Thursday, March 12, 2009

Paper or Plastic

Paper or Plastic

It’s yet another one of life’s great decisions. The plastic bag that is worse for the environment (not true), or the paper bag made from our nations forests (also not true). This is the age old question that many struggle with at the checkout line, if you have not switched to the trendy reusable bag, which still may not be any better for the environment, espicially, if it sits in the garage like our 4 or 5 do.

My personal preference is for the cheap plastic bags. They are stronger, more moisture resistant and easier to hold onto than those ridiculous paper bags. In fact if they start bagging my groceries w/ paper I will usually make them redo it with plastic. Just for the fact that I like to pick up all 4 or 5 bags at the same time, which you simply cannot do with the paper bags. People should probably get the reusable bags and make a point to take them to the store, but that is not really what this blog is about.

We do make every effort to conserve. We reuse as many of the bags as possible as trashcan liners or numerous other misc uses, and what we don’t reuse we usually recycle at the bin in the super market. So we have the reuse and recycle going, but what really pisses me off is trying to reduce the number we end up with.

This is what I ended up coming home with the other day while I was not watching the bagger. When I got home I was very upset as I started putting stuff away, and realized that not only did numerous bags only have 1 item in them, but some of them were even double bagged. For the 30 some grocery items we had 20 some bags. Granted the bagger may not have been the brightest crayon in the box, but come on. This is why I prefer the self checkout.

Items that received their own individual bag (from top, left): single pack of flour tortillas, pre bagged oranges, half gallon of OJ, 12 eggs, half gallon of milk, half gallon of icecream, single pack of corn tortillas, quart of margerine, prebagged apples.

In future outings I will try to be more proactive to reduce the number of bags we end up with. If I would have noticed this before they started I would have consolidated some of these myself. I guess I will reuse one of the plastic bags to bring its 50 friends back to be recycled.

Oh and one more bright spot for plastic bags, if you get a bag that feels a little rougher than the normal bag it is probably made of bioplastic, which is made from corn or soybeans. These are much more biodegradable and use substantially less hydrocarbons to produce and deliver. And if the shipping peanuts that came with your latest online purchase are tan and crush between your fingers those are bioplastic as well.

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