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Thread: Paper or Plastic? What would you choose?

  1. #1 Paper or Plastic? What would you choose? 
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    Yes, this is a question which we usaully see and is not at all rare. Some have their opinions regarding this matter and that's exactly what I need from you guys; what would you choose, paper or plastic? (when used as shopping bags, grocercy bags, etc..)

    Thanks!


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I prefer cotton.

    http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=C...%7C33578617322


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  4. #3  
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    Never been asked. Travelled many places. Are people really often asked this question? perhaps its a regional thing. I usually have my cloth bag. However, up here only ever see plastic.
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  5. #4  
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  6. #5  
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    The irony is that everyone now has a dozen cloth bags in their coset...trunk of car...used for everything but groceries.We'll need an 'alternative' to all the cloth bags produced and cluttering up the world.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fossilborealis View Post
    The irony is that everyone now has a dozen cloth bags in their coset...trunk of car...used for everything but groceries.We'll need an 'alternative' to all the cloth bags produced and cluttering up the world.
    Must be a Canada thing. I'm near Seattle and hardly anyone uses them for anything. And considering they sell them for a couple bucks apiece, compared to free packaging you still get at nearly every store, most people don't buy them.

    My wife purchased a couple; we usually forget them when we go shopping.
    --
    As for paper versus plastic, I don't really care. Plastic is more convenient when hauling multiple bags, and less subject to breaking in Seattle's wet climate. Neither is very friendly to the environment.
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  8. #7  
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    I've never bought a recycle bag. Our local thrift store has a big box of them. I just grab one when I need it. Most have some logo, etc. on them. I think most cloth bags are promo items given away by companies, conferences, events, and so on. I have one that says 'Heritage Fun Run' and one 'Theatre Calgary Artsfest'. Another is 'Union Pacific'...no idea where I got it as I never hopped a train in the USA..
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  9. #8  
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    We get the plastic bags which we save and my wife takes them somewhere for recycling after we accumulate a big bag of bags.

    Sam's Club doesn't supply any bags at all, but we manage to get the stuff home. We've never taken a cloth bag to Sam's Club, we just throw the stuff loose in the trunk of the car and get it into the house somehow or other.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fossilborealis View Post
    I've never bought a recycle bag. Our local thrift store has a big box of them. I just grab one when I need it. Most have some logo, etc. on them. I think most cloth bags are promo items given away by companies, conferences, events, and so on. I have one that says 'Heritage Fun Run' and one 'Theatre Calgary Artsfest'. Another is 'Union Pacific'...no idea where I got it as I never hopped a train in the USA..
    I'm not really sure you mean by recycle bag versus cloth bag. The ones we have are some sort of nylon.
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  11. #10  
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    I'm sure there are reusable bags made of just about everything. Canvas, nylon, cotton, plastic, etc.

    Harold, One store in our area charges a 5 cents a bag...I just stuff my pockets and do like you just toss everything in the trunk. Get good at balancing stuff. I haven't used a shopping cart in years...never get more items than can go through an express line.
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  12. #11  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Like many others, I carry my own bags most of the time, fold flat hard-bottomed, stiff sided totes with handles sold by Loblaws. They come in medium and large and you can practically get a hind quarter of beef in the large size, lol. If you load that puppy with cans and other heavy items, the bag will hold but your back might not. Some items, such as meat, are usually wrapped complimentarily in plastic to prevent leakage on to other products. Those plastic bags get reused as liners in wastebaskets which saves me needing to buy plastic liners for that purpose.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    We get the plastic bags which we save and my wife takes them somewhere for recycling after we accumulate a big bag of bags.

    Sam's Club doesn't supply any bags at all, but we manage to get the stuff home. We've never taken a cloth bag to Sam's Club, we just throw the stuff loose in the trunk of the car and get it into the house somehow or other.
    Somewhere in every household there is a plastic bag filled with other plastic bags.
    "Cultivated leisure is the aim of man."
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  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    I use a variety of reusable cotton/cloth bag that I keep in the car.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Sophomore Hymenophyllum's Avatar
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    Paper, becuse you can always write your notes on it.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Where I live, we have a general store that accepts used plastic bags and re-uses them to pack the goods people buy from them.

    Yes, we have a big plastic bag stuffed with supermarket plastic bags. When it is full, I take it to the general store and they are very happy to accept it.
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  17. #16  
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    I like cotton string bags (not always easy to source but they last for years) but we also use reusable insulated bags, to keep stuff from warming or thawing, the sort that most supermarkets sell around herel; I'm not convinced there is much that is environmentally benign - let alone 'friendly' - about them. More reuses, but ultimately I suspect not many will be recycled, and recycling is, with a few exceptions, downcycling that sees some of the paper and plastics stream remade at lesser quality once or maybe twice before going into landfill - if it wasn't just burned or left to roam free with it's litter mates.

    Leaving aside the outright wastefulness that has become so pervasive and normal in modern consumer economies that those advocating the elimination of excess packaging comes across as interfering extremists - which is 'least bad' in environmental terms between paper and plastic?

    It seems like it's a hard question to answer - paper could be coming from well managed, sustainable forestry - or not. The standards for accredited sustainable forestry, when paper pulp is sourced from them, are not without controversy. Remnant natural forests are often bulldozed and burned to make way for plantations that go on to claim to be environmentally friendly. Paper and cardboards are compostable and, whilst unsightly, are going to break down rapidly in the natural environment (moist climates more so than dry) and ought to be free of toxic residues when they do. But more and more 'plastics' are made of organic materials that also break down quickly and relatively benignly. Not that they, like paper, can't be a problem before they break down, and the ones that don't can remain a problem for a long time.

    Of all the approaches to the problems of waste, I found McDonough and Brannagh's "waste equals food" to be the most compelling; if fast food packaging is a litter problem, make it out of benign materials that break down into food for the environment. Actually include stuff to make it more edible to the organisms that do the breaking down. Add some fertilisers into them so it's not a load on them - cardboards and paper can for example, use soil nitrogen to break down; so include some in the paper. It's even possible to include locally desirable plant seeds, mimicking the 'packaging' of plant seeds in fruits, to be dropped and forgotten, guilt free.

    McD and B aren't all theory and good ideas that never get used; they have done some very large scale projects, including successfully turning around a textile factory that was facing rising, economically ruinous waste disposal costs; the use of natural fabrics and non-toxic dyes and bleaches ended up eliminating a huge toxic waste expense without reducing quality. They could sell cloth remnants and lint as mulch and compostable materials, that previously needed to be included and payed for in the toxic waste stream. Biological wastes should become food for something else, and technological wastes should become the raw materials of new products, at equivalent levels of quality; actual recycling that endlessly reuses valuable materials instead of, at best, reusing them at lesser quality a few times before going into land fill.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    It may be worth noting that plastic is not for ever. In landfill, it has been estimated that the average plastic bag takes about 200 years to fully deteriorate. So, I am not so worried about plastic bags that make it to landfill. The ones that do the harm are the ones dumped by irresponsible people where they can wash into the sea, or lodge in bushes.
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