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Which is worse for the environment?

  • Paper bags

    Votes: 3 4.5%
  • Plastic bags

    Votes: 63 95.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Paper bags, or plastic bags?<br><br>
Why?<br><br><br>
(ETA: Cloth is not included as the best option, because obviously it is the best option. However, I am asking from the standpoint of, "what should a business use in order to give products to their customers" and not from the standpoint of, "i'm off to the store, what should I take with me!"<br><br>
Please understand, cloth is FAR too expensive an option. Thanks)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm sure I'll probably be flamed for this, but I was thinking about this the other day. I really wasn't sure. I mean, our trees are disappearing so fast, and plastic bags can be recycled, as well.<br><br>
I was genuinely trying to figure this out. It seems like we should be protecting our trees, and that plastic, if recycled, is great for that.<br><br>
But then the neighborhood health store gave me paper bags, and I don't really reuse them except to put stuff in for the recycle bin. I do, on the other hand, reuse plastic bags over and over and for lots of different things.<br><br>
So I wanted to see what other people had to say, and I guess I am surprised to find that more people don't recycle plastic bags.
 

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I first voted for plastic. But then I googled and how about this:<br><br>
Plastic bags, having less mass than paper, produce less solid waste.<br><br>
For atmospheric waste, again plastic produce substantially less pollutants.<br><br>
Waterborne pollutants are high for a paper bag.<br><br>
Paper bags use high amounts of wood, petroleum, and coal.<br><br>
It would take approximately seven trucks to transport the same number of paper bags as can be transported by a single truck full of plastic bags.
 

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Plastic is made from petroleum which is a non renewable resource, we can regrow trees, or better yet start using hemp for paper. Plastic grocery bags should be banned, period.
 

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IMO, it's not necessary to use trees to make paper. And, with all the recycled paper, I have not seen paper bags in stores in my town that don't have a large recycled content.<br><br>
Even if we chop down trees to make paper bags, plastic is so environmentally unfriendly. Sure, we recycle it...how much off-gassing is produced when we do that? How many molecules are getting into the water and we can never get it out?<br><br>
Seems to me plastic is inherently worse than paper, even if you bleach the paper, etc.
 

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Yes, plastic is worse for the reasons listed here.<br><br>
The important answer is what is best for the environment- and that is cloth! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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wow, need to revert my vote!!!<br>
Check this out:<br><br>
Compared to paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags:<br>
Consume 40 percent less energy than paper<br>
Generate 80 percent less solid waste<br>
Produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions<br>
Release up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>swimswamswum</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7937354"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes, plastic is worse for the reasons listed here.<br><br>
The important answer is what is best for the environment- and that is cloth! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"></div>
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Oh yeah, I was all over the last Chicobag coop <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Sharlla</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7937300"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Plastic is made from petroleum which is a non renewable resource, we can regrow trees, or better yet start using hemp for paper. Plastic grocery bags should be banned, period.</div>
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ITA that plastic bags should be banned. Additionally plastic bags do not hold nearly the same volume as paper (or cloth which is the best choice)
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Annabel_the_Sheep</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7937388"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Compared to paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags:<br>
Consume 40 percent less energy than paper<br>
Generate 80 percent less solid waste<br>
Produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions<br>
Release up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes</div>
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This is hilarious to me!<br><br><b>Generate 80 percent less solid waste</b> Solid waste that will never decompose.<br><b>Produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions</b> Fewer, more dangerous atmospheric emissions?<br><b>Release up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes</b> Fewer, more dangerous waterborne wastes?<br><br>
These stats are basically useless if they don't incorporate how the emissions, wastes, etc. compare to each other environmentally.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Sharlla</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7937138"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Paper comes from a renewable resource that is most likely to be recycled and is more biodegradable.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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ummm. i voted for plastic. this is from the latest issue of adbusters:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">In Bangladesh, plastic shopping bags have been banned completely since 2002, following the discovery that plastic stuck in drainage systems was a main culprit in the 1988 and 1998 floods that submerged more than half the country.</td>
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Can't really see paper bags doing that kind of damage...
 

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More stats:<br><br>
It takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag.<br><br>
Paper bag production delivers a global warming double-whammy forests (major absorbers of greenhouse gases) have to be cut down, and then the subsequent manufacturing of bags produces greenhouse gases.<br><br>
It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. But recycling rates of either type of disposable bag are extremely low,<br><br>
and last but not least:<br><b>Current research demonstrates that paper in today's landfills does not degrade or break down at a substantially faster rate than plastic does!!!</b> In fact, nothing completely degrades in modern landfills because of the lack of water, light, oxygen and other important elements that are necessary for the degradation process to be completed.<br><br><br>
For the record, I use cloth<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lucy VanPelt</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7937434"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is hilarious to me!<br><br><b>Generate 80 percent less solid waste</b> Solid waste that will never decompose.<br><b>Produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions</b> Fewer, more dangerous atmospheric emissions?<br><b>Release up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes</b> Fewer, more dangerous waterborne wastes?<br><br>
These stats are basically useless if they don't incorporate how the emissions, wastes, etc. compare to each other environmentally.</div>
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Point taken, but remember that waist comes not only from the bags themselves, but from the manufacturing/transportation process. And these processes as more harmful in the production of paper bags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I use cloth, too, for shopping, unless I am in need of replacement plastic bags (which I use for various things like storing bulk items or for carrying to the beach where things tend to get waterlogged otherwise).<br><br>
I was more asking from a business aspect... would you give out plastic or would you give out paper bags. In order to be environmentally aware as a business owner.<br><br>
I don't think I could afford to give out cloth bags like paper or plastic, sadly.
 

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<a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/01/qa_retail_carry.php" target="_blank">http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005...tail_carry.php</a>
 

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Cloth bags, for the win! I was happy to see that our local grocery store is now selling cloth bags at bargain basement prices. It'll actually be cheaper for me to buy them than to make them. I hate that fabric is so expensive here. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 
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