As an alternative to Paper Bags, Plastic Bags are made from either low density or high density polyethylene.
Low Density vs High Density Plastic
Low Density: Low-density plastic film has a softer feel with the plastic being able to stretch out and expand to hold odd shaped objects like gift and apparel boxes with sharp corners without easily tearing. These bags are also the best option for logo printing, offering a superior quality of print as opposed to the typical thin hi-density bag. The durability and printing quality makes low-density bags the popular choice for most retailers.
Low-density options include: Soft Loop handle bags, patch handle bags, and flat merchandise die-cut handle bags.
High Density: High-density plastic film has a crisp feel with a tight and strong construction, not allowing for the material to stretch. The most common types of high-density plastic bags are grocery store and t-shirt bags. The high density, strong construction allows the bags to be produced remarkably thin and in mass quantities, giving grocery stores and retailers a very inexpensive bag choice. For finer retailers, high-density bags are produced in thicker films for a firm non-flexible bag that can easily be logo printed.
High-density options include: T-shirt & Grocery bags, Take Out and Super Wave Bags, Euro Tote Style Shopping Bags, and Die Cut Handle Bags.
Retailers choose plastic bags for a variety of reasons from branding and look, to convenience and durability over paper bags. Restaurants use super wave, t-shirt, and take out style bags for their delivery and take-out orders.
Most plastic bags are produced overseas and imported into the United States. They are often associated with not being environmentally friendly. However, they can have even less of an environmental impact from an energy usage perspective in producing and transporting them, than paper bags. Many manufacturers have led the effort in recycling and awareness of the benefits of plastic bags in recent years, with most containing recycled post-consumer material and also being recyclable.