Bag Wars -- Paper vs Plastic: The Real Truth
November 06, 2008
Spread the Word to
Friends And Family
By Sharing this Article.
"Paper or plastic?" It seems like it should be an easy choice, but from durability and reusability to life cycle costs, there's a lot more to each bag than meets the eye.
Paper comes from trees -- lots and lots of trees. The trees are found, marked and felled in a process that all too often involves clear-cutting, resulting in massive habitat destruction and long-term ecological damage. It takes approximately three tons of wood chips to make one ton of pulp. The pulp is washed and bleached, and both stages require thousands of gallons of clean water.
If you throw them away, they'll eventually break down over many, many years. But if you choose to recycle the paper bags, then things get a little tricky. The paper must first be re-pulped, which usually requires a chemical process involving compounds like hydrogen peroxide, sodium silicate and sodium hydroxide, which bleach and separate the pulp fibers.
Unlike paper bags, plastic bags are typically made from oil, a non-renewable resource. Plastics are a by-product of the oil-refining process, accounting for about four percent of oil production around the globe. Like paper, plastic can be recycled, but it isn't simple or easy. Recycling involves essentially re-melting the bags and re-casting the plastic.
According to a life cycle analysis, plastic bags create fewer airborne emissions and require less energy per 10,000 equivalent uses. But paper bags can hold more stuff per bag -- anywhere from 50 percent to 400 percent more, depending on how they're packed, since they hold more volume and are sturdier.
Ultimately, neither paper nor plastic bags are the best choice; choosing reusable canvas bags instead is the way to go. From an energy standpoint, canvas bags are 14 times better than plastic bags and 39 times better than paper bags!
What Are GMOs?
From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.
GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
Help Support GMO Labeling
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.
Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.
The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.
Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve
Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.
Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.