A lifecycle analysis conducted by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has found that the carbon footprint of carrier bags made from recycled plastic is twice that of a paper bag made by material from BillerudKorsnäs.
European Union (EU) citizens currently use an average of 200 plastic bags annually, with most of the bags being disposed of in landfill.
A new EU directive, announced last year, mandates the reduced use of plastic bags across Europe.
BillerudKorsnäs communication and sustainability SVP Henrik Essén said: “The study clearly shows the advantages of our bio-based material and our energy-efficient production. We now know with certainty that our product has significant climate benefits over other materials.
“The results of this study now offer retail chains the opportunity to review their carrier bag offering and choose low-carbon bags, and we can be part of that solution.”
The company currently produces low-carbon packaging material from managed forests in the Nordic region.
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute project manager Lena Dahlgren said: “The company uses a significant proportion of renewable energy in its production.
“That contributes considerably to paper bags made by their materials having the smallest carbon footprint.
Established in 1966, jointly by Swedish state and national business interests, IVL is currently involved in environmental research.