World Paper Bag Day (or Paper Bag Day) is celebrated across the globe on July 12 every year to reaffirm the much-needed daily use of paper bags over plastic bags, which apparently came in handy for carrying our groceries and stuff for donkey’s years, to the gross detriment of our environment.
This day of July 12 is dedicated to raising awareness about the use of biodegradable paper bags that are recyclable and made of renewable raw materials. Worldwide, there’s has been awakening of sorts – at the turn of the last century – in terms of the need to curb the usage of plastic bags, which are non-biodegradable or, in simplest terms, take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.
The world has awaken to the realities of climate change, environmental pollution and scarcity of resources, and hence, slowly but surely, adopting sustainable lifestyle choices including paper bags.
World Paper Bag Day: History and Significance
It is anybody’s guess who initiated Paper Bag Day, but the solemn observance of the day the world over reflects the concerted efforts of our collective conscience to shift to more sustainable ways of living by using paper bags and save the planet Earth for posterity.
The history of paper bags can be traced back to 1850 when American inventor Francis Wolle invented and patented the paper bag machine. Later in 1871, Margaret E. Knight achieved a breakthrough by inventing a machine that could produce flat boxy bottom paper bags.
Charles Stillwell - in 1883 - took one step ahead by having pleated sides incorporated in the paper bag that made it handier. In 1912, Walter Deubener further built up on the Stillwell’s design by annexing a cord and handles to paper bags. So the present-day paper bag that we use is a result of the collective effort of all these great inventors of yesteryears.
Interestingly enough, paper bags are now increasingly being promoted by high-end brands in their attempt to encourage minimal and sustainable packaging. These paper bags aren’t only eco-friendly, but also add on to the aesthetic quotient of shopping.