In this section, you can access to the latest technical information related to the FUTURE project topic.

Plastic carrier bags prove to have the lowest environmental impact

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has published a study that analyses the life cycle environmental impacts of production, use and disposal of carrier bags currently available in Danish supermarkets.

The study aims to identify the carrier bag with the best environmental performance, best disposal option and the recommended number of reuse.

Materials such as LDPE, PP, rPET, polyester, biopolymer, paper, cotton and composite and their variations were analysed in compliance with the international standards ISO 14040 and 14044 for a range of recommended environmental impacts.

The study suggests between the types of available bags, LDPE carrier bags with rigid handle are the most preferable and effects of littering for this type of bag were considered negligible for Denmark.

While analysing the materials the study took into consideration different end-of-life options including, incineration, recycling and reuse as waste bin bag before incineration.

For carrier bag alternatives, impacts arising from production of the carrier and its packaging, transportation to Denmark, use and disposal in Denmark or within Europe were considered.

The main finding of the analysis is that LDPE lightweight carrier bags provide the overall lowest environmental impacts for most environmental indicators when not considering reuse, with regards to production and disposal.


Félix Miessen

With regards to the best disposal option, the study states “reusing the carrier bag as a waste bin bag is better than simply throwing away the bag in the residual waste and it is better than recycling. Recycling can potentially offer benefits in the case of heavy plastic bags, such as PP, PET and polyester. Reuse as a waste bin bag is most beneficial for light carrier bags, such as LDPE, paper and biopolymer.”

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