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Plastic vs. Paper bags

Posted by mmpersun (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 19, 10 at 15:04

I recently attended a conference discussing various aspects of the sustainability. One topic discussed was plastic vs. paper bags. People frequently say paper bags are much more environmentally friendly than plastic bags. Take a look at the process required to produce both plastic bags and paper bags. Both have several advantages and disadvantages. The answer to the debate seems to simply be a matter of opinion. It is interesting to me how people make decisions based on what they have heard rather than what they have learned.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

so what are you saying? They're the same?

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

Maybe neither is better. Both are bad for the environment. What about fabric bags, like canvas? Wouldn't those be sustainable?

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

IMO, paper is more sustainable than plastic. Trees regrow; oil doesn't. And paper recycles or composts - most people don't bother to recycle plastic bags, and every one of them that was ever made still exists somewhere.

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

Yup I agree with demeter. Paper is recyclable and may even come from reforested woods. This means that whenever a tree is cut, another one is planted to replace it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Learn more on reforestation

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

Well you've got to put your trash in something to get it into the garbage can. Sorry, but I like getting "free trash bags" with my purchases. Once in a while I ask for a few paper bags just because they're handy to have around.

Ana - they've been recycling plastic for at least 20 years now, where have you been?

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

purpleinopp says:
Well you've got to put your trash in something to get it into the garbage can.

No place I've shopped uses paper bags anymore, but I'd recommend them because if one gets soiled with something unsafe to touch, you can throw it away without it being an ecohazard.

On the other hand, even if the spot is just something harmless like spilled juice, you can't wash paper for recyling...

RE: Plastic vs. Paper bags

brown paper bags are composed of post consumer content. not sure of the percentage.

also, a brown paper bag will decompose in a few years making something better. cant say that about plastic bags.

as far as recycling plastic, yes theyre recycling plastic. however alot of places its difficult to find someone to recycle plastic bags. here in virginia i have to go to a business that takes plastic bags(target is the only one i can think of now). the city wont recycle them. the city wont recycle anything that isnt a plastic bottle. they recently starting allowing the caps. some places are years behind the curve. i had to throw a patio chair in the trash even after arguing with the waste management folks that HDPE is HDPE regardless of what shape it comes in...

silly. and i just realized this thread is a year old. sorry

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