Bags made of Xpression E-com paper reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere over a life cycle, while plastic bags add CO2, according to the Swedish research institute RISE. Get all the facts in this life cycle assessment study
Fight climate change with paper mailing bags
GET YOUR COPY OF THE LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT STUDY
Climate impact of mailer bags and boxes
Switch from plastic to paper to help the climate
The study shows that both the brown and white Xpression E-com mailing bags remove more CO2 emissions from the atmosphere than they release. The results are based on a life cycle assessment of fossil and biogenic emissions, from paper production to disposal by the final consumer.
In summary, switching your mailing bag from plastic to paper could help fight climate change!
How is this possible?
Trees capture carbon dioxide when they grow. When wood and paper products are made, the captured carbon stays in the fibre. Thanks to paper recycling, the fibres can be used throughout multiple product life cycles. When they cannot be processed anymore, they are used as biofuel and the carbon is released again to the atmosphere.
When you recycle Xpression E-com, you help us remove fossil emissions from the air. You also contribute to a circular economy based on renewable materials.
Carbon dioxide absorption
In Sweden, forests absorb more than Sweden’s total reported emissions, over 55 million tons of CO2 annually, thanks to growing trees – according to a report from Swedish Forest Industries.
Young growing forests absorb more CO2 from the air than older trees, so active and sustainable forestry keeps CO2 absorption high. This is of course only true as long as forests are replanted after harvesting. That is why we plant three new trees for every tree harvested, helping the forests to constantly grow. Over the last 90 years forests in Sweden have doubled.
Biogenic and fossil carbon
– what’s the difference?
It is important to remember that all biogenic carbon comes from carbon dioxide in the air captured when trees or other plants grow. When they biodegrade or are incinerated, the carbon returns to carbon dioxide, in a natural cycle. Fossil carbon, which you find in most plastics, hasn’t been a part of the cycle for millions of years and therefore adds CO2 to the circulation, causing global warming.
Today we at Billerud use 97% biofuels in our production. Our goal is to be 100% fossil free.
The world needs to move from a linear economy of take-make-use-lose, where harmful or toxic waste ends up in landfills and raw materials are depleted, to a circular economy where we reuse or regenerate resources.
On the left in the illustration, we find renewable materials, such as trees and plants. On the right we find non-renewable materials with the risk of being depleted like sand used in concrete. We also find material that can be harmful to our climate and environment, like fossil plastic and electronic waste with heavy metals. Too often, plastic packaging is not recycled but ends up in landfills or is incinerated, causing fossil CO2 emissions.
If we can move as much as we can to the left circle and close the right circle completely, we will achieve a circular economy.
How do I get started producing Xpression E-com bags?
We can support you all the way. Our Packaging Development Centre in Sweden has expertise in packaging engineering, combining solid science and insights in trends and challenges. We can help you with new or improved bag designs tailored to the needs of you and your customers.
Which trees absorb the most carbon dioxide? Young or old?
Just like young humans have healthy appetites because they are growing, so do young trees. They use carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air to increase their biomass, or to put it simply, to build wood.
How many trees are replanted for every tree we harvest?
On average, we replant three trees for every tree harvested. According to the Swedish Forestry Act from 1903, forests must be replanted after harvest. That’s why Swedish forests have doubled over the last 90 years and are still expanding.
Doesn’t paper production lead to high emissions?
Paper production is energy-intensive but 97% of the energy we consume at Billerud is fossil free and mostly based on residues from the trees, such as leaves and branches. 100% of the electricity we purchase is fossil free.
Why don’t you make Xpression E-com from recycled paper?
Recycled fibres are not as strong and durable as primary fibres that come directly from the forest. But when you recycle your Xpression E-com paper bag, the fibres can be reused up to seven times as wrapping paper, newspaper, tissue paper and other less demanding areas of use.
Aren’t all forests shrinking?
No, Swedish forests are increasing, and have doubled over the last 90 years.
Should we stop using wood as a raw material?
No. Wood is probably the most important raw material in a circular economy. What we must stop is exploitation, deforestation, burn-beating and all other non-sustainable activities connected to forests. Responsibly managed forests let us challenge the conventional for a sustainable future.