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
- Most kraft paper is made by heating wood chips under pressure at high temperatures in a chemical solution. These toxic chemicals contribute to 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% of the volume of municipal landfills compared to 97% of 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 significantly reduced 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 time when exposed to various outdoor elements. They will not leave fragments, methane, or harmful residues after degrading.
Information provide by Elkay Plastics.
Title: Should we be using poly bags or are they bad for the environment?
Description: Six reasons why poly bags are a sound choice for the environment.
Last Edited: 1/23/2023
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