The Reason Why Plastic Bags are Bad
The grocery line inquiry of “Paper or plastic?” never used to involve so much thought, but now choosing a bag is not so simple. If you are like many people, you have no clue why there is such a backlash in the eco-conscious world against plastic bags. Many activists are pushing for banning plastic bags from being issued by grocery stores and other retailers. But why? It’s a little confusing, after all many of us remember our first introductions to recycling education praising plastic as good, and now it’s bad?! Heck, shouldn’t plastic bags be better than plastic bags which involve the cutting of our precious oxygen-giving trees?
Well, the reason why plastic bags are getting a bad reputation is because plastic is a nonrenewable, petroleum-derived product that takes a really long time to break down. When it does break down it degrades into toxic particles that will contaminate the soil and water supplies, ultimately ending up in our food chain. On the front end, it requires less energy and creates less waste to produce one plastic bag than to produce one paper bag. But, paper bags hold more items, are easier to reuse, and can be recycled easier. Paper bags also won’t leave all of the harmful toxins in the ground that plastic bags will, so they are really less harmful to the earth.
So, while you should of course be carrying your own reusable shopping bag(s), if you happen to be without one, definitely choose paper over plastic!