There are plenty of materials available for shopping bags, but businesses and consumers alike continue valuing paper bags for their eco-friendly credentials. Paper bags are made from 100% natural products and can biodegrade and be recycled, so they’re a natural choice when you want to be good to the planet.

However, you should also look into the type of ink your paper bags are branded with. If you want to stay eco-friendly, it’s best to go for water-based inks. Here are just a few reasons why.

Water-Based Inks Are Made from Natural Substances

Most inks used to brand paper bags aren’t 100% natural. Plastisol inks, for example, are made by mixing PVC resin and plasticizer together, and anything plastic-based isn’t great for the planet. In contrast, water-based inks are PVC free. As the name suggests, they have a solvent base consisting of water. This makes them better for the printers and wearers, not just the environment. Because they are not made using plastic, they don’t require petroleum or fossil fuels during the manufacturing process.

Water-Based Inks Last for Years

Even the eco-friendliest materials aren’t so great for the environment if they don’t last very long – that just means more of those products will need to be made. Paper bags last surprisingly long, and using water-based inks will mean your branding lasts just as long. Water-based inks dye the fabric instead of sitting on top of it, so nobody is going to be throwing away your bags thanks to peeling logos.

Water-Based Inks Don’t Release Harmful Chemicals

Because water-based inks are water soluble, no chemicals need to be used for their clean up. As such, potentially harmful substances are prevented from entering water supplies. Compare that to solvent-based inks – they contain hazardous Volatile Organic Compounds and endocrine disruptors that can be harmful when released into the environment.

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