Paper or Plastic? The Great Carry Bag Debate

One of the most challenging decisions when operating a shop is what bags to get. Which is better, plastic or paper bags? Does it matter? Apex Display has done the research for you. As a leading carry bags supplier in Australia, we have the expertise to help you. Now, it’s up to you to make a decision. Some of the facts we’ve compiled may surprise you!


woman carrying tomatoes using plastic bag

Recently, plastic has gotten a bad reputation for its negative impact on the environment. This material is known to be difficult to recycle, often populating landfills and polluting the oceans. But new technologies have developed a new type of plastic that is biodegradable and recyclable. But before deciding on this material, it is still best to weigh its pros and cons.


  • Plastic carry bags are resistant to moisture, giving your purchases better protection in the rain.
  • Plastic’s moisture resisting properties makes sure that it doesn’t break down when it gets wet.
  • Plastic is lightweight and easily foldable, making it easy to store in your stockroom when you’re not using it.
  • Plastic is now available in recyclable variants. These carry bags can be repurposed when they are no longer viable for carrying items.
  • Plastic costs less than other carry bag materials. Reduce backroom expenses when you opt to utilise this material.


  • Non-biodegradable plastic does not deteriorate easily which causes it to take up valuable space in landfills.
  • Non-biodegradable plastic is made of oil and takes large amounts of energy to make.
  • When non-biodegradable plastic is wrongfully discarded, it often ends up in different bodies of water.


women using paper bags

You might ask yourself, “Why should we use paper bags instead of plastic bags?” There are different types of paper bags available to retailers. The simple brown paper bag is a popular design for marketplaces. Alternatively, clothing retailers prefer paper shopping bags because they are customisable and highly durable. Find out why paper is widely used as a carry bag by familiarising yourself with its benefits.


  • Paper is a biodegradable material that is highly recyclable. Unlike other materials, it doesn’t need a complicated process or specialised equipment to be repurposed into other products.
  • Paper carry bags come in different styles and made to be more durable than brown paper bags. Some are designed to carry heavy loads without getting damaged too easily.
  • Some paper carry bags are designed with sturdy handles made of thick fabric or yarn. Although tough for heavier items, these handles are still comfortable for shoppers.
  • Paper carry bags are easy to customise because they come in different sizes and colours. You even have the option to have your brand name and logo printed on either side.


  • Paper still needs oil and other resources to be produced. New paper carry bags are not environmentally friendly, especially when compared with bags made of recycled paper.
  • Low-quality paper carry bags are prone to deteriorating when they get wet. Choosing this will likely result in tricky situations for your customers when they get caught in the rain.
  • Although paper bags decompose faster than plastic bags, how long it takes varies. Depending on how the paper was treated in its initial use, its repurposing can be long or short.

Consider which of the facts we have mentioned are the most applicable to your store and customers. Although more retailers are choosing paper over plastic, the latter might be better suited for your products. Being more discerning with your store item choices improves your brand’s marketing efforts. A distinct carry bag gives your store a unique key visual that enhances recall and strengthens loyalty. Striking a good balance is possible – it just requires some thought. Contact us for more advice, specific to your needs.

Leave a Reply



Request a quote