Which is greener, plastic or paper grocery bags?
ANSWER: Neither. A cloth bag is best; used just 11 times, it already has a lower impact. Paper from trees is a renewable resource, but burdens landfills; 2,000 paper bags weigh 280 pounds. The same number of plastic bags weighs a mere 30 pounds, but polyethylene, made from crude oil and natural gas, uses nonrenewable resources. The EPA says about 20 percent of paper bags gets recycled, but less than 5 percent of plastic ones.
WHY WE CARE: In New York City alone, one fewer grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by 5 million pounds and save 250,000 dollars in disposal costs.
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