Should we be using poly bags or are they bad for the environment?

Issue #1 - Energy required to manufacture plastic vs. paper

  • It takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag.
  • The primary reason for this is that it takes only one-eighth as much material to produce a plastic bag.

Issue #2 - Pollution

  • The majority of kraft paper is made by heating wood chips under pressure at high temperatures in a chemical solution. The use of these toxic chemicals contributes to both air pollution, such as acid rain and water pollution.
  • Paper sacks generate 70% more air pollution than plastic bags.
  • Paper sacks generate 50 times more water pollution than plastic bags.

Issue #3 - The Landfill Crisis

  • Plastic film is estimated to account for less than 3% by volume of municipal landfills compared to 97% other materials.
  • By weight, plastics account for only 7% of the U.S. landfills compared to 36% for paper.

Issue #4 - Transportation

  • It takes seven trucks to deliver the same quantity of paper bags contained in one truck of plastic bags.

Issue #5 - Recycling, Reuse and Source Reduction

  • It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.
  • Secondary use of plastic bags reduces solid waste by reducing the need for new bags.
  • Plastic bags are 90% thinner than their paper alternatives and the use of these thinner, superior films has had a significant impact on reducing the volume and weight of plastics in municipal landfills.

Issue #6 - Degradability

  • Special additives can be blended with polyethylene resin to make them "oxo-degradable," allowing them to degrade over a period of time when exposed to various outdoor elements. Upon degrading, they will not leave fragments, methane or harmful residues.
     


    Information provide by Elkay Plastics.
Article Title:
Should we be using poly bags or are they bad for the environment?
Article Summary:
Six reasons why poly bags are a sound choice for the environment.
Article Date:
12/17/2014
Article ID:
994
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