Paper vs plastic packaging which better for eco friendly

eco-friendly for earth

In recent years, more garbage and plastic waste pollute our planet. A lot of our consumers have started to look for more recyclable alternatives. The packaging industry began to shift their attention to paper packaging. Experts believe that paper packaging is more environmentally friendly than plastic packaging because it is made from renewable energy. So how do we know that paper bags are more eco-friendly than plastic?

Let’s find out, did you know that the weight of a paper bag is heavier than a plastic bag? This leads to more resources and energy production. Resulting in more gases and toxic waste for production and transport that damage the environment.

So we cannot actually say that paper is more environmentally friendly than plastic. For example, we cannot only think about how a bag is recycled or how to break it down. But also about the entire life cycle of the bag.

Let’s try to  compare the different aspects of paper and plastic packaging to see which is more sustainable.


·Packaging properties

·Energy consuming

·Transportation and storage cost



The materials of paper products come from natural forests which are renewable resources. As long as we keep it properly maintained, we can continue to use it. Besides, paper products can be recycled and reused, as well as degraded.

The raw materials of plastics are extracted from petroleum then subsequently refined. These are non-renewable resources that will only decrease further in the future. Although most plastics can be recycled and reused. Studies shows that 60% of the plastics end in landfills after consumption. Simply speaking they cannot be degraded naturally so they end up polluting our planet causing more harm than good. Research shows 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the oceans every year. That is the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of coastline around the globe. Imagine that and the effects that it has to the animas living in the oceans.

If we compare the resource of paper and plastic packaging. It shows us that paper packaging is more in line with using sustainable material. Which makes paper packaging not the best alternative but still an alternative to help lessen economic waste.

Packaging properties

The properties of plastic packaging like strength, puncture-resistant, high graphics resolutions, custom appearances, waterproof and barrier properties ensure the shelf life of our products. Plastic packaging outperforms paper packaging any time of the day if we take this into consideration. 

Another factor is that plastic packaging is much better at reducing food waste. According to the Flexible Packaging Association 30% of food waste worldwide is caused by unprotected  food packaging. For instance, if you buy grapes with paper packaging it can last for 3 days max. But if you buy grapes with a vacuum processed through flexible packaging. The storage time can reach up to 7 to 12 days. Giving us plenty of time to consume products thus reducing food waste pollution in the environment.

In terms of packaging performance, plastic packaging proves to be more sustainable than paper packaging.

Energy consuming

Paper production uses more energy and water resources than plastic packaging. According to the Scotland Report 2005. Paper bags have a greater negative impact than plastic bags when it comes to environmental issues. The chemicals and fertilizers used in the production of paper bags cause additional environmental damage. These are factors that influence human health, ecosystems, forest decline and acidification of lakes.

The differences between the two can also be compared in the following dimensions:

1) Plastic bags produce 39% fewer greenhouse gases than uncompressed paper bags and 68% less than composted paper bags.

2) Plastic bags consume less than 60% of water than paper bags. In other words, to make 1,000 paper bags it would need 1,004 gallons of water. To make 1,000 plastic bags, only 60 gallons of water are needed.

3) The wastewater produced in the production of 1000 paper bags is about 900 gallons. Only 50 gallons of wastewater are needed to make 1000 plastic bags.

4) Although paper bags originate from nature. The energy consumption in the production of paper bags is 3.4 times that of plastics.

In this comparison, plastic packaging is more in line with our goal towards sustainable development. 

Transportation and storage cost

Using traditional plastic for transportation and storage is more efficient than paper bags. The weight of paper bags is 6 to 10 times higher than flexible pack packaging the same amount of goods. Also, paper packaging takes up more transportation space.

If we use a truck to transport the same amount of plastic packaging it would require 15 trucks. Transporting paper packaging would need more petroleum energy. That will emit more greenhouse gases resulting in more carbon footprint. This is contrary to the idea of reducing the carbon footprint that we advocate.

 From a company’s perspective on operating cost. Paper packaging requires a large volume of product. It needs 5 to 200 times the storage space that plastic packaging occupies. Resulting in a substantial amount of storage cost and transportation cost increasing the risk of business operations.

 Besides, if not recycled, paper packaging takes up more landfill space than plastic packaging. Plastic packaging has more advantages compared to paper packaging.


 However, paper can only be recycled up to 6 times. Because the fiber in the material will be less during each processing. We will be needing more original fibers to strengthen the firmness of the product to be able to use it 6 times.

Paper is easier to recycle because of its non-synthetic materials. Which does not rely on chemical reactions during the manufacturing process. That’s why it can be quickly recycled directly to the paper mill then remade into new materials.

Recycling plastic packaging has its limitations. The innovation of recyclable technologies is making plastic recycling more common. The original form of the plastic will melt into pellets and then be remade into raw materials. Like film for packaging or other plastic products through thermoforming or blow molding.

However, recycled plastic is contaminated with content and ink. So the quality and stability of recycled raw materials are not as good as virgin plastic particles.

Recycling plastic products to their original form is a relatively new process. This is a large amount of capital investment and innovative project. That requires the composition of the recycled plastic products, like our flexible plastic. It is a complex innovative project that needs a large amount of capital investment. For the requirements and composition of recycled plastic products like our flexible plastic. 

The continuous innovation of the recycling technology combined with the right materials provides new opportunities in the packaging industry. We at Xiaoyu can provide a mono-material structure. That meets the demands of recycling plastic projects. Such as PE + PE, BOPP / CPP bags, and PP laminated woven bags, all of which are fully in line with current recycling technology.

After comparing paper and plastic packaging it shows that paper packaging is much more suitable. It also shows that plastic packaging is eligible for our sustainable goals. Since our commitment is aimed to having sustainable development. In the packaging industry whether it be paper or plastic.


In order to have sustainable development. We must strive to establish better packaging solutions. Sustainability for packaging products also depends on our customer’s products and brand requirements. Since we are experts in this area we would be happy to provide you with professional advice that can help you with your problems. If you still have questions feel free to message us anytime via email or inquiry and we will be happy to get back to you.


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