IN THE SPING OF 2021, COOP (the swedish cooperative food store chain) replaced its disposable plastic bags in the vegetable department with paper bags. Look how good! it says with COOP's green color on the brown bag. It is enough to read it and you will be happy that someone thinks about the environment and sustainability. Now we are moving forward towards a change!

In Contrary to what one is forced to believe, the paper bag has a greater climate impact than the plastic bag. Researchers have, among other things, at Umeå University arrived at. This is not very surprising. The paper bag weighs more and therefore uses more resources than plastic. The good thing about paper is that it is biodegradable, it is not plastic. vBut now paper is not just paper either. In order for the paper to hold and withstand some moisture, glue must be added and it is never particularly environmentally friendly.
However, the most important aspect does not have to do with paper as an alternative to plastic, but it is a question of the disposable packaging itself. Why does COOP have disposable packaging for vegetables? It is so obvious and simple that you bring a bag to the store yourself, fill it with what you want and go to the checkout. If it is a net bag of fabric, jute or similar, the cashier can see the contents and it is easy to set a total price for the item. At home by the refrigerator, you then put the whole bag with contents and the whole thing is ready for use. The food supply has been replenished. The next time you shop, you take the net bags and carrier bags to the store and since they are made of fabric, they last almost as many times as you like.
It would be so easy for COOP and other grocery stores to sell mesh bags made of fabric or jute and carrier bags in different sizes of degradable material such as fabric. Instead, they now sell reusable plastic carrier bags!
The example of the bags in the store is a clear case of human laziness, stupidity and difficulty in changing their habits. They have become accustomed to being able to walk empty-handed without preparation to the grocery store and tear off disposable plastic bags and pick up a plastic carrier bag at the checkout. It is so easy to change, it is so obvious, and the solution means a huge saving for the whole society. Still, neither politicians nor retail chains take any initiative to make the simple transition a matter of course.
It is instead the case that you do as COOP, you cheat and greenwash. You replace the balls in the game about waste of resources and growth, but it makes no difference to sustainability, climate or the environment. Apparently you are terrified that customers will find it difficult, and the important thing is after all to make money, not to sell good food in a sustainable way, or how COOP !!


Single-use plastic bags and their alternatives: Recommendations from life cycle assessments.