NC GreenPower

Posted by: on May 7, 2014

We’re all guilty of using plastic and paper bags when checking out at our local grocery store. You forget to put your cloth bags back in your car after your last grocery visit and now have two options: carry everything in your arms or resort to using the plastic or paper bags, it’s only this ONE time right?

NCGP Bag

The paper or plastic question is an age old debate and our conscience isn’t the only one with a stake in the debate. Grocery stores purchase plastic bags at a cheaper cost with constant pressure from environmental groups to stop offering them.  Worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year with the average American family of four using an overwhelming 1,500 plastic bags a year.

San Francisco made the game changing move in 2007 by being the first city in the U.S. to ban single use plastic bags city wide and requiring stores to charge 10 cents for recyclable or plastic bags with over 50 cities following their steps.

But when given the ultimate choice between paper or plastic — which is worse?Plastic is produced from the waste products of oil refining whereas paper is produced from trees. To make all the bags we use annually, it takes 14 million trees for paper and 12 million barrels of oil for plastic. Paper bags create 70% more air pollution than plastic, but plastic create four times the waste. With paper consuming four times the energy and three times the amount of water, it consumes a good amount of fuel. On the other hand, plastic bags are littered nationwide and dangerous to wildlife which sometime mistakes it for food. Plastic is difficult to recycle and can take up to 1000 years to degrade!

In the end, the statistics don’t favor either. Use a reusable canvas bag instead and don’t forget to BYOB – bring your own bag.

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