Dave Rice 11:30 a.m., Dec. 9
Paper or plastic?
A question I never gave much thought. Years ago I used paper grocery bags. I was more confident I could make it from my car to the kitchen without my bag ripping and my cans of soup rolling into the street. Plastic seemed too flimsy, but then plastic started its world domination tour and, unless you specifically asked for paper, plastic became the preferred bag of teenage grocery store baggers around the country.
Now there's another option: cloth bags. I bought a few when the whole cloth bag craze began and stashed them in my car, but always forgot to grab them when I went into the grocery store. And then I saw this website, One Bag At A Time. Talk about putting me and my flimsy plastic bags in check! Just a few facts from their website:
· About 8% to 10% of our total oil supply goes to making plastic. If you took the bags an average American throws away each year and converted it back into petroleum, you could drive about 60 miles on that fuel.
· In manufacturing, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil are used to make the bags Americans use each year.
· It’s estimated that Americans use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps a year, costing an estimated $64 billion in tax dollars wasted on plastic bag clean up!
· In 2008, researchers found 42 pounds of plastic in the ocean for every one pound of plankton.
So the next time I’m confronted with the age old question "paper or plastic?", I’ll choose neither and use my cloth bags instead. I'll feel better knowing I’m doing something smart for the environment.