailing bags will end up in the environment despite our best efforts. Paper mailing bags are however entirely biodegradable, and they will have been reintegrated into the soil after about two months. Plastic, on the other hand, takes hundreds of years to decompose. Plastic mailing bags end up choking oceans and other water bodies; they generally become an eyesore in the environment. In light of the challenges we are experiencing in the environment globally, paper mailing bags are better than their plastic counterparts.

   iii.          Carbon Footprint

If your plastic mailing bag is recycled, it has a much lower carbon footprint than paper mailing bags. The mailing bag needs to be 100% recycled to achieve this feat. On the other hand, one can’t reuse paper mailing bags as many times as their plastic counterparts. As a result, they require energy and produce fumes from the running of machines, etc., as these paper bags keep getting recycled.

   iv.          Price

The overall cost you incur from these mailing bags differs. Paper mailers are generally more expensive than their plastic counterparts. They are usually two to four times more costly than plastic mailing bags. Paper mailers also take up more spaces in the warehouse, and they are more expensive to store. Also, it is more costly to ship the bags from the manufacturers.

     v.          Functionality

Plastic mailing bags are resistant to water, and they don’t puncture easily compared to paper bags. They are also quite flexible, and many of the goods you ship will be safer in a plastic bag than in a paper mailing bag. It is, however, noteworthy that paper performs better as the mailing bag for some goods such as books, health supplements, cosmetics, clothes, etc.

Zoe Kickhefer