Paper, Plastic or Something Else?


Paper or plastic, Mr. President?

Paper or plastic, Mr. President?


Deat Thinkers:

A friend brought this website to my attention (in an email) asking for feedback on the ongoing Paper vs. Plastic bag debate. The website cites many reasons why plastic outstrips paper bags. While I remain unconvinced that plastic is THE definitive choice, I appreciate some of the information presented on the website, as well as the transparency of author’s rationale and personal experience which shaped his point of view. I have included my initial thoughts below.  What do YOU think…Paper, Plastic or Other? Please read my entire response below:

While I didn’t verify the truth claims found on this website, some initial thoughts do come through

  • We should be composting, Throwing perishable waste into non-perishable plastic bags is just as bad as uying bottled water. The container life far outstrips the product viability.
  • In addition to recycling bags and selling green bags, grocers should be the place where city dwellers can take food ends for redistribution and composting.
  • We should all be using reusable, rewashable sturdy shopping bags. Many of us have tote bags (or can buy them from the Salvation Army or Goodwill) if buying the designer “green bags” is not feasible.
  • It’s good to know about the roach concern with paper bags; Roach infestations are a real concern for many people, though it is not discussed. (secret weapon: Borax! It will kill roaches and deter new ones from entering while refreshing the air in your home.
  • wouldn’t it be great if indeed we found it to be true that plastic bags don’t come from oil, nor are they the main pollutants in our waterways (again, I have not verified these truth claims)
  • MegaStores like Whole Foods charge customers up to 10 cents for bags, but they may actually just be profiting form this debate, charging consumers premium price for bulk bag purchases which likey cost a fraction of a cent in bulk!
  • Point of  fact, plastic bags do rip. They have grown increasingly thin over the past 20 years, so we see grocers double bagging our groceries. If they were as sturdy as the website claims, this would not be the case. I suggest they make the bags thicker again assuming all the other claims are true
  • There needs to be a market for more products which source recycled plastic bags as raw materials (in addition to the composite lumber etc). What other plastic items can be replaced with this materialAll in all, the key lay in our continued search for workable solutions which will likely me a mosaic rather than a one-dimensional dogmatic conceptualization and approach. Viable solutions are not necessarily diametrically opposed or mutually exclusive, so the best way may lay within the unexplored middle ground between the two options.

Let me know what you think? It touches us all, so participate if you are able and willing to do so!


2 thoughts on “Paper, Plastic or Something Else?

  1. I’ve been hearing more and more lately that paper bags require more energy and petroleum than plastic bags to produce, so it is interesting.

    I like how some markets in the US, like Aldi, charge for bags, as do markets in some European countries.

    Where did you read that Whole Foods Market charges customers for their bags? Offering a bag “refund” is not the same as charging customers, when the cost of bags, paper or plastic, is included in the prices.

    One of WFM’s core values is a commitment to the environment, so the incentive with the bag refund is to encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags.

    (I sound like an employee – yeesh!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s