Paper, Plastic or Green Bags?

Published On March 8, 2011

When given the option of paper or plastic bags, most of us think we are doing the ‘environmentally best’ thing by opting for paper. While there are some sound arguments used to explain why paper bags are preferable to their plastic counterparts, the fact remains that neither is as eco-friendly as reusable or green bags. Today green bags are often used as promotional bags and, when used to increase exposure and awareness of a business, they offer excellent value for money.

What is the problem with plastic bags?

Fortunately, many people have an ever-increasing awareness of the environmental problems caused by plastic bag production, use and disposal. Most people are aware that plastic bags take an excessively long time to break down, with plastic bags that end up in landfill taking up to 1000 years to decompose. Commonly, plastic bags disintegrate into small toxic fragments that contaminate water and earth. All too often, they become litter that detracts and destroys the natural environment.

Also, consider the fact that the processes used to produce plastic bags drain huge amounts of oil, which could otherwise be used for heating or as fuel.

Isn’t paper better?

Frequently considered a preferred alternative to plastic, paper bags are not devoid of environmentally problematic qualities. The primary problem with paper bags is the incredible number of trees that are required for their production. In the US, it has been estimated that approximately 10 billion paper grocery bags have been used. In order to make this many paper bags, a staggering amount of trees are essentially sacrificed.

Why are green bags a better option?

Naturally, we use bags for an almost endless number of purposes, not the least of which is carrying our shopping, so it is important that there is an environmentally sound option – and that is green bags!

When green bags, or reusable bags, are of high-quality and made of materials that do not harm the environment during production, they are the wisest choice for an environmentally friendly way of carrying goods. Also, the way that they do not need to be discarded after use presents an additional benefit of green bags.

Why are green bags so important?

It is shocking estimation made by experts that, across the globe, between five hundred billion to one trillion plastic bags are used and disposed of each year. This is calculated to be in excess of one million bags per minute. Disturbing isn’t it?

Plastic bags are not biodegradable and are rarely re-used. As well as contaminating soil and water, fragments of plastic bags can and do end up in the food chain where they can be eaten by animals. When discarded plastic bags find their way to waterways, they are frequently mistaken for food and cause the death of hundreds of thousands of marine animals.

If you needed any further convincing of the importance of green bags and the perils of plastic bags it can be found in estimates that rank Australia as the third highest country in terms of plastic bag consumption. It is estimated that Australians use some 6.9 billion plastic bags each year and this equates to approximately 326 plastic bags per person. Isn’t this ridiculous and shameful?

Green bags present a solution to the environmentally harmful use of plastic bags. As reusable bags counter the problem of bags being discarded and increasingly counter the problem of manufacture and disposal resulting in environmental harm, there are an infinite number of good reasons to choose green in preference to paper or plastic bags.