Paper or Plastic?

What’s the point of stores carrying either paper or plastic bags when having just plastic would be better for the economy. Saves a lot of trees and does a fine job carrying groceries anyway. Anybody see where I’m getting at?


“Life is infinitely stranger than the mind of man can imagine.”

  • A. Conan Doyle

Plastic is non-biodegradable.

The question is what is worse on the environment - chopping up trees to ship your groceries from store to car to kitchen, or landfills filled with tons of plastic that ain’t going anywhere any time soon, and will emit toxic chemicals if burned…

I would guess that since we can grow as many trees as we want if we are patient, it’s a lesser evil that makes a lot of environmental advocates choose paper.

None of them, of course, have to go up the flight of stairs in my apartment complex…

I use plastic - I can get like 10 bags per trip on my arms! In the pre-plastic days when I carried the family food in from the car, I could only manage a best of four bags per trip.

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I also vaugly remember someone saying that since it takes more energy to recyle the paper than to make the plastic in the first place. I don’t know if that is true though.

If you were really interested in saving the planet, you would simply use the cloth bags (in Chicago almost all stores have these) they sell and you bring in again and again.

Or just bring your own cloth bags

Paper or plastic is of course provide cause people demand it. Its mostly pandering to old timers who like sturdy paper, and ecofreaks that dont have a clue.

On the plus side of plastic, most of it biodegrades when left in sunlight… which is great if you just pitch the baggs out in your yard when your finished with them. Unfortnately, they usually end up in the landfill under a bunch of other trash.

If you think paper is better, it biodegrades when aerobic bacteria eat it, so covering it up with other trash stops it from biodegrading too. And paper takes up 7 times more landfill space that plastic.

If your woried about the trees, dont.
Paper demand doesnt drive the hacking down of forests. Lumber demand does, and the scraps are used paper, or trees are specificly grown for paper.

If your worried about the energy, get a car that gets good gas mileage. You’ll be doing the envoironment a much better favor in the long run.

And as markx points out, re-use it the best of all choices.

Errr? I must have missed something. I have not been offered a choice of paper/plastic for some years now. All stores on Hawaii use plastic…period. Maybe the rest of the world could take a lesson here, we burn our garbage for electricty here, bury the rest. Plastic takes up less room in a landfill.

The recycling company used by my village does not take plastic bags, and I always insist on paper for this reason.

Ugh. While biomass is a more renewable alternative to fossil fuels, but burning straight garbage it certainly is not guarateed to be less toxic. Lot of garbage, particularly plastics and rubbers give off mega-carcinagenic fumes when burned.