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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Environmental Impact of Paper vs. Plastic

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 10:29 AM

It's not often that big business winds up pushing for the same cause as environmentalists, which is why you should read about how the hell that happened in the local Ban the Bag debate over in the news section.

Meanwhile, green thinktank Sightline has an interesting post about the environmental impact of paper vs. plastic. Their number crunching revealed that "assuming a grocery bag holds one day's worth of food for a family of four, the choice about what to put in the bag is about 186 times as important as the bag itself." Meaning, the food you eat has a much bigger impact than the bag you use.

That's a good point to keep in perspective as Portland gets into debating the nitty gritty of banning plastic bags from grocery stores. The Sightline report also notes that from an energy standpoint, using a canvas bag is 14 times better than plastic (without factoring in the littering, landfill and oil issues) while they're 39 times better than paper.

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