“12 million barrels of oil are needed to produce 100 billion plastic bags used in the United States each year,” He said. According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency only 5% of those bags are being recycled and the rest are thrown into landfills. He also says that plastic bags from Annapolis land in Chesapeake Bay and marine animals swallow them, mistaking them for jelly fish. “Estimates prepared by the New York City Department of Sanitation suggest that if each New Yorker would use one less grocery sack per week, the city’s garbage could be reduced by 2500 tons every year, saving 250,000 taxpayer dollars “(Goldbeck 333).
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Some officials say. that producing the bags takes too much energy and they create environmental hazards. The only problem is that plastic is cheaper and create less landfill waste than paper bags. Plastic bags are made with polyethylene. 80% of polyethylene is made from natural gas; a non-renewable resource. According to the Boustead Consulting Association polyethylene uses less water, oil and energy. Plastic bags use 40% less energy than paper and plastic sacks. The alliance says, they generate 80% less solid waste.
Donna Dempsey of the Progressive Bag Alliance, a group representing plastic bag manufacturers, says that an alternative to plastic bags like paper wouldn’t actually be greener. She also says that paper bags use up more fossil fuels in their lifecycle than plastic. Paper bags are made from a lot of trees. Paper grocery bags, are an American innovation and were designed in 1883. It’s also made from a Kraft (German: means course and strength) paper. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, paper collection is easily and readily available in most parts of the country.
But like plastic, paper uses natural resources and creates pollution. The manufacturing of one paper bag uses 1 whole gallon of water! Trees have to dry for 3 whole years before making it into paper. Then it’s cooked under heat and pressure…Etc. So paper also use up resources. When paper is thrown away it’s either recycled or thrown in a landfill. Both paper and plastic bags can pollute and effect the environment. So it’s hard to say which is better to use. I f we want an option better for the environment its better to use neither of them. The best option there is out there is reusable bags.
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