[GRRN] paper vs plastic

Sat, 27 Mar 1999 14:01:05 EST

Dear members,

I read an article last week that disturbed me and was hoping I could get some
help. It was regarding the usage of paper or plastic bags at the grocery
store. Here's a quick summary of the article....

basically, the article said that both were bad because paper bags are made
from virgin materials (trees) and plastic is made from petroleum sources (also
virgin materials). Then it went on to say that neither were recycled after
use. And finally it said that if one had to choose, that plastic would be
better because even though the paper biodegrades in the landfill faster than
the plastc, that the plastic takes up less landfill space.

This article has really disturbed me. I went and checked some paper bags I
had at home and found that Lucky bags show 50% post consumer content and
Kinko's shows 20% post consumer, while my Lucky plastic bag showed no recycled
content. I also know that plastic bags have been extremely difficult to
recycle with many people noticing the bags dropped off for recycling only end
up in trash cans. I have been under the assumption that paper bags are widely
made from recycled content and that they are also accepted for recycling by
most curbside recycling programs and processors. I'd like to think that I'm
doing the right thing by choosing paper over plasic, but would love to hear
what you think.

Judi Gregory