this has been going on for quite a while. For myself it has gone from silly, via tiring to annoying. Rant incoming.
Petroleum plastic is bad. It is also evil, so if you signal your hatred, you signal virtue. Paper is good and pure. Of course the production of it might not be clean, and there is an increased consumption of organic matter. But there are too many people anyway, so who cares? We already want good farming land (especially elsewhere) to be used for fuel production. Who cares if there is less food produced? The monotonous repeating of paper virtue shows how plastic people are 😎
In Sweden (as elsewhere), there is these days tax on plastic shopping bags. I.e. those made for one time use, even if most can be re-used one or a few times. The tax is not on plastic packaging. Furthermore, you can buy more heavy duty plastig bags in shops, and they are in proportion to their plastic weight a lot cheaper. So... some shops, especially food shops, have no plastic bags at all. If you want to put frozen stuff in a bag, you either bring your own, or use small, "free", paper bags from the vegetable department. Paper insulates well, but if there is condensation from the frozen items, the paper may not hold. The paper bags (disregarding tax) are probably more expensive to produce. But the shopper pays, so who cares? Some things are better packaged in paper, e.g. potatoes, so nothing new there. Thick paper carrying bags can be excellent. After decades of customer choice, we do not know our own best.
There is another irony with this papermania. Self-service in food shops is popular in Sweden, and I used it myself for quite some years. Due to my health problems (incl. brainfog), I do find it an extra mental work to be sure to properly register everything I pick. If there is a control, you have to do the whole work anyway :/. So recently I stopped, and just shop the old way. It means a bit more picking stuff, but I can be dumber doing it, even with more fatigue and pain. For a while there were paper bags with a little "window" in them. But recently there was none. So the cashier have to open bag and look into into with their nose and eyes. Plastics are more scary than corona. I long been internally eye-rolling at the idiocy and virtuesignaling, but now it is starting to get annoying.
I visited a bigger shop few weeks ago that sells tools, garden and household articles, car equipment etc. Maybe one could call them "utility supermarket"? They had stopped with plastic bags altogether! The irony screaming in customer face is that the shop is filled with plastic articles and/or in plastic packaging. Mostly hard plastics. This is one of things that made me go from tired to pissed off. The inyourface idiocy of the whole thing. Bonus narcissistic insolence: "We in our shop do not even sell plastic bags as we are so good and fine, and so should you be, you stupid little customer." (Read in snotty accent for added realism). They can go and f themselves for all I care. Skip all plastics then, sh-theads. Practice what you preach, aholes.
In shops where they still have carrying plastic bags, they are really expensive. One small one of average thickness can cost a euro. Now, the tax is to blame, but I am sure shops add their own li'l profit.
In Sweden, it is of course a TOTAL coincidence that the pulp and paper industry is very big here. The small Swedish plastic industry reportedly has troubles. Adding to the idiocy, there is already a lot of plastic packaging, and it is for the most part imported. So politicians moved some plastic jobs to paper jobs, but also to overseas plastic industry. Let them have the profit and pollution? Out of sight, out of mind.
Plastic people carrying brown paper bags.