You've probably heard a lot of fuss about plastic
bags lately and how they're bad for the environment and you shouldn't be
using them anymore. Perhaps paper bags are a better alternative, right?
Wrong. Although paper bags degrade more easily than plastic bags, they
are not a better choice than plastic bags when it comes to environmental
In 2006, the EPA released a report that claimed that paper accounts for over 30 percent of municipal solid waste in the US. Over 10 billion paper bags are consumed in the US each year which represents about 14 million tress that are harvested for their production. In a separate report released by the Film and Bag Federation, they claimed that paper bags require 40 percent more energy to produce than plastic bags, create 80 percent more waste, emit 70 percent more atmospheric pollution, and are responsible for 94 percent more waterborne wastes. These are not good numbers.
These numbers essentially tell us that the amount of energy consumed and pollution generated by paper bags prevent paper bags from becoming a realistically viable alternative to plastic bags. So where does that leave us? Plastic bags are bad, and paper bags are even worse, so what are you supposed to do?
Use reusable shopping bags. Reusable bags are the only truly viable alternative to paper and plastic bags. Their viability lies in the fact that they are not one-use bags. The more they are used, the more they benefit the environment. True, they require energy to produce and in the end must be discarded and thrown away. However, the useful life of a reusable bag is much, much longer than a disposable paper or plastic bag, usually a couple years. Thus the overall environmental impact of the reusable bags is lessened each time the bag is used.
David Kraft is a freelance author that writes about a variety of subjects. He supports eco-friendly living and green products such as reusable bags. For more information about eco-friendly living, visit his reusable shopping bags site..
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