Making the Switch: Plastic to Paper

When retailers make the switch from plastic to paper, many questions arise. The terminology and sizing can be confusing. Here are answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions in order to make your transition more seamless.

I’m in a city/state that has a plastic bag ban/fee. What do I need? 

Paper lunch (SOS) bagsBag legislation ranges based on your area. But most require paper bags to be 100% recycled content, 40% post-consumer. They also have to be 100% recyclable and printed with specific information including the name and location of the manufacturer, recycled content, etc. Many WCI products are compliant with legislation.

What is Kraft paper?

Kraft paper or kraft is paper or paperboard produced from chemical pulp produced in the kraft process. Sack kraft paper, or just sack paper, is a porous kraft paper with high elasticity and high tear resistance, designed for packaging products with high demands for strength and durability. Kraft does not describe the color of the paper. 

Available types of kraft paper include:
- Recycled
- Bleached
- Beater dyed
- etc.

How do you measure the thickness or strength of the bag?

As opposed to poly, which measures thickness in “mils”, the paper is measured in basis weight. Merriam Webster defines basis weight as, “the weight in pounds of a 500-sheet ream of paper cut to a basic size.” So it’s accurate to say that basis weight refers to the thickness of the paper. The higher the basis weight, the thicker the paper is and, accordingly, the stronger the paper is. WCI manufactures bags of varying basis weights, from 20# to 126# – available basis weights vary based on bag type and size. Learn more about basis weight.

What bag size do I need?

Both paper and plastic bags offer a wide range of sizes suiting retail, pharmacy, grocery, concession, convenience, and e-commerce customers. This chart may help you select a size that works best for your items. Don’t see what you need? Ask our team to help you select the bag that’s right for you!

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