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In response to "Paper Bags or Plastic Bags? New Proposals Like... Neither"

May 20, 2010
Paper Bags are the Choice for the Environmentally Conscious

In response to “Paper Bags or Plastic Bags? New Proposals Like Neither” on May 20th,
the record needs to be set straight on paper bags. When it comes to choosing a grocery bag for the environmentally-conscience, there’s really no comparison between paper and plastic.

To start, recent studies show that for every paper bag you’ll use at the grocery store, you’ll need to use three plastic ones to hold the same amount of groceries. Furthermore, unlike plastic, paper bags are made from a renewable and sustainable resource and their use creates a demand for trees and recovered paper.

Today the industry plants more than 1.7 million new trees each day, more than making
up for those that are harvested and in 2009 collected 63.4 percent of the paper recovered for recycling. Paper bags are made from natural fiber and are biodegradable
and used in leaf composting programs across the country, while plastic can take up to
1,000 years to fully degrade in a landfill. In addition, paper bags are recycled at a much
higher rate than plastic bags and plastic grocery bags require nearly 50 percent more
fossil fuel energy than paper grocery bags over the full life cycle.

Choose paper, the renewable and sustainable choice.

Cathy Foley
Renewable Bag Council
Cathy_foley@afandpa.org

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