Why do UK supermarkets use paper bags instead of plastic?

Are paper bags better than plastic bags?

In this weeks blog, we take a look into the reasons why supermarkets are favouring plastic over paper.

Here are some of the reasons we believe that are factored into the decision:


Paper bags don’t last as long as the 5p plastic bags, making them less reusable.


Bags made of paper are often weaker than plastic bags unless they are made of thick, high – strength paper.


Good quality paper bags are more expensive than the standard plastic supermarket bag.

Weather Durability.

Bags made of paper get soggy and are prone to tearing if they get wet and let’s face it, it rains a lot in the UK! Also carrying frozen goods in a paper bag would also create the bag to go soggy as the food starts defrosting on the way home.


Paper production is a lengthy process and is thought to take almost four times as much energy to manufacture compared to plastic. Paper bag manufacturing also uses more water compared to plastic and releases more than three times as many greenhouse gas emissions.

Also, it takes 7 trucks to transport 2 million paper bags, versus one truck to carry two million plastic bags!

Hope that’s helped to shed some light.