Quite often I am asked the question why such a big percentage of packaging is made out of plastic packaging when paper packaging surely must be better for the environment.
For the same type of packaging the study in the study that I read, paper production emits air pollution, specifically 70 percent more pollution than the same plastic packaging source: Thompson.
In another study, manufacturing paper emits 80 percent more greenhouse gases source: Lilienfield.
We also need to consider that making paper uses trees and of course, if we did not use them for the packaging they could be absorbing carbon dioxide. The paper making process also results in 50 times more water pollutants than making plastic source:Thompson.
As we all know, petroleum goes into making plastic, but it turns out that making a paper consumes four times as much energy as making a plastic, meaning making paper consumes a good deal of fuel source: reusablebags.com.
Of course there are some drawbacks to using plastic packaging (litter, long-term degrading etc), but all in all, from what I have read, plastic packaging has not necessarily a worse impact on the environment than paper.
Also what consumers often don’t realise is that paper often used in packaging (sausage wrap, portion packs, a certain type of bags with windows etc) often have got a “spray” Polyethene coating or another type of plastic laminated to it as the paper itself does not seal.
Take into consideration the enhanced shelf life of food products and thereby reducing the food waste and it suddenly does not seem like such a bad choice.