Everyone knows that plastic bags are bad for the environment. They take forever to decompose in landfills, they are rarely ever recycled, and they are killing animals all over the globe.
When the world finally realized what they were doing to the Earth by polluting it with thousands of plastic bags, a replacement was conceptualized. Let's use paper bags, they said. Paper can be recycled and is made of natural materials, so it must be better, right? Wrong.
Paper bags were used to replace plastic grocery bags, Halloween bags, wine bags at the liquor store, the list goes on and on. We all thought we were doing the planet a great justice. Unfortunately, paper bags are really not much better than the dreaded plastic bag.
What's Wrong with Paper Bags?
According to Awesci, producing paper bags involves cutting down 14 million trees every year all over the world. We are destroying the homes of thousands of animals and taking away a crucial amount of our biggest supply of oxygen to create these paper bags that are supposed to be "saving the world."
Awesci also tells us that "the production of paper bags creates 70% more air pollution than plastic bag production." Again, we think we are making leaps and bounds when we choose paper over plastic, but we are not.
Finally, recycling is typically the biggest argument for paper over plastic bag usage. Paper can be recycled, they cry. Although this is true, paper does not decompose fast enough to be considered meaningful, according to Awesci. So, really, paper is just as bad as plastic.
What's the answer to this severe problem if both plastic and paper bags are ruining the planet as we speak? Reusable bags. The benefits of reusable bags are enormous. A whole 700 disposable plastic bags have the same lifespan as one average reusable bag. Reusable bags are not taking up space in landfills, barely rotting away for hundreds of years.
Animals do not have the opportunity to choke on or get stuck in reusable bags because they are tucked away at home.
If after reading this you feel mortified, you are not alone. It is important that we, as a nation and a community of this beautiful planet, do everything we can to protect the Earth. But if we don't know how, we're never going to make progress. Remember these benefits of reusable bags the next time you go to the grocery store.