Reliable packaging is the key to a complete product protection. High-quality paper bags are a great option: they carry and secure a wide range of products, withstand the rigours of transportation, and can even be reused several times. “The Paper Bag” initiative explains why you can rely on paper bags. “Trust your paper bag” is also the general theme of the 6th European Paper Bag Day which was celebrated with different activities all over Europe around 18 October 2023.
“The durability of a paper bag is of great importance when it comes to customer satisfaction,” explains Elin Gordon, Secretary General of CEPI Eurokraft. “But a high-quality paper bag offers so many more benefits: it is produced from a renewable raw material, it is biodegradable (with no microplastic release), and it can be reused and therefore also minimises the environmental impact. Adding to that, it is a good medium to print information for consumers and convey a sustainable brand image.” Paper bags are made from kraft paper which is especially developed for demanding fibre-based packaging. The raw material used in kraft paper production is long cellulose fibres, which are extracted from tree thinnings and from process waste from the sawn timber industry. They are sourced from sustainably managed European forests. The fibres are processed in a way that allows them to bond well during paper production. That gives the paper a high level of mechanical strength and tear resistance. This allows for material reductions and minimises the use of resources. The choice of glue and the proficient construction of the handles add even more to a paper bag’s strength and durability.
Guidance on high-quality paper bags
The European kraft paper and paper bag industry produces high-quality paper carrier bags that can carry at least six kilograms and be reused five times. Recently, “The Paper Bag” issued industry guidelines for high-quality paper carrier bags. The document provides orientation to paper carrier bag converters and their customers on the parameters that influence the durability of a paper carrier bag. Together, they can work on the necessary requirements to ensure optimal bag quality.
Playing it safe with quality certification
Paper bag durability can be tested in accordance with the European test standard EN 13590. The standard is the basis for the quality certification system for paper carrier bags. It relies on approved standardisation bodies and is designed to help retailers avoid poor-quality carrier bags. As a result, the paper bag can be marked with the weight and volume it may carry. “It is always wise to choose a tested and certified paper bag,” states Gordon. “It offers optimal product protection for a safe shopping and brand experience. And it can be reused several times which benefits climate mitigation, natural resources and brand awareness at the same time.”
Reusability reduces environmental impact
Reusing a paper bag several times rather than purchasing a new one conserves natural resources that would otherwise be utilised in the production of a new paper bag. “Our industry takes serious efforts in ensuring a sustainable forest management and preserving natural resources,” explains Gordon. “We highly encourage retailers and brand owners to engage their customers to reuse their paper bags as long as possible before they recycle them.” Furthermore, the CO2 stored in paper due to carbon sequestration remains trapped during the many reuses of the paper bag, even when turned into a new product after recycling.
European Paper Bag Day
“Trust your paper bag!” – in accordance with this slogan, the 6th European Paper Bag Day aims to raise awareness on how reliable paper bags are. The annual action day on 18 October focuses on the unique strength of paper bags which allows them to carry a wide range of items and to be reused several times. With celebrations all around Europe, the network aims to encourage more people to act responsibly and use, reuse and recycle paper bags. Everyone is invited to join the celebrations and share their activities on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn using the hashtag #EuropeanPaperBagDay.