Paper Bag Day | July 12
Paper Bag Day | July 12


Each July 12th, we recognize the significance of an invention we take for granted on Paper Bag Day.


Millions of people use paper bags every day. Readily recyclable, paper bags have been around for many years. American inventor, Francis Wolle, received credit for his patent of the first paper bag machine in 1852. Another paper bag inventor, William Goodale, received his patent on July 12th, 1859. His was designed to cut the paper such that it was ready for folding. Margaret E. Knight became known as “the mother of the grocery bag” after she designed the square, flat-bottomed bag, and the machine that would fold and paste them in 1870. Over the years, other inventors have received recognition and patents for their inventions of devices that improve the paper bag or its production.

Not only do we carry our groceries or our lunches in a paper bag, but this highly functional item comes in handy in a surprising number of ways.

  • Help reduce anxiety when hyperventilating – Cover your nose and mouth with the open end of the paper sack and fill the bag with your breath. Breath in and out until breathing becomes normal again.
  • Serve popcorn – When making a large amount of popcorn for a group, serve popcorn in small size paper bags. The paper bags also absorb any oil used to season the popcorn so the snack will be less messy.
  • Arts and crafts – Paper bags make great puppets, masks, and windsocks. Get decorating with your kids and have fun while doing it, too!
  • Gift bags – Recycle and make gift bags. Whether you give homebaked goodies or another thoughtful gift, your gift bag may steal the show.
  • Ripen fruit – Don’t wait for green fruit to ripen. Put it in a paper bag and fold the top. This traps the ethylene gas given off by the fruit, which helps it to mature. Want them to ripen even faster? Put an apple in there, too.


Consider the convenience of the paper bag or sack. How many other ways can you use paper bags? Check out these 7 Different Uses For Paper Bags to find out!

Share your favorite uses for the paper bag and post on social media using #PaperBagDay.


While we’ve not determined the founder of the day, it does commemorate the date one U.S. patent was issued for a paper bag machine; William Goodale’s 1859 patent was received on July 12th.