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Should I Use Paper or Plastic for My Business?

NOV 03, 2022 • BY JEREMY •

Paper or Plastic Bags Business Pros and Cons

One of the many decisions you have to make as a business owner is how to present yourself to your customers. The small details of how you run your business could be the difference between whether a person comes back or not, so no detail is too frivolous. When deciding what kind of bags to offer your clients, investigate the pros and cons of each type of bag.


Below are some advantages and disadvantages to weigh when deciding which product is best for your particular customer.

Grocery Store Thank You Bags

Plastic Shopping Bags


  • Sanitary – Due to the non-porous nature of plastic, bacteria and viruses do not survive well on their surface. Many cities around the world are encouraging the use of plastic bags over paper bags due to COVID-19. They are even preferred to reusable cloth bags.
  • Stops Leaks – Also due to their non-porous nature, plastic bags can stop leaks from escaping. This is particularly helpful in the food industry or any business that deals with liquids, where damaged or improperly sealed products can leak and make a mess in a customer’s car or home.
  • Flexible – Plastic bags are also flexible so they can adjust to different-sized and odd-shaped products. It also makes them easier to pack, which can save time at the register.


  • Costly for customers – Some states are charging customers to purchase plastic bags in order to deter people from using them. Customers may be unhappy about having to pay anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar a bag, just to bring their items home. As this movement gains popularity, you may want to consider whether your customer base will be upset about this additional charge.
White and Brown Paper Bags

Paper Shopping Bags 


  • Sturdy – Paper bags can typically hold more bulk and weight than plastic bags. Because of this, customers tend to use fewer paper bags than they would plastic, saving you cost and supporting the reduction of waste.
  • Displays Brand Well – Since paper bags are more rigid, they display your logo better when being carried. This is particularly helpful in the retail industry where customers may walk around a mall or shopping center with a virtual hand-held billboard for your brand.
  • Environmentally-friendly Image – There is much debate about whether plastic or paper is better for the environment, with pros and cons for each option. However, the general public is still mostly under the impression that paper is more environmentally friendly. If you’re building a green brand, your customers may prefer paper bags.


  • Not waterproof – Consider what climate your business is located in. Are you in a city where you experience heavy rain? If so, you may not want to offer paper bags to your customers. Since paper bags are not water-resistant, like plastic, they will dampen and tear easily, possibly aggravating your customers who are just trying to make it inside their houses with their items.

Custom Printed Bags

One final aspect to consider is the option to customize your bags, whether you choose plastic bags or paper bags. While there is a slight additional cost to customizing your paper or plastic, grocery brands have been doing this for years to increase name recognition. Whether you put your business’s name or logo on the front, your brand will stay with your customers for many uses! 

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