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Paper or Plastic?


Worker 11811
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Paper or Plastic?  

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  1. 1. Paper or Plastic?

    • Paper grocery bag.
      2
    • Plastic grocery bag.
      7
    • Other.
      4


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The question is simple:

 

You go to the grocery store. You are at the checkout stand. The clerk asks you:

 

"Paper or Plastic?"

(Which kind of grocery bag do you want her to put your things into.)

 

What is your answer. Why?

 

The reasoning might not be as straigtforward as some people think.

 

Finally, is there a third option for your grocery bag? What might that be?

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HMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... okay. In Oz, this is not an easy quetion to answer, cause paper isn't really used as a bag... plastic is definitely the mainstay, but there are also "green" bags...... made of recycled plastic and reusable/washable.

 

So, although my bags are still plastic, they aren't plastic if you get my drift.

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Finally, is there a third option for your grocery bag? What might that be

 

I guess the third option is to take your own bag, like we always used to when I was a kid. I still remember the great sound of potatoes pouring from the weighing scales into the bag which my mum held open.

 

Packaging these days is SUCH a waste of time, effort and resources. most of it is just not necessary

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I agree with the watefulness comments of packaging. However. I have three cats who live inside. Guess what I use plastic bags for?

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We Canadians don't get the paper option.

 

If you don't want plastic you better have big pockets.

 

Some of the grocery stores around here supply boxes if you want or you can bring your own bags or pay extra for them to supply plastic bags. You have to do all your own packing though.

 

So, my choice is plastic.

 

Interesting observation though.

 

The more expensive the store you shop at the smaller the bags are.

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Yes, the third option is to bring your own bag. There are some stores in this area that give you a 5

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Being a proper wasteful American, I use both when I get the chance. I'm also a massive pack rat to make up for it...so I save the paper bags to make into whatever. Sometimes I end up using them in models at work, or in handmade cards for friends and family. A few months ago grocery bag paper even made it into a double-CD case I made for a friend's birthday. The plastic bags, however, are drummed into service for garbage and then tossed out again. \

 

A friend of mine is disgusted by the idea of plastic bags, but does all her grocery shopping at Wal-mart...where they only have plastic bags. Her solution? Reusable, woven grocery bags made from found items and, yep, plastic bags.

 

J.

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I use plastic since that is all that is provided by most of the stores in my local area. Every so often I take most of them back to be recycled (the local Wal-Mart has a few bins for collecting them), and some get used for cleaning up after the cats.

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If it's for grocery shopping, then i usually go for a good ol' plastic bag. However, if it's for things like books, dvds, etc, then i will take my own messenger bag, since it leaves my hands free for using my phone, wallet, and other bits and bobs.

 

Unclejoe

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Here in England it is plastic only. God knows why they introduced them. As stated before; when i was little my parents took their own shopping bags and then the supermarkets introduced plastic bags (obviously to promote themselves). If the supermarkets really cared about the environment they would stop them and tell their customers to provide their own shopping bags (preferably not plastic). People complain about how wasteful plastic shopping bags are and this is such a simple solution, apart from the supermarkets losing their cheap advertising; no chance of it happening then!

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Fair point allfurme but on the other hand if people take their own bahs and then but binliners and litter disposal bags etc then it can be worse!!!

I try not to buy anything from supermarkets unless I can help it.

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Plastic is no free lunch.

 

The petrol burning equipment and ships.

 

The usual oil spills and pollution cased by the spills. "Valdes!!!". The drilling site pollution and contaminations. Pipelines bust all the time.

 

The contamination from the refineries regardless of where in the chain it is extracted.

 

The polution created by the manufacturing of the plastic. Very toxic byproducts.

 

The millions of years of most of it in land fills. Recycling plastics is mostly a sham. Paper actually is recycled.

 

I'll take my paper bag please.

 

 

OFF

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Recycling anything at the post-consumer level is likely to be a sham.

 

If you read "25% Recycled Content" on a paper bag, be sure you check for the POST-CONSUMER content. Paper mills throw scraps from the mill floor and "short ends" from rolls, back into the pulpers and call it "recycled paper". Often, the post-consumer content is less than 10%.

 

Paper mills are a source of serious pollution. They pump out dioxin-laden "black liquor" as a byproduct of the pulping process. They pump it into deep wells underground with virtually no thought about contamination of ground water and what have you.

 

My neighbor worked in a paper mill until it shut down. He told me that, on one of his first jobs, he dropped a wrench into a vat filled with black liquor. His foreman told him to leave it. That stuff is so toxic you don't want to touch it, even though everybody says it's "reasonably safe".

 

I have to agree with you that petroleum products cause pollution. Remember, in my list above, I listed petrochemicals as one of the top polluters. But paper mills are right up there with them.

 

In terms of overall toxicity, I'd guess they are about a horse apiece. But when you include the overhead involved in cutting down trees and trucking the lumber around, the pollution caused by burning fuel to move the raw material starts to pass the break-even point. Then, when you move the finished product, plastic bags can be moved easier because you can pack more of them into the same space. It takes less gasoline/diesel fuel to truck plastic around.

 

Further, don't forget that the raw materials for plastics come from the by-products of gasoline/diesel manufacture. Making plastic uses up things that might have been waste products, otherwise.

 

Finally, cutting down trees, which sequester pollution, and chopping them up into paper has a net negative impact on our air quality. We chop down pollution-eaters with pollution-causing machines.

 

No, I'm not putting down anybody's choices. In fact, I see as many good reasons to choose paper as I see for chosing plastic. I'm just using the paper/plastic question as a way to point out the Naturalistic Fallacy and highlight the Rule of Unintended Consequences. (e.g.: A choice may not be as good as it seems once you figure in the hidden costs.)

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The real solution to paper is never going to happen for political reasons.

 

It's Hemp. Not only is it many times more productive for pure pulp per acre than trees but it's higher quality and easier to process with far fewer residuals. Like the soy bean it regenerates and recovers the soil unlike cotton that ruins the land after one or two crops.

 

Even though Hemp for pulp production is at the other end of the scale from BC Bud [it would take an acre to get high] it will never happen because of the total hysteria and gross infringement on our freedoms.

 

The North Slope and pipeline pollution by oil is forever and Valdes is forever damaged. That's just a small part of the problem. In no way has paper, or wood fires for that matter, had the impact that oil production and use has had on the planet. Plastics is just part of the baggage, a residual.

 

The human species is doomed by its own stupidity and ignorance.

 

OFF

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Now, there's a thought! Not only does hemp have the benefits you say but it grows a lot faster than trees.

 

People say that paper comes from a renewable resource but it takes decades for trees to grow to a size that's suitable for pulp. Further, old growth forrests take a century or more to recover from the damage. At the rate we're going, I think it would take a huge planting to cutting ratio to bring the forrests back into a "renewable" balance again.

 

How long does it take hemp to grow? A few months?

 

But, as you say, hemp suffers from bad P.R.

 

Think about the rapeseed plant. Nobody would buy rapeseed oil for their kitchen. Would they? But, "Canola"! People buy it by the gallon!

 

Further, did you know that, technically, the canola plant is a genetically modified plant? If it wasn't for human intervention the plant would not exist in the form we know it, today. The untouched rapeseed plant contains a weak toxin that makes its oil unfit for human consumption. But, years of selective crossbreeding have taken the toxin out of the plant.

 

Maybe somebody should figure out a way to crossbreed ALL of the resin out of the plant and rename it...

 

Oh, I don't know... What should we call it? How about the Wildwood Weed?

 

A similar thing has happened to the corn plant. ( I don't think corn was ever toxic, though. Just not as palatable.) If it wasn't for human cultivation the plant we know as corn wouldn't exist at all.

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When you take into account the crop rotation, the weight and quality of pulp production from the Hemp pland it is 100 times more productive per acre than trees PLUS you can grow a rotated crop of cotton or a truck farm crop in the other half year if you were to do this in the Sacamento valley or southern Louisiana and you would not burn out the soil.

 

As it is they grow mono-crops of cotton in those two locations and have to apply fertilizers by the ton per acre and are still rappidly depleting the land, The salt buildup in the soil from these practices and the salts from the Colorado River water will soon make it unsuable for growing crops.

 

Urethane plastics are made from non petrolium sources such as sugar cane, sugar beets and Hemp so petrolium is not necessary for those kinds of plastics. There are many other kinds of resin plastics now that require little if any petrolium.

 

OFF

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Well, actually I live so close to the Dutch border (or grass border if you will) here that it takes me less then 15 minutes to the next 'koffie' shop - and that is by bicycle! So I never take the hemp bags.

 

Yogi

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Worker, I always ask for plastic because when I do my heavy-duty shopping, I go to Costco (A discount warehouse for the benefit of you who live outside the US) and when you shop there, you have to provide your own method of taking your groceries home, unless, of course, you use the boxes that Costco is going to throw away . . .

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