Plastic Bags VS Paper Bags – Who solves our Eco Problems better?

When your company gives out giveaways in imprinted promotional bags or promotional bags as giveaways themselves are you really thinking about where the bag may land up, its impact, the profits, the losses etc? Before your brain starts making connections with words like ‘visibility, brand popularity and recall, advertising tools etc’, STOP!What I am really asking is …Do you wonder whether your bag will end up in the stomach of a poor cow, or choke dolphins to death or deprive the world of its old-growth forests and the animals of their habitat? I am referring to much-discussed yet unsolved dilemma of what should eco-friendly bagsbe made of; Plastic, paper or something else? Let’s first dissect the characteristics of plastic and paper bags and then take it forward from thereonDifferences between plastic and paper bags- A compilation of facts found online.

Plastic Bags
Paper Bags
In America, 30 billion plastic bags are used/year.
In America, 10 billion paper bags are used/year.
Plastic bags are manufactured from petroleum. It requires 12 million barrels of oil to make 100 million plastic bags annually.
Paper bags are made from trees. It requires 14 million trees a year to produce 10 billion bags.
Plastic bags are made from virgin petroleum.
Some paper bags are made from virgin forest while others are made from recycled paper.
Though plastics can be recycled, the efficacy of the process remains uncertain. It may take them years to bio-degrade and according to the nonprofit World watch Institute, Americans only recycle 0.6 percent of the 100 billion plastic bags they use annually while the rest become litter or reach landfills.
A forestation is being taken seriously these days and replanting of fast-growing pine trees has been offered as a solution. However the unnatural forests it creates hampers the natural living habitat for animals.
1-3% of plastic bags are recycled.
(Wall Street Journal) 
10 to 15% of paper bags are recycled
(Wall Street Journal) 
Plastic bags do not decompose; they are exposed to nature’s processes, get degraded over time into smaller pieces and become more hazardous if they enter the food chain. Animals mistake them for food and consume them.
Virgin paper creates 35 percent more water pollution than recycled paper. Recycled paper also creates 74 percent less air pollution than virgin paper

America certainly seems to hate its plastic bags with an increasing number of US cities having banned it already. Though the efforts to impose a state-wide ban in California went kaput, the California communities of Fairfax, Malibu, Palo Alto, and San Francisco have struck back and outlawed plastic bags in addition to Bethel, Alaska, Edmonds, Washington, and Westport, Connecticut. Washington, D.C.’s has levied a 5-cent fee for each disposable grocery bag which is being argued. The poor, little, plastic bag- no one wants it now, not even for collecting dead leaves!

Well, there is no clear outcome to the debate but as a responsible corporate citizen you have to make an informed choice. If you ask me, the solution is to use reusable bags. Bags made of natural fiber like canvas or cotton are more durable, yet not detrimental to nature. You can also use custom bags for your grocery, gifting or promotional needs. By using eco-friendly promotional products, you don’t just help your business flourish; you nurture Mother Nature too.

To view a large variety of Eco-Friendly promotional products for business promotion, please visit our website at www.promodirect.com

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  1. Posted by Project GreenBag
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