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That is the question that has everyone running around, no longer knowing which side to take a stance on! ‘Plastic bags’ are the words that make most environmentalists gasp in horror but are plastic bags really that awful?  

There was a time when the checkout girl/boy at the supermarket would ask, ‘paper or plastic?’ but now, that question isn’t asked anymore, only a decade later. In fact, if people want a paper bag, they usually have to ask and pay for it! 

It’s not because store owners are assuming that plastic bags are more popular; it’s because plastic bags are much cheaper to make, less harsh on the environment, reusable and have lower carbon footprints. It just makes sense! 

This might sound a little far-fetched after hearing so many media advertisements and environmentalist claims of how bad plastic bags are. You might be wondering, how this could be? Keep reading and you’ll see there’s actually nothing strange about it! 


The Controversy – Paper vs. Plastic 

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Paper VS Plastic

Green lobbyists and those who are conscious about the environment will be the first to say that plastic bags are out and paper bags are in but if you sit down and think about it, when was the last time you saved a paper bag? The answer is more likely than not, once or twice until you realised it wasn’t worth the hassle. 

That’s not to say the thought of using paper bags seems noble since paper is recyclable and any opportunity to use the recycling bin does make you feel as though each item is a contribution towards a healthier universe; however, if you’re recycling too many paper bags, you’re actually cutting down more trees, using more energy and much, much more fossil fuel down than saving trees. 

Before you disagree about how plastic bags are better than paper bags, think about this: Can you argue indisputable, cold, hard facts? Even though opinions run high when it comes to going green, facts don’t have opinions, facts have facts!  


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Are theses facts grabbing your attention yet? If so, GREAT! 

The facts listed above are concrete documentations that have been proven after many, many studies surrounding hot topic whether it’s safer to use plastic bags or not. As the studies and research continues, the biggest factor that keeps popping up every single time shows evidence that paper bags are mostly used ONLY from the store to the house, whereas, plastic bags are used, reused and then reused some more! 

Let’s think about this realistically: If you’re earth conscious and in the green zone, trying to save the rain forests, water, resources and water for all of those paper bags that are being thrown out by the millions every day is definitely not the ideal choice. Out of all the millions of tons of paper bags created every year, only 20% of these bags will ever be used more than once. Simply said, you might as well just cut down a whole tree and set it on the side of the road to wait for the recycling truck. 

In early 2011, a report was release by the UK Environment Agency (EA) that has taken a long, hard look at the environmental effects of various types of bags. . Through intensive research, they’ve been able to prove that ordinary high-density polythene (HDPE) bags are a much greener choice since it takes less of one third of Co2 emissions than paper bags. 


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Overall, this is intensely interesting stuff! Do you want to hear something even more interesting? The EA has also provided verified facts that to even be able to balance out the amazing impact of a single lightweight plastic bag, eco-friendly people would have to use the same cotton, paper bag every working day for an entire year! 

The point is, the words, ‘paper bags’ just sounds a lot greener and better than ‘plastic bags,’ when in reality, all of these facts prove otherwise. 

This information may be enough to persuade you that plastic bags are more economical than paper bags but if you really to know the truth, this is only the beginning of understanding how plastic bags have been falsely demonised.