Paper Bag Day Date in the current year: July 12, 2023

Paper Bag Day There are many ways to reduce your environmental footprint without significantly changing your way of life. Have you thought, for example, about using paper bags instead of plastic ones? Paper Bag Day, observed annually on July 12, was created to encourage you to do just that.

A paper bag is just what its name suggests — a shopping or packing bag made of paper. Paper bags can be used for a wide range of consumer products, including groceries, clothes and shoes, toiletries, books, electronics, and more.

The first paper bag making machine was invented in 1851 by Francis Wolle, an American priest and psychologist. He patented his invention in 1852 and co-founded the Union Paper Bag Company with his brother.

The first square-bottomed paper bag was produced by English papermaker James Baldwin in 1852, the production of flat-bottomed paper bags became possible in 1871 thanks to American inventor Margaret E. Knight, who is regarded as the most famous woman inventor of the 19th century, and American inventor Charles Stilwell began to manufacture improved paper bags with pleated sides in 1882. Walter Deubener invented the handled paper bag in 1912.

Paper bags were the standard for department and grocery stores until the introduction of plastic bags in the 1970. Cheap plastic bags eventually became the bag of choice for grocery stores, but the situation began to change in the 21st century because of the negative environmental impact of single-use plastic bags.

Paper bags are made from a natural and renewable raw material (cellulose fiber). Unlike single-use plastic bags, they are reusable, biodegradable in two to five months, and recyclable. Paper bags are environmentally friendly as long as they are made from cellulose sourced from sustainably managed forests and do not use synthetic colors or adhesives.

Paper bags aren’t used just for shopping; they have a wide range of uses, some pretty common and some rather surprising. Paper bags are used as gift bags, to serve popcorn and other snacks, to ripen fruit, as material for arts and crafts, and even to cope with hyperventilation. Manufacturers recommend to reuse paper bags as often as possible to reduce your environmental footprint.

It is unknown who founded Paper Bag Day, but the date of the holiday has an explanation. On July 12, 1859, William Goodale from Massachusetts received a patent for an improvement in paper bag making machines. Although his paper bag manufacturing machine wasn’t the first one, Goodale did contribute to the popularization of paper bags.

Paper Bag Day helps raise awareness about paper bags as an environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternative to plastic bags and encourage more people to use, reuse and recycle paper bags. Paper Bag Day is a great occasion to finally stop using plastic bags and switch to paper bags because they’re more sustainable. If you’ve already made the switch, observe Paper Bag Day by encouraging others to do it and promoting the holiday on social media with the hashtag #PaperBagDay.

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Category

Unofficial Holidays

Country

USA

Tags

Paper Bag Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, paper bags, sustainable packaging