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Old 03-19-2012, 12:50 AM
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Smile Paper or plastic — what’s the greener choice?

When it comes to choosing your shopping bags, the decision isn’t an easy one.

Would you like paper or plastic? It's the question food shoppers are asked every day. "I generally pick paper because it's more protective of the environment," one shopper tells us.But, is that real the case? The answer is NOT LIKELY.

Many people choose paper over plastic because they believe it will biodegrade faster than plastic in a landfill. However, there are a number of factors that determine how quickly, if at all, paper degrades – this includes temperature, pH, the type of bacteria present and the form of paper. Only if all these factors are combined, will paper bags degrade faster.

Then, Let’s look at the aspect of energy and natural resources paper and plastic bags consume during production. According to a 2007 study by Boustead Consulting & Associates, it takes almost four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a polyethylene bag. Paper bags also use twenty times as much fresh water VS plastic bags. Additionally, most paper comes from tree pulp, so the impact of paper bag production on forests- the major absorbers of greenhouse gases- is enormous, which leads to global warming.

Therefore, to answer the question, neither one is the greener choice. But the best choice is reuse and recycle, eg: cloth or canvas, or BYOB — Bring Your Own Bags.

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