Paper or Plastic?

By | July 14, 2008

Paper or plastic? The famous grocery store question. I usually opt for canvas, but if you forgot your reusable bag at home, the answer is…well, I’ll let you decide.

Plastic Shopping Bags

  • Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic shopping bags are consumed worldwide.
  • Plastics do NOT biodegrade. Rather, they photodegrade, a process in which sunlight breaks down plastic into smaller and smaller pieces.
  • It can take up to 1,000 years for a high-density polyethylene plastic bag to break down in the environment.
  • Plastic bags are on the top 10 list of most common trash items along the American coastline

Paper Shopping Bags

  • Paper bags generate 70 percent more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.
  • 2,000 plastic bags weigh 30 pounds, 2,000 paper bags weigh 280 pounds, making transportation of plastics cheaper & more eco-friendly.
  • It takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. It takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag.

3 thoughts on “Paper or Plastic?

  1. Pingback: 20 Cents Tax On Shopping Bags - Seattle Voters Say No - The Go Green Blog

  2. Pingback: Dekalb Academy of Technology & the Environment » Blog Archive » 20 Cents Tax On Shopping Bags – Seattle Voters Say No

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    Paper and trees are renewable resources. Like corn or beans that we plant, consume, and re-plant. Americans keep planting trees and we keep making paper. This is pretty insightful post about paper and plastic. This article is really good and full of information. I would go with paper than plastic. I think awareness is very important when it comes to reducing waste. A lot of us don’t know what will happen to the waste that we throw away each day. For me, I’m always debating which one to use to carry the trash. Thanks for sharing…

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