November 9, 2007

Paper or plastic. How 'bout neither

There is plenty of debate as to which is better (i.e. less damaging), paper or plastic. Paper is more easily recycled, but uses more fuel when transported to the stores. Plastic bags can be recycled, but few are. If they are tossed in the garbage, they take up to 100 years to break down.

Here is our collection of bags, soon to be recycled at our local Albertsons. These bags can be recycled to be used to build composite decking among other things.

Of course, recycling is the third best thing to do, behind reducing and reusing. Whenever possible, I avoid getting my items bagged. I am usually only buying a handful of things, so I can typically just carry them out. For larger trips, I keep a couple paper bags in my car. The wife has her fabric Trader Joe's bag.

A major chain in England is going to begin charging customers for each plastic bag in the hopes that this will encourage customers to use less and to create less waste. A similar move in Ireland reduced waste by 66%. Will this program be making its way across the pond to us soon?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YES! IKEA is already charging extra for bags (I think it was about 2 cents per, not sure as I went w/o) of course though, they are a euro-chain.