Environmental News


It’s one of the eternal questions, ‘paper or plastic?’ They’re both recyclable, but only paper bags come from a renewable resource. And since only 1% of all the plastic bags on earth are actually recycled, some cities and even one national company are wondering why we need plastic bags at all…

Americans send around 100 billion plastic bags to landfills every year, where they’re supposed to be compacted by bulldozers. That is, unless they catch the wind and transform into mini parachutes that litter tree and fence lines along landfills. Besides that, they clog storm drains, and eventually end up in waterways and oceans, where fish mistake them for jellyfish.

The solution, it would seem, is to recycle them, but many shoppers seem to think that’s too much of a hassle.

“You unload your groceries and you go home and throw them away. That’s what I do with them.” shopper Mary Jo Wickliffe commented.

Since Wickliffe shops at the organic market Whole Foods she says she’s been doing less of that. Because the chain recently bagged the plastic.

Cleveland Store Manager Chery Wiseman says to stop offering plastic bags is a decision that goes against business school 101.

“It costs us more money to buy our paper recyclable bags, but we feel that’s worth it to keep the plastics out.”

Cities are beginning to ban plastic bags as well, San Fransisco was the first to do so. New York City, Annapolis, Maryland, New Haven, Connecticut, Santa Monica, and Portland, are looking to shun plastic too.

For some, however, choosing paper over plastic isn’t enough. A few people are starting to shop with reusable cloth bags. But the concept of bringing their own bags to the store is still foreign to some shoppers.

Whether it’s paper, plastic, or cloth, each can be environmentally-friendly in their own way, but none are if we keep throwin them away. 

Story courtesey of The Environment Report

from the University of Michigan and Michigan Public Radio

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About Michigan Nature Association

The Michigan Nature Association is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to preserving Michigan’s natural heritage since 1952. MNA protects more than 10,000 acres of land in over 170 nature sanctuaries throughout the state of Michigan, from the tip of Keweenaw in the Upper Peninsula to the Indiana/Ohio border.