Do You Choose Plastic or Paper Carrier Bags?

shopping bagsWhich one do you prefer the most? Do you like to use plastic or paper carrier bags? Some might deem this is such a trivial question, but is it really? Both disadvantages and advantages exist when it comes to using each type of bag and these things will be discussed below.

The Advantages of Using Paper Carrier Bags

Reasons for why using paper carrier bags is advantageous are numerous. They are strong and eco-friendly because they are derived from a natural source such as trees. This is a biodegradable wood source that is organic, reusable and recyclable. In order to recycle paper, it has to be collected, re-pulped, washed and separated into pulp fibers, which is a simple process.

Even companies and individual consumers find using these bags very beneficial. Advertisers print their logos on the exteriors of paper carrier bags by using different inks, printing options, colors and fonts. Consumers have different styles to choose from because laminates and varnishes are added to create different designs. Even an assortment of handles are available such as patch, twisted, rope and tape.

The Disadvantages of Using Paper Carrier Bags

Disadvantages in using paper carrier bags also exist. The following are some of the main ones:

Usage negatively affects the environment. The paper making process is not eco-friendly. It takes more energy, greenhouse gases and water to produce a paper bag. This is something most people are not aware of. Also, paper produces methane, which is toxic to most landfills.

Usage drains natural resources. Even if the world wanted to replace all plastic bags with paper ones, it would require planting and cutting down a larger number of trees each year.

Also, it would require using more land to plant more trees. In addition, consider the amount of time needed for trees to mature before they can be chopped down. Also, consider whether these things would fall into sync with the number of paper bags consumers demand on a daily basis.

Usage is more expensive. It costs storeowners more money to supply paper bags. A paper bag costs four cents, but a plastic bag costs only one cent. This indirectly increases the costs of groceries. Grocers are forced to pass the extra cost on to consumers.

Paper bags are less convenient. It is said that paper bags are harder to carry and they take up more storage space. This is because they are a lot bulkier. Also, paper carrier bags are easily damaged and can’t be reused. This is especially the case when they get wet.

This video takes you through the benefits and the disadvantages of both paper or plastic bags:

The Advantages of Using Plastic Carrier Bags

In error, many people assume plastic bags have always been a threat to the environment, but there are some advantages to using them. A study done by the Carrefour Group, a global retail chain, concluded that plastic is much better for the environment than paper. Plastic bags are cheap, waterproof, reusable and durable. They are also easy to custom print and carry around. Most importantly, they can be used for many different purposes.

Also, if more people were concerned about the environment, plastic bags could be recycled and reused more often. More people should become more responsible and reuse plastic bags as much as possible. For example, take them back to the store and reuse them to carry next week’s groceries. However, discard the ones that contained raw meats and fruits so that cross contamination does not occur. Also, consider reusing plastic grocery bags to line the trashcans of kitchens and bathrooms.

The Disadvantages of Using Plastic Carrier Bags

Just as with paper carrier bags, there are also disadvantages to using plastic carrier bags. They are not biodegradable and they are produced with oil-based chemicals that are toxic to land and water. Plastic bags slowly decompose and this process could take years to finalize.

On an annual basis, there are about 500 million to 1 trillion plastic bags being used globally. Many of them never reach designated waste management locations. They can be seen littering land, streets, streams and oceans. Plastic bags add to the pollution problems many countries are already experiencing. This is why many countries either tax the usage or these bags or make usage completely illegal.

So, which do you prefer? Do you want to use plastic or paper carrier bags? Some will choose plastic and others will pick paper. Amazingly, some will say neither is a good option. As you can see, this is a debate that will have to be decided by each consumer or company.

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