Paper or plastic?
A simple question everybody is faced with when grocery shopping -- but how you answer determines more than just your preference.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 11:08
PLASTIC PARADISE: All too often we find ourselves with too many plastic bags stashed away around the house. (Photo: GooseFlesh/Flickr)
Would you like the plastic bag, that often has to be double bagged because it's so flimsy, yet can be put on hooks in the trunk to ensure it doesn't fall over? Or do you choose the hardy paper bag that may or may not fall over but has more of a shape and less chance of contents moving within it? Tough choice, isn't it?
Now there is another popular alternative, that of the reusable bag. The idea is catching on quickly. As a frequent shopper, I have noticed more and more people bringing their own bags and I've also noticed places like Publix designing cute, fashionable reusable bags. Even Target has started giving a discount to patrons who skip the plastic bags in favor of Target's own reusable style. According to Publix, the 99 cent bags they sell saved the company more than 400 million of paper and plastic ones last year alone. Considering that only 12 percent of plastic and 37 percent of paper bags are recycled, imagine the impact this had on keeping waste out of the landfills!
Last year the Florida Department of of Environmental Protection suggested a five year reduction in plastic and paper bag usage that would end in a ban of them. The suggestion is being fought hard, though, as many prefer to have disposable bags. But even just having one reusable bag can save anywhere from 56 and 315 disposable bags a year. To encourage the use, a small fee could be imposed on the use of paper and plastic bags. According to a newspaper reader, this worked in Ireland. Suddenly bags had value and were no longer thrown out as readily.
Could an idea such as Ireland's work here? I believe it is certainly worth a try.
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