- Processing trees into bags requires a lot of energy
- Higher transportation costs because of size (to & from the store, to landfill)
- 1/2 of landfill space is taken up by paper
- "14 million trees in 1999 alone were cut down to manufacture the 10 million paper grocery bags used by Americans"
- Plastics are the waste products of the oil refining process (when considering the impacts of plastic bags, also keep in mind the impacts of oil extraction)
- Require less energy to produce than paper bags
- Take up less space in the landfill
- Marine life is threatened when they ingest plastic bags, which become lodged in their throat or stomach and cause starvation
- Can clog sewer pipes, which lead to standing water and health problems
Solution: buy a reusable bag, and reuse it. Keep your bags by the door or in the car, so you remember to take them with you. Many stores offer a discount if you reuse, and you've done a lot to reduce waste in your community. (I wonder when stores began providing bags to people, and passed the expense onto the consumer.)
This doesn't just mean plastic and paper grocery bags. Consider ziploc and brown paper lunch bags. They have an impact too. Get some reusable storage containers (Glad and Ziploc make excellent ones that are cheap and recyclable), and a cool lunchbox instead of creating waste every day. It'll save you money, and help the environment.