Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is paper better than plastic?

Compare to people in western Europe, people in the United States or Asia pay less attention to the environment, I think. However, eventually, all people on this planet will have to pay more attention and efforts to preserve our environment, which is now rapidly changing.

Recently, I noticed that all grocery stores in San Francisco quite using plastic bags. Three years ago, most of shops uses the plastic bags, but nowadays they all use paper bags instead. I think this is a part of the environmentalism movement, which is hitting the city.

However, I got a fundamental question about this change. Are paper bags better for the environment than plastic bags?

Quote from Stranger in a Strange Land:

MSNBC provides an educational piece about the debate of whether paper or plastic bags are better for the environment with their Battle Of the Bags website.

Paper bags are good because they are compostable, recyclable and made from sustainable resource, trees. However, it is also true that we need more energy to make paper bags than to make plastic bags. These energies are generated by burning oils, which destroys our environment. And cutting trees to make paper bags will increase greenhouse effects. Therefore, I personally do not have the conclusion which one is better, and do not totally support San Francisco's movement toward paper bags.

In the bottom line, bringing own reusable bags to grocery stores is the best way. Although, it is not convenient, I will load many reusable bags in my car trunk not to forget to bring.


finwe.isilra said...

Hi, found your site on Blogcatalog, you have some interesting stuff (but unfortunately I cannot offer you the content on my site to read, as it is in polish;).
You would be surprised, how much shops in Europe still do offer plastic bags, paper bags aren't so common as you think. We had an interesting initiative in one of the biggest cities in Poland (Lodz), where the city administration has forbidden the use of plastic bags in shops in the whole city.
Of course paper bags are not the solution, but they better as the plastic ones. The best solution - as you said - which I also prefer: use always the same bags for shopping, then you don't need neither plastic nor paper bags:)

T.F. Sakaguchi said...

Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, my Polish is not too good to understand your blog...
People in this city believe that paper bag is the solution, but I thing it is not (This is my point).

finwe.isilra said...

Somehow I thouhgt your polish wouldn't be sufficient for that, but this isn't a problem;)
I understand your point of view - it's not a solution for the future, but for now it's a small bit better: remember, that plastic stays in the soil for almost forever!