Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Plastic Shopping Bags vs Recyclable Shopping Bags

My car trunk is full of them. 

I even have one in my purse.

 I am talking about the recyclable shopping bag.  I have them from a lot of different stores, all different sizes and colors.  I usually forget them in my trunk when I grocery shop, but I do atleast hand out the one from my handbag so I can feel good about using the one bag.

I had heard these plastic recyclable bags aren't what they're cracked up to be.  By the time we recycle the thin plastic bags, send them over to China to get them recycled into reusable shopping bags and ship them back here, we have completely negated the whole idea of being "green".

Then a study from the Environmental Agency of England comes out.  It states "In order to get a similar carbon footprint of a thin plastic grocery bag, you'd have to use your recyclable bag (be it cotton or recycled plastic) 131 times!  If you use your thin plastic grocery bag for something like a trash can liner, you need to use your recyclable bag even more!

You also run the risk of illness caused by cross contamination of food products as e coli and salmonella, when you use your recyclable bag. That is unless you wash it frequently-then think of the hot water, soap and bleach you must use. Nope, another negative for the recyclable bag.

Okay science, keep thinking on this one.  The thin plastic bag from the grocery store may not be perfect, but neither is the current alternative.

** Paper bags also make a huge carbon footprint by the necessity of cutting down so many trees and processing the pulp for the paper bags, so that is not addressed in this blog post.

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