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Paper or Plastic?

The downtown Bloomingfoods (our local food co-op) took the choice away from us a while back, offering only paper -- or sometimes plastics that someone's donated for re-use. I'm not sure why this branch only; the other two still have plastic, pretty nice ones too (big and strong-seeming.) At least twice I've had the handle on the paper ones rip off just as I got home. Besides the threat that it could have ripped earlier, leaving me in a pickle, it also means I can't re-use the damn things.

Not, admittedly, that I'd really re-use it for much anyway... plastic bags turn into garbage bags (haven't bought any in nearly a decade) water-resistant wraps for electronics and papers when it's raining and I'm not confident of my backpack's waterproofness, and dirty-laundry storage when I travel. Paper mostly gets thrown out. BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN IT FAILS AT BEING A BAG.

And god forbid I should ever go shopping in the rain. I walk, paper'd be useless.

In California I got paper a lot more by choice... but then, my bike there had folding baskets that were just the right size for standard paper bags, so I could fill up two bags at Trader Joe's and trundle back. That bike got abandoned in LA though, and when I bought my current one the store didn't have those baskets, did have smaller fixed size ones, and I just get those... I do miss the folding ones, as I try to stuff a bunch of plastic bags into these.

Unrelatedly, FYI both Livejournal and Dreamwidth support secure logins via HTTPS, but not by default; you have to make sure to get a secure link, or type in 'https://www.livejournal.com/' by hand or bookmark. I don't think the little login button that shows up on top when your cookie expires is secure.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Another point about plastic. It comes from oil, and till they stop digging up the oil, the oil dug will be either burnt as fuel, getting the greenhouse gases into the air -- or used as plastic, getting the greenhouse gases buried back in the landfill where they belong.
Feb. 9th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Hi? That was fast...

says bags mostly come from natural gas, actually, perhaps a more natural feedstock for polyethylene. And "natural gas" mostly means methane, which has lots of biogenic sources. [Though Wikipedia suggests ethene does come mostly from oil cracking.] It also says paper bags take 50x the water to produce, and that plastic grocery bags go back to 1977. Huh, younger than me. (But wikipedia says 1965, with the patent overturned in 1977. Okay, two facts disputed, that's a bad sign.)

91% less energy to recycle plastic, when people bother.
Though the BTU figures look more like 99% less energy.

Reusable bags would be better, but no, I don't remember them nor carry them around casually, and a lot of my shopping is as I pass the store.

Edited at 2010-02-09 02:08 am (UTC)
Feb. 9th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
When we were traveling in India, a guesthouse manager in Goa was telling us that paper is infinitely better because at least the cows can eat them! Though we don't generally have wandering livestock here in the US, toddlers are almost the same though and I creuse the paper for art projects for my kid.

I actually take my own reusable bags mostly now, but you are right - not as convenient for unexpected stops: I have to remember to put them back to the car when I'm done. The plastic bags though would just breed in the closet and I got tired of feeling guilty about throwing away.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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