Paper carrier bags are generally made from a blend of linen and polyethylene, which makes them both durable and attractive to retailers.
To make good quality bags you would usually take waste paper from a printer, or save bundles of newspapers, to make a bag of about 20cm or 30cm thickness. I have found that all the papers are too thick for this procedure but it does not take long and can be repeated to make several bags. The liners are usually reused to pack goods in retail stores, where they are sold to customers as “bag wraps”. You can buy individual bags and in bulk unites of 50 or 100 bags online from the Paper Bag Co that ships worldwide.
Tips to recycle paper bags
Before removing your paper bags from your retail store or home, you will need to remove a thick layer of glue from the paper bags. Place a wet tissue on the bag and then use a scalpel to remove the glue with soft tissues. Sometimes there is a thin layer of glue that remains behind. This will dissolve in warm water but it will not come off using a soft tissue or even boiling water. I have found that boiling water or a soft plastic scrubber works well for these scraps.
Place the paper bags in a sturdy bin or box and tie up with cotton string or string cut from cotton-lined waste paper bags. Leave to dry out for several days to let the glue dissolve. Then you can put your bags back into your retail store or home. The paper bags are not designed to be used again for packaging paper goods so they will be put away in the waste paper bin with other waste paper. The thickness of the paper will prevent the bags from tearing and they will then be used again to wrap up items and recycled for the next time. Paper bags are also reusable if you remove the small paper labels from the bags and throw the bags in the recycling bin or dustbins for collection by your city council.
How to recycle other plastic packaging
All you have to do is take your packaging waste bags (or reusable bags) and stick the bag labels on the plastic bags. Most packaging is made of tough plastic and will not tear as easily as the paper bags you have just used for the paper carrier bags. Once the bag label has been attached to the bag, you simply take it into the retail store to purchase a single item to fill the bag with. Sometimes the packaging is so strong it will make the bag unusable. But it will still keep your packaging waste bag in use for years to come.
Paper carrier bags are generally made from a blend of linen and polyethylene, which makes them both durable and attractive to retailers. It also makes them cheaper to make. This makes paper bags both a good choice for retailers and consumers to use for packaging. Paper carrier bags are easy to make and reusable. But they also have a potential to be thrown away for the sake of recycling – if retailers cannot recycle the bags themselves, then it will not be a good use of resources.
Buying paper bags to use at retail stores and home deliveries helps to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used.