Last updated: August 17, 2021

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Paper bags are still the environmentally friendly option for transporting all kinds of products and objects in a practical way. But you've probably wondered where to get them and how to make the best purchase. At ReviewBox Mexico we want to help you get all the tools you need to get the best paper bags.

We want to welcome you to our site and invite you to browse through all the buying guides we have for you. Once you get to know us, you will always want to come back for more information before purchasing any product you are interested in.




The most important facts

  • In this guide we will address and answer common questions about paper bags. Some of these questions include the difference between paper and plastic bags, as well as the colours available and ways to customise your bags.
  • There are paper bags with handles and paper bags without handles, and although they serve the same purposes, they have differences that are worth considering. Your choice will depend on the needs you have and the style you are looking for.
  • We have compiled some buying factors that will help you make the best buying decision. Some of these criteria are recycling, available sizes, materials and the type of adhesive used. We will go into more detail later.

The Best Paper Bags: Our Picks

Buying guide: what you need to know about paper bags

Here's the shopping guide we've put together to give you all the information you need to make a good purchase. We'll help you answer some of the most common questions about paper bags.

The classic paper grocery bags are still widely used. (Photo: Siarhei Lenets / 123RF)

What is the difference between paper and plastic bags?

We hear everywhere that paper bags are more environmentally friendly than plastic bags. However, to make a good analysis we have to ask ourselves questions such as how much energy is used in their manufacture. We also need to look at their lifespan, as well as how quickly they degrade and how easy they are to recycle.

Paper bags should be reused at least 3 times

The reality is that it takes four times more energy to manufacture a paper bag than a plastic bag, leaving a larger carbon footprint. To offset the impact of their manufacture, paper bags should be reused at least 3 times, which is unlikely because they are not as durable as plastic bags.

However, paper bags can degrade in as little as one year, unlike plastic bags which take between 400 and 1,000 years. As a result, paper bags are less likely to become a source of litter and a threat to wildlife. Keep this in mind the next time you buy a bag.

Paper bags with or without handles - what to look out for?

Broadly speaking, paper bags come with handles and without handles. Both serve the same purpose, and are generally made from the same material. However, your choice will depend on your personal needs.

With handles. These types of paper bags are designed for convenience when carrying your things. However, most of these handles are cords attached to the paper and are not always able to withstand a lot of weight. Another type of handle is the die-cut handle, which is made from the same reinforced paper, but can tear more easily.

Without a handle. These bags work very well for carrying a heavier weight, and are usually larger. The disadvantage is that you need to carry them on your forearm, reducing mobility and making carrying your stuff more tedious.

Bags with handle Bags without handle
Use Gifts, shopping, take-away orders Supermarkets, bakeries, large items
Mode of transport Carrying as if pulling Carrying like a baby
Precautions Do not wet, do not overload Do not wet, do not top load

How to personalise paper bags?

Many people look for paper bags because they are easier to personalise with a particular logo or design. To do this, you will need to purchase your bags from physical shops or online shops that offer this service. They will ask for your file in a specific format, so if you are not familiar with the subject, you may need to hire a designer.

You can go to independent printers, where if you are lucky, they will have a trained designer to make your design. You can also order them from suppliers such as Mercado Libre, Bolsec, E-Bolsas or Vista Print.

What colours are paper bags made in?

You can practically find paper bags in any colour you can think of. This will make it easier for you to personalize your bag even more to adapt it to your business or event. In addition to the cardboard colour you can find pink, black, white, orange, blue, purple, yellow, green, grey bags..

With this variety of colours you can even combine the designs you want to have more options to offer to your customers or guests. Remember to check the colours available in the product information of the product you are interested in, as well as making sure they are the size you need.

Purchasing criteria

In this section we provide you with a number of factors to consider before making the right purchasing decision. Once you've reviewed them and are clear on them, you'll be ready to get the most out of your plastic bags.

Adhesive

Most plastic bags need some kind of adhesive to hold the weight of the contents in place. Let's mention the two most common types of adhesives you can find on the market.

Hot melt adhesives. This type of adhesive works dry and resists temperature changes very well. We recommend that you make sure your paper bags are glued with this adhesive if you live in very hot areas.

Aqueous adhesives. These adhesives are more expensive than hot melt adhesives, which can increase the cost of your bags. Also, you need to use more of it. However, as it is cold applied, the carbon footprint is lower. We recommend you look for this type of adhesive if you want to make sure you are doing more for the environment.

Size

Paper bag sizes vary greatly to suit all kinds of needs. Only you know what you're going to use them for, so here are some of the most common sizes to make your decision easier.

½ pound. These are the smallest paper bags available today. They are 7.2 cm wide, 4.2 cm gusset and 15 cm high. We recommend this type of paper bag to hold candy, jewellery, biscuits, a piece of bread or any other type of snack.

10 lbs. The measurements of this bag are 16 cm wide, 10 cm gusset and 35.5 cm high. They are designed to withstand the average weight of takeaway food, so we recommend this size if you have a food business or if you want to wrap clothes or a personal accessory you want to give as a gift.

25 lbs. This bag has a width of 21 cm, by 13 cm gusset and 45.7 cm high. These bags are designed to withstand the weight of supermarket merchandise. We recommend their use for this purpose, as well as for bulky merchandise such as coats, quilts, toys or several books.

Materials

There are different materials in which paper bags are made. Again, the choice of material will depend on your needs as well as your budget. Here are the most common ones you will find today.

Kraft. Kraft paper is by far the most commonly used material for paper bags. It is characterised by its high tensile strength even in very thin weights. We recommend you to look for Kraft paper if you are looking for an economical and resistant option.

Illustration. This type of paper is widely used for thermal printing. It perfectly combines brightness, smoothness and whiteness, so images look perfect. We recommend this type of paper bags if you want to print photos for maximum personalisation.

Linier. This paper, also known as brown paper, is very similar to Kraft, but with a softer feel. Also, most bags made of this material are made in two layers, so it is more resistant. We recommend this type of material if you need bags that can withstand as much weight as possible.

Did you know that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the NGO that certifies the use of sustainable and renewable raw materials obtained from wood? This organisation works at an international level to raise awareness of the industry's respect for the environment

Recycling

In addition to reusing bags for gifts or other storage, there are a number of ways to recycle your paper bags. We want you to keep a few ideas in mind before you buy your bags to make them a truly eco-friendly option.

Wrap fragile items. We all keep a fragile item at home that we'd like to protect from breaking. Glassware or crockery are just some of the items you can wrap to protect. We recommend that you save your broken or dirty bags for lining, and not use the ones that are in good condition.

Garden protection. Shredded paper bags can help keep weeds out of your garden - just place the shreds before you apply your compost and you're done! We recommend that you make sure you use colourless bags, as the ink may not be beneficial to the soil, especially if you have a vegetable garden.

Wall brush. You can also use old paper bags to give your walls a unique finish. Simply roll them into little balls and soak them in paint to spread it along the wall. We recommend wearing gloves to avoid getting paint on your hands.

(Featured image photo: Chotiga Pormjak / 123RF)

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