According to the global environmental performance index of 2020, the U.S. ranks 24th which is far behind other 1st world countries. It is undoubtedly a concern for American pollution, especially with the alarming global warming we face.
The world is in severe crisis, and recently the white house has started a campaign to ban single-use plastic-made items such as carry bags, cups, plates, straws, etc. The American government has taken an initiative to promote pollution-free and recyclable items to lessen the damage to nature as much as possible, glassine bags being one such item.
Glassine bags are widely used in many countries instead of plastics to stop plastic pollution. You can also find glassine bags anywhere, from your local supermarket and online stores to specialists like xoandquin.co.uk. Let us rate and evaluate the environment-friendliness of glassine bags as an alternative to plastics.
What Are Glassine Bags?
Before proceeding further into the article, let us revise what glassine bags are and their components to understand their usage better. Glassine bags are primarily made out of one type of sturdy, durable, and biodegradable translucent paper. It is used for packaging and boxing in several industries for its beautiful, glossy exterior and organic components.
Due to its sterilizing, pH-neutral, and acid-free properties, it is certified to be used for medicinal purposes and in primary food packaging. It is also very readily available and cost-effective.
So, from a commoner perspective, it is a safer and cheaper alternative to regular plastics. Moving further into the article, let us discuss its pros and cons.
How Glassine Bags Are More Sustainable
One of the primary reasons glassine bags are used in several countries is their ecological qualities.
1. Biodegradable By Nature
Since glassine bags are made of biodegradable paper, discarding them in nature does not cause them any harm. It may take months, however, over time, they do get decomposed. But that does not mean one should throw it away whenever they want to, especially if it still can be used. Doing so may slow down the decomposition rate, resulting in a similar situation to plastic landfilling.
2. Reusable And Recyclable
One of the best things about glassine bags is their long durability. You can use it repeatedly without damaging the bags, which is very economical and ecological.
These bags are also recyclable, unlike one-time usable plastic carry packets. They can be recycled alongside other paper-made products, but one should check first if the recycling company accepts these bags. Since the bags are made of glossy and thick paper, their recycling process is different from other papers, and not every company provides recycling services for glassine bags.
3. 100% Biocompatible
Even though the process of making papers is not precisely eco-friendly as it involves the use of chemicals, glassine bags are a whole different story. Glassine bags are made directly from tree bark without any harmful chemicals, using a purely organic process.
One might argue that how glassine bags are any different as they possess the same air, grease, and water resistant qualities as plastics. The difference lies in the use of crude oil as a manufacturing component. Unlike plastics, these bags are organic and safe in nature.
4. Possess Compostable Properties
Composting is one type of human-induced biodegradation. Glassine bags are proven to be 100% compostable with little-to-no pollution and can be easily stored after composting. They can also be composted within a minimum of a few weeks to a maximum of two months, making them environmentally safe without any question.
5. Food-safe And Organic
Glassine bags are one of those very few packagings that hold a certificate to use for medical and food purposes. And it is solely due to its toxin-free nature. These bags were made while considering food safety as a top priority. As a result, they can be in direct contact with any food or medicines or cosmetics, or any such things that have a chance of being contaminated, without any worries.
These bags are made out of entirely plant-based materials. They have zero connection with any animal products, making them absolutely perfect for vegans to use as their go-to carriers.
If you are still not convinced about shifting to glassine bags, here are some more facts about these:
Glassine Bags Are Safer than Wax Bags
A frequently asked question about glassine bags is whether they are the same as wax paper bags or not. To answer it directly, no, they are not the same. Although both bags are made out of paper and possess almost the same qualities of water and grease resistance, the process in which these bags are made, makes the main difference.
Wax paper bags are made out of paraffin wax which is again a byproduct of crude oil, whereas glassine bags are made from organically produced paper. Glassine bags are more toxicant-free, making them preferable as an environmentally-safe alternative to plastics. Wax bags also take more time to get decomposed than glassine ones.
Is There Any Better Alternative Than Glassine Bags?
Though widely used, glassine bags are by no means the safest out there. According to scientists, glassine is made out of PLAs i.e., Polylactic Acids. PLAs are biodegradable and better PEs but they still take around 3months to decompose by themselves. Once piled up in tons, they might not take 100 to 1000 years to fully decompose which is only slightly better than PEs.
But something is still better than nothing, right? So, until we have something more sustainable, PLAs are the best alternatives we have for now. And if we use it carefully, we might be able to save our earth and make it go back to its natural state some more.