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Sustainable Paper Bag Tips hero image emphasizing environment-friendly packaging solutions.


In our 40+ years of experience, if we’ve learned anything about “going green,” it’s that sustainability is a journey. As we work to build a healthier planet for future generations, this is an action we all know we need to take. And as Gen Z gains more purchasing power, sustainability goals will become more of a demand across all markets. In fact, according to the 2019 Porter Novelli/Cone Gen Z Purpose Study, 90% of Gen Z consumers believe that companies should act on social and environmental issues, and 75% will do research to see if a company is being honest when it takes a stand on issues.  

In response, big brands worldwide are setting lofty sustainability goals in their Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Reports. For example, Walmart has declared “to accelerate a transition to 100% reusable, recyclable or industrially compostable packaging for Walmart private brand packaging by 2025.” McDonald’s made the commitment “to source 100% of our guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources, and to recycle guest packaging in 100% of McDonald’s restaurants, by 2025.”  

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We’re pleased to see that the increasing consumer demand for sustainability has made our clients curious about the alternative bag options available to them. What some aren’t ready for is the cost and time commitment associated with researching and producing a fully sustainable packaging program. 

That’s where we implement our years of knowledge.

Small changes done properly can make a big impact. Choosing the right size, materials, handles, design elements, pack out and order cadence will yield the most results.

While the process may seem daunting, our team looks at every detail – from small to mighty – to find opportunities to make a positive impact. Some steps toward sustainability may even come with budgetary benefits – a win, win situation for all.  

Here are some interesting examples of the impact the correct choices can make for your paper bag program:


  • PAPER SELECTION – Could your bags stand to lose some weight? In a recent program we found that simply changing the thickness of our client’s paper resulted in a savings of 49 trees/shipment and significant cost reductions. 
  • HANDLE STYLE – Paper twist handles are standard on paper bags, but have you ever considered the impact you could make by switching it up? Done right, a new handle style can save up to 35 trees/shipment, depending on order size.
  • OPTIMIZE FREIGHT – If you’re not considering logistics when you order bags, you may be losing opportunities to be more efficient with space, which affects how many truck loads or containers are needed, as well as warehouse space. Work with a supplier who knows how to maximize a container load. This will help offset carbon emissions and your bottom line.

At Creative Retail Packaging, our commitment is to provide a more sustainable option in every paper bag quote we deliver. Throughout the years, we’ve implemented creative ways of doing so, while also finding pennies, nickels and dimes in the process. This is the kind of solutions-based thinking we bring to the table, and we look forward to helping you take the first steps toward crafting a more sustainable and affordable paper bag program.