Paper or Plastic?

A standard question at our local grocery stores here in North Carolina used to be, “Paper or plastic?” Now I’m more likely to be asked, “Is plastic okay?” Of course if I were on the ball I’d have my own cloth totes with me. Right? Recently I was totally surprised to have my purchases from one of favorite stores (that would be Target!) packed in a paper bag. Plastic was not an option. The same thing occurred at Marshalls, a discount clothing store. This happened while I was visiting family in Portland, Oregon. I have since learned that both Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, have paper bag legislation. I had no idea!

So why am I rambling on about paper bags? You guessed it! Today, July 12, is Paper Bag Day. It’s simply a day to stop and recognize the significance of an invention that has been around for years (the first paper bag machine was patented in 1852) and can easily be taken for granted.  I say let’s also make it a day for teachers to share their favorite paper bag projects. Here are a few of mine. (Click the picture to find directions.)

What’s your favorite way to use paper bags in the classroom?


Three cheers for paper bags!


PS: To find more classroom uses for paper bags click HERE.


12 thoughts on “Paper or Plastic?

  1. I know kids love the bright, colorful, stretchy purchased book covers, but there is nothing better than a paper bag book cover you can decorate yourself!

  2. Love paper bag Valentine Bags and gift bags. For shopping in Indio California we have to use paper or reusable. I have reusable bags. Makes for less trash and saves a tree for books.

  3. I use paper bags to make Origami… birds,hats,airplanes,boats,houses,flowers and more…
    Lots of learning and fun!

  4. i like paper bags. They’re easier to pack if you’re taught how to properly place the various items in the bags. When I was hired to work at Jewel food stores in the 60’s you had to have a class in packing groceries and ringing them up. Groceries were keyed in by hand. I was always put on the express line where I had one order completed and being packed and the second order on its way to be packed right behind. I hate having some else bag my groceries so I pack my own however everything is plastic bagged today, in recycled plastic bags that get thinner every time thy’re recycled. so i often double the bags to prevent them from ripping and sending your purchases all over the parking lot.

  5. I love the various ways to make paper bag books, from very easy fold-in-half designs for little ones to complicated cut and fold designs with pockets, flaps and fold-outs for adults. I just designed and completed a 3-signature/2″ spine book within a Starbucks bag with the handles to tote it around.

  6. The reason some states are using plastic bags are plastic is not biodegradable and often ends up in the oceans – where wild life be comes tangled and sea turtles eat them

  7. My favorite paper bag craft has to be the turkey we make at Thanksgiving – long accordion folded legs and lots of feathers from the craft store. This always makes a fun bulletin board to go with our writing.

  8. Separate the seams for a large writing surface for small groups to write with colorful markers words that rhyme, coins that equal a given amount, or courtesy words.
    Roll strips of bags into logs, add flames of red and yellow tissue paper, then sit around the campfire to share compliments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *