The advantage of paper bags vs plastic bags is an interesting topic. Whether paper bags or plastic bags are best, or perhaps, least worst, for the environment is frequently discussed. Most people, without giving the matter a great deal of thought, would automatically think that plastic bags were the biggest hazard to the environment. To look for the information about them, it is good we have to find to the accurate source study.
According to the Progressive Bag Alliance, five billion paper bags are used every year in the US compared to 92 billion plastic bags. Both paper and plastic bags have a heavy impact on the environment. Less Environmental Impact Plastic bags have a bad reputation and with good reason. It takes centuries for one to dissolve after ending up in a landfill, while paper decomposes much more faster and easily. In fact, according to an article in Slate magazine, plastic bags do not biodegrade at all, so you would have to wait for UV rays to destroy it, which can take anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years or more. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency points out that 12 million barrels of oil are used in the US alone to produce plastic bags.
Research from MSNBC shows that most paper bags contain at least 35 percent recycled material, but many companies use much more than that. On other hands, when we think of paper, we often think of recycled paper bags, which in turn can be recycled after use. Paper conjures up an image of a natural product, while plastic gives the image of something artificial that harms the environment. In reality, however, both paper bags and plastic bags have their negative points and cause harm to the environment.
Marine Life Protection According to the Conservation International Organization, plastic litter, which includes plastic bags, kills thousands of marine animals each year. The EnviroLiteracy website explains that plastic bags can block the entrance to the stomach and cause starvation in a number of marine animals, including sea turtles, minke whales and sea birds. Some animals confuse plastic bags with jellyfish or other food and actively seek them out even if they spot them from a distance.
When looking at paper bags vs. plastic bags and the impact on the environment, it is important to take all aspects into account. This does not simply mean looking at how the bags are disposed of or how long they take to decompose. Instead, the entire lifecycle of the bag needs to be considered and this includes looking at how the bags are made, the raw materials and the energy used to make the bags as well as how they are later disposed of. In addition to this, the amount of energy used to transport the bags from the place of origin, plus the environmental cost of storage, also needs to be factored into the equation.
There are many places to look for up to date information. When looking for information on the Internet it is always important to bear in mind that information can be presented in ways that will help to further a cause. Therefore it is important to go back to the source study where possible, to ensure that the latest information is available.