Lawrence University We've all been in the grocery store, at one time or another, and been asked, "Paper or plastic? Moreover, why did you make that particular choice? And, was it an informed decision? In our era of ecological and environmental awakening, the question of paper or plastic bags should be taken, and considered seriously.
The manufacture of paper bags is much more resource intensive than plastic consuming larger amounts of energy and water.
See below, or the section next section, Paper versus Plastic—The Studies. Post-consumer recycled paper used to carry heavy items is problematic. The four bottle bag is made from virgin paper to carry heavy loads.
Plastic Bags and Natural Gas Plastic bags were invented as an alternative to paper grocery bags in the late s to protect trees and prevent clear-cutting of our forests. Plastic bags are a by-product of natural gas extraction and provide an environmental solution to the burn off of this gas during the refining process.
The polyethylene material used for conventional plastic shopping bags is made from ethane, which is the strand of natural gas that is burned off during the refining process to lower the BTU value of the gas so that the gas does not burn too hot so it can be used as fuel in our homes.
Essentially, the strand of ethane gas is conserved, captured and frozen before it can be burned off into the atmosphere. According to the Scottish government's Report on Plastic Shopping Bags, the manufacture of paper bags consumes four times more water than the manufacture of plastic bags and paper generates three times more greenhouse gases.
Each study discloses slight differences in results, but all studies agree that paper bags carry a substantial environmental impact in their manufacture that is not seen with plastic bags.
On Reuse — Plastic Outperforms Paper Whatever type of bag is used, the key to reducing its environmental impact is to reuse it as many times as possible. Paper bags tend to fail on reuse because they tear easily and are not waterproof.
Conventional plastic bags are highly reusable and outperform paper. They are reused as carry bags and as kitchen catchers for garbage and organics, among their many uses. The UK Environment Agency study of supermarket carry bags LCA found that paper bags contribute three times more to global warming than conventional plastic shopping bags do.
On Solid Waste — Paper Generates More Waste The most significant and immediate impact of a switch from plastic shopping bags to paper grocery bags is the additional volume and tonnage that paper adds to the waste stream.
This additional volume correlates directly to significant increases in the amount of greenhouse gases emissions produced to transport it. Paper grocery bags are heavier than plastic bags. The typical plastic shopping bag weighs grams; a standard Kraft paper bag weighs 55 grams. This leads to additional waste, waste management and recycling costs.
It takes seven trucks to transport two million paper bags, versus one truck to carry two million plastic bags. The differences between paper and plastic strongly supports why bans don't work. InTaiwan rescinded a ban on plastic bags in their fast food sector.
The ban led to an increase in the use of paper bags with a resulting massive increase in tonnage, waste management costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Canada has, over the past decade and half, developed a highly effective network of plastic bag recyclers across the country — large and small.
Some of the larger players are Merlin Plastics in B. Recycling rates of plastic bags in Canada are high. And in Atlantic Canada, which pioneered bag to bag recycling systems working with large grocery retailers, rates are higher:“I realized plastic bottles weren’t the main issue,” Nissenbaum says.
After all, they could be recycled, when people remembered to do so. But what about all the flexible packaging — chip bags, candy wrappers and go-to containers — Nissenbaum also saw crammed into the trash?
She did some research. Photo: Fotolia Eco-Tips Paper, Plastic or Reusable? The answer is a mixed bag. By Claire Thompson. SAGE (Sound Advice for a Green Earth) is a project by advanced students in Earth Systems and.
Plastic can be recycled so let's do that.
It would help the unemployed get working again and help us recycle! Then we don't need to waste plastic any more and the problem is solved.
Jul 11, · Sure!, that's why we have phases like ''plastic paper bags''. Plastic can be diluted with desired plasticizers oriented towards making it less grupobittia.com: Resolved.
Paper or plastic bags: which is better? It's an age old question, when it comes time to check out when grocery shopping: paper bag or plastic bag?It seems like it should be an easy choice, but.
Like paper, when plastic has been used, it can go to one of two places: The landfill or the recycling center. In a landfill, plastics make up 7% of the waste by weight, and 18% by volume. Of the 44, million pounds of plastic products made each year, 26, million pounds ends up .