Plastic Bags and Paper Bags are No Greener than Each Other!

This morning, The Globe and Mail released an article on plastic bags and paper bags. I found this article to be particularly interesting because I was always under the impression that the paper bag was “greener” than the plastic bag. It turns out that this apparently isn’t true.

According to this article, “Research by bodies as diverse as the National Cooperative Grocers Association and the Progressive Bag Alliance have found that plastic bags use less energy and water to make than new paper bags or those with 30-per-cent recycled content. It costs less to transport them because of the enormous difference in weight, and they create less solid waste. Even recycling a plastic bag uses less energy than recycling a paper bag (The Globe and Mail)”

So now knowing this information, when you go grocery shopping, it makes no difference if you ask for a paper bag rather than a plastic one. Instead, the best thing you can do as a shopper, is get a bag that you can use for a long time rather than a one time use type of bag.

This topic is quite interesting and debatable because some retailers feel that they’d still rather offer their customers a biodegradable option which is paper bags rather than plastic bags and we all know that plastic bags will be seen for years down the road since they aren’t biodegradable. Another fact is “Municipalities around the world are banning plastic bags, while the city of Toronto passed a bylaw in 2009 stipulating a charge of five cents a plastic bag to help reduce their use. That has resulted in as much as a 75-per-cent drop in the use of plastic in most major grocery chains, according to figures from the city’s Solid Waste Management Services. An audit of single-family homes also found a 68-per-cent reduction in plastic shopping bags in household garbage going to landfill (The Globe and Mail).”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a point in using either. Paper bags are a result of trees being cut down and well, we all know the story with plastic. They’ve also come out with compostable bags! To read more about this current news, click here.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Susanta Shaw

    Looking at the after use consequences, the plastic bags may be source of lot of harmful chemical when exposed to the other residual chemicals in environment or burnt in atmosphere (willingly/otherwise). whereas the paper bags can be made of different materials(like cotton,wood,grass,waste paper). So, we can look it as recycling and proper use of biodegradable sources. The fact of carbon immision comes while destructig the paper products but before destruction hwe can reuse it efficiently.

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