paper-bag-viet-nam

I. Paper bags are a vital part of a sustainable paper circle

After seeing this headline many readers will wonder what’s behind a simple paper bags? Paper bags work to create a more sustainable world, naturally contributing to slowing climate change.

The raw material, wood, is a renewable and ever-growing resource. Due to their natural compostable characteristics, paper bags do not harm any sea life. They are a key factor in developing the brand image of shops.

They are appreciated by consumers who now have a better understanding of the benefits of using paper. They comply with all laws by respecting all the requirements proposed in new EU legislation on the use of shopping bags.

1. Paper bags are natural

Wood is the raw material used in paper making and the major source for paper bags. This natural source is renewable and ever-growing. More than a third of Europe is covered by forests. Forest areas amount to 215 million hectares in Europe.

paper bag

This provides a wealth of natural resources and an enormous potential to mitigate climate change. Forest cover in Europe is growing by 1.4 % per year. This is thanks to the continuous replantation of trees during harvesting.

For each tree harvested, two more are planted. Sustainable forest management protects water courses, increases research in new species, protects biodiversity and looks after the welfare of forest industry workers. All constituents from a tree are fully utilised when a tree is harvested – there is no waste.

The trunk is typically used for sawn timber and pulpwood. The stump, branches and tops of the tree are used for bioenergy.

The fibres for pulp production are withdrawn from tree thinnings and from process waste from the sawn timber industry. They are 100 % natural, renewable and biodegradable.

2. Paper bags store CO2

Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable material. As young trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Furthermore, as a wood product, paper also continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime.

1m3 of wood captures 1 tonne of CO2 while emitting 0.7 tonnes of oxygen.

The average annual sequestration of carbon in european forest biomass reaches 719 million tonnes of CO2.

This offsets the fossil CO2 emissions generated annually by germany (including by the energy industries, manufacturing industries and construction, transport, households, agriculture and waste) or by 209 coal-fired power plants.

The carbon stored is not released when the tree is cut, but rather remains in the forest’s products, such as wooden products and paper bags. One kilo of paper stores 1.3 kilos of CO2 equivalents and this carbon sequestration time is extended when we recycle the paper.

Read more: Paper Packaging Industry In Vietnam: Potentials For Development

paper bag in vietnam

3. Paper bags have a low climate impact

All industrial activity impacts the environment. A life cycle assessment (lCA) can work as a tool for measuring the environmental performance of different products and processes. One of the environmental impact categories is global warming potential (GWP).

It describes how much global warming a given type and amount of greenhouse gas may cause, using the functionally equivalent amount or concentration of CO2 as a benchmark.

IVL Swedish Environmental research institute has conducted a study on the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production of different paper and plastic bags.

The conclusion was that paper bags (produced with virgin fibres or recycled fibres) have a remarkably low impact on gwp compared to low density polyethylene (lDPE) bags (produced with renewable or recycled lDPE).

Read more: ​Paper Bags: Mordern Trend Of Custormer

4. Paper bags are recyclable and biodegradable

Europe is the world leader in recycling paper. The paper recycling rate in europe is 71.5 %, which means that 59 million tonnes of paper are recycled each year – that’s 2 tonnes of paper every second.

Paper bags are part of this loop, as the fibres within a paper bag are reused on average 3.5 times in europe. The major paper recycling mills operate certified environmental management systems (ems) to high environmental standards.

On occasions where strength is required, a paper bag made of natural kraft paper has major benefits: Due to the natural kraft paper’s long and strong virgin fibres, it has a high level of mechanical strength.

Lower weights of paper can be used while maintaining the same strength. It can be reused several times thanks to its good quality and design.

paper bag in vietnam

5. Paper bags are reusable

Europe is the world leader in recycling paper. The paper recycling rate in europe is 71.5 %, which means that 59 million tonnes of paper are recycled each year1 – that’s 2 tonnes of paper every second. Paper bags are part of this loop, as the fibres within a paper bag are reused on average 3.5 times in europe.

The major paper recycling mills operate certified environmental management systems to high environmental standards.

On occasions where strength is required, a paper bag made of natural kraft paper has major benefits: Due to the natural kraft paper’s long and strong virgin fibres, it has a high level of mechanical strength.

Lower weights of paper can be used while maintaining the same strength. It can be reused several times thanks to its good quality and design.

However, a cellulose fibre from a paper product can be recycled up to six times before it is turned into bioenergy or being composted at the end of its life cycle.

Recycling paper means reducing polluting emissions produced by landfills.

Recovered paper cannot be efficiently used in all paper grades, nor can it be used indefinitely. Paper recycling needs to continuously incorporate a certain amount of fresh fibres for three main reasons:

  • Strength – cellulose fibre deteriorates each time it is recycled.
  • Quality – certain properties (as high-grade artwork or technical characteristics) for the paper product can only be achieved with fresh cellulose fibres.
  • Availability – some paper products are not sent for recycling, such as books, photographs, or paper products that are destroyed when used (sanitary paper or cigarette paper).
paper bag in vietnam

And if a paper bag were to mistakenly end up in nature, it would not harm the land or the oceans. As a natural product, it is biodegradable within two to five months without harming the environment, unlike other shopping bags that can take more than 400 years to decompose.

Eight million tonnes of plastic waste are deposited into the sea each year.

This corresponds to 16 plastic bags per metre of the world’s total coastline. Littering of plastic bags leads to a widespread problem of rubbish in water bodies, threatening aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

Plastic litter does not degrade, but instead breaks down into smaller pieces, microplastics, and is eaten by marine animals by mistake.

6. Paper bags are reusable

Experience shows that consumers reuse paper bags for different purposes or use them for their next shopping trips.

The concept of reuse is defined in directive 94/62/ec of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste: The itene packaging, transport & logistics research center developed a method to assess the reusability of paper bags.

The results of the validation show that, regardless of the type of handle, paper bags are reusable, both for textile and for other uses.

They withstood several endurance tests which, depending on the paper bag reuse being validated, changed in terms of times and weight per bag.

“Any operation by which packaging, which has been conceived and designed to accomplish within its life cycle a minimum number of trips or rotations, is refilled or used for the same purpose for which it was conceived, with or without the support of auxiliary products present on the market enabling the packaging to be refilled; such reused packaging will become packaging waste when no longer subject to reuse.”

paper bag in vietnam

The eco-labelling of paper bags It is increasingly common for paper products to be labelled with information on the environmental aspects that have been considered in certain stages of their life cycle.

With these labels, paper manufacturers and distributors communicate the environmental and sustainability aspects both of their products and the raw materials used, as well as their environmental performance.

This provides useful information to help us express to the market our decision to use certain materials rather than others.

In general, the multitude of environmental labels may createconfusion among consumers, and even among the retailers themselves. It is therefore desirable that you fully understand what these eco-labels represent, to make it clear to consumers what the message is and what the eco-labels certify.

In this respect, the platform The Paper Bag, comprised of leading European paper manufacturers and producers of paper bags, has created environmental symbols to help companies promote the sustainability credentials of their bags and to share the values of paper bags with consumers, demonstrating their environmental responsibility.

II. The symbols represent the paper bag’s attributes

  • Renewable, given that its raw material, cellulose fibre, is ever-growing, being specifically grown in forests that are managed responsibly.
  • Biodegradable, since paper bags are made from natural fibres, are printed with water-based inks and ecological glues and degradein a short period of time without damaging the natural environment.
  • Recyclable, since the cellulose fibres from a paper bag can be recycled up to six times before it is turned into bioenergy or being composted at the end of its life cycle.
  • Reusable, as it has been shown that paper bags can be reused at least five times for the transportation of the same type of product for which it was originally acquired.
paper bag in vietnam

It is also common for paper bags to have forest certification. Forest certification is a programme through which an independent entity guarantees that a forest product originates from wood from a sustainably managed forest.

Read more: Environmental protection FSC standard packaging

First, it certifies that the management of the forest area meets sustainability criteria, including the forest inventory, management planning, forestry, harvesting, as well as ecological, economic and social forest activity repercussions.
Then, when the certified timber enters the industrial process, the chain of custody is controlled and certified (it is tracked from the forest to the final consumer).

paper packaging

Finally, consumers receive the product with a label that guarantees that it came from a sustainably managed forest such as FSC paper bags.

The main programmes for forest certification and chain of custody are: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). In short, environmental labels help certify the commitment of businesses to a sustainable economy that is environmentally friendly.

FSC packaging
Source: Thepaperbag.org
Image: Freepik.com


Khang Thanh – The packaging manufacturer in Vietnam specializes in producing paper bags, carton box, carton offset, labels, hangtag, books, calendar, POSM and so on. Contact us to support your brand with the right packaging: info@khangthanh.com

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