Polish supermarket chains have been encouraging their customers to switch from plastic to paper bags in recent times. This can be seen in the growth in paper bag production across the industry nationwide. Between 2019 and 2023, the number of paper bag producers has doubled from seven to fourteen, while the biggest national retailer now uses 90 million bags a year.
What has driven this change? As well as the consumer habits mentioned above, another key factor is the EU’s Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, the Polish implementation of which entered into force on 24 May 2023. This directive stipulates that any business that places lightweight plastic carrier bags (below 50 micrometres in thickness) on the market will incur an annual fee. It therefore makes business sense for supermarket chains to look around for viable alternatives.
Paper bags are an obvious solution, since they are produced from renewable fiber-based raw materials. But as their popularity has grown, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand. Obtaining a consistent year-round supply has been a challenge for some manufacturers, while recent market conditions have accentuated the need to keep costs low.
CarrEco Brown from Stora Enso is the perfect solution for brand owners looking for a sustainable product that performs in line with end user expectations. “CarrEco has truly turned out to be a game changer for the Polish packaging market,” says Piotr Gontarz, Sales manager, Poland at Stora Enso. “Its exceptional performance and strength are such that customers have even been willing to reconsider their grammage requirements. They traditionally have demanded for 90 gsm but CarrEco’s lighter option of 85 gsm has proven just as reliable and they have adjusted their demands accordingly.”
CarrEco Brown™ is made using 100% fresh fibers from sustainably managed Nordic forests. This responsibly regulated supply means that year-round delivery to the Ecobag Network can be reliably achieved. “We were looking for a material that could be produced more quickly. CarrEco Brown’s ready supply is crucial to this. Its higher coil quality also ensures that the paper rolls remain neat, tidy and easy to handle,” says Dawid Rogoża, Managing Director of the Ecobag Network. “After rigorous testing, the material proved capable of what we and our customers were looking for: a lightweight paper bag that was able to hold a weight of 10kg.”
By meeting these key criteria, the benefits for Ecobag were notable. Improved production on converting lines meant that long-term manufacturing costs were brought down. Meanwhile, the strength-to-weight ratio of the product helps reduce transport emissions.
Having proven to be a game changer in the Polish retail market, the solution is now being developed for other clients who have similarly ambitious goals in terms of performance with renewable materials. “CarrEco gives us the opportunity to succeed,” continues Rogoża. “As the demand for these kinds of solutions continues to grow, both in Poland and in neighbouring markets, it positions us in a great position to be able to serve our customers.”