Green Education

Paper or Plastic? Neither!

  • Paper or Plastic Informed response - NEITHER!
  • The number of disposable plastic shopping bags used in the U.S.A is rapidly approaching 400 Billion, environmentalists estimate as high as 1 Trillion globally.
  • Only about 1% or 4 Billion are recycled. The remaining bags end up in landfills where, under perfect conditions, they would take 1,000 years to biodegrade. When buried, plastic bags decompose even slower and block the natural flow of oxygen and water through the soil.
  • When plastic bags find our oceans it is estimated that thousands of sea turtles and other marine life die each year after mistaking the bags for food.
  • Plastic bags are made from fossil fuel-based polymers. Use of our limited Oil and Natural gas resources increases our dependence on these non-renewable resources.
  • Paper bags are another option made from renewable resources. Paper bags biodegrade faster than plastic. Paper bags are derived from trees. Energy and resources are used in their production.
  • According to the American Chemistry Council the move to paper is actually worse for the environment. To transport paper bags it takes seven-fuel-consuming trucks to ship paper bags to retailers, compared to one truck for the same amount of plastic bags.
  • Plastic bag bans are currently being considered in Baltimore, MD, Oakland and Santa Monica, CA, New Haven, CT and Boston, MA. In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to enact a ban on plastic bags.
  • A Plastic Tax instituted in Ireland in 2002,a fee on all plastic shopping bags at the check-out, led to a 90% drop in consumption in one year.
  • Brian Joyce, a Milton Democrat in the Massachusetts Senate, representing Norfolk, Bristol and the Plymouth District, has filed legislation that aims to gently persuade consumers not to choose plastic bags by introducing a small fee on plastic bags at the checkouts of large retail stores. Customers would be exempt if they brought their own reusable bags, request a paper bag, uses a compostable bag provided by the store, or reused a plastic bag. The bill would give people a financial motivation to protect our environment.
  • The informed choice is reusable bags made from organic cotton (canvas) that can last for many years. One reusable bag can replace nearly 1000 plastic bags over its lifetime.


GREEN = Good Option
RED = Issues of Concern