Is Paper Packaging Really Better Than Plastic?

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I would argue that replacing all plastic packaging with paper packaging is not a sustainable solution. 

It’s no secret that plastic is wreaking havoc on our environment.  It’s floating in the ocean, littering our beaches, and harming our wildlife.  There has been a huge increase in awareness of the plastic problem in the last few years, which is undoubtedly a good thing.  

In an effort to help the environment, mainstream brands like Morrisons are replacing some of their plastic packaging with paper.  At first glance, this seems like a good thing, since paper is biodegradable, and in most places in the UK, it’s recyclable.  

However, I would argue that replacing all plastic packaging with paper packaging is not a sustainable solution.  Here’s why:

  • While it’s true that paper is recyclable, recycling requires a tremendous amount of energy.

  • Sure paper packaging is biodegradable, but its production requires the use of trees, which can lead to deforestation.  Trees are also valuable because they capture and absorb CO2, helping to keep our air clean. 

  • The production of paper requires huge amounts of water and energy.  It also releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

I’m not advocating that we throw in the towel on our efforts to reduce plastic.  I’m suggesting, rather, that the answer is LESS PACKAGING ALTOGETHER.  

Buy food in bulk, using reusable containers.  Bring your own water bottle, coffee cup, tote bag, lunch box, and cutlery with you when you leave the house. Whenever you can, OPT FOR REUSABLES.  

We won’t save the planet just by switching to a different kind of disposable.  There are simply too many of us, and too few resources.  Reusing what we have is the most earth-friendly option.  

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Is paper packaging really better than plastic?
 

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