Paper or Plastic?

How do your parents answer the cashier at the Grocery store when the question is “Paper of Plastic?

The answer should be “NEITHER!”

There has been a lot of debate about which bag to choose when you want to take home your groceries from the store. The usual answer is, “it depends on what part of the country you live in.” The thinking is the some areas of the country are better at recycling than others.

The truth is not with how you recycle, but how the bag is made. Most brown paper bags are made to be strong, so they have to be made from young trees. These trees are usually found in forests that are more than a hundred years old. When you cut down a tree, Carbon Dioxide is released in the air. It is also released in the air when the paper is made into pulp at the factory. 10 billion paper bags are used each year. Think about how many trees are cut down to make that many bags.

The plastic bags are just as bad. They are made from oil that we take from the ground. It takes 14 plastic bags to make the same amount of oil to drive your car one mile. And when the bags are made at the factory, more carbon dioxide is released into the air.

So what do you do? Recycling is a good thing to do, but it also takes energy and factories to recycle what we use. The better solution is to not use either paper or plastic. The answer just might be in Canvas bags that you can use again and again. Tell your parents that you can keep them in the car and every time they go shopping. Either at the grocery store or the mall, they will have them available to use. This way we can save the trees and conserve the oil that we use for other things.

So the next time someone asks, “Paper or Plastic”, you say, “No Thanks, I’ve brought my own!”