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Letter to the Editor: Paper Bags Over Plastic

Jan 16, 2013
Letter: Paper bags over plastic
January 16, 2013
The Daily Journal

Editor,

In response to Cathy Browne’s guest perspective, “Everyone loses under bag bans” in the Jan. 3 edition of the Daily Journal, the record on paper bags needs to be set straight. When choosing a grocery bag, paper is the most environmentally-conscious choice. The guest perspective states that plastic bags are made from a natural gas derivative and not from oil. Natural gas, just like oil, is a fossil fuel and non-renewable. Unlike plastic, paper bags are made from recovered paper and wood fiber, a renewable and sustainable resource.

The Forest Products Industry sources the fiber used in its products from sustainably managed forests. In fact, the United States has 20 percent more trees today than it did on the first Earth Day celebration more than 40 years ago.

Paper bags can be recycled, reused and even composted, as evidenced by their use throughout the country in municipal leaf mulching programs.

Paper bags are 100 percent recyclable and their recovery rate is at nearly 50 percent, while that of plastic bags is at nearly 10 percent. Many of the products’ plastic bags are recycled into are precisely the types of hard plastics that the guest perspective claims are the culprit of oceanic pollution. Plastic bag litter itself is a major threat to marine animals.

If you want to make a responsible and sustainable choice, choose paper bags.

Cathy Foley

Falmouth, Maine

The letter writer is the group vice president for the Renewable Bag Council and American Forest and Paper Association.

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