Plastic or Paper: Which is Friendlier to the Environment?

Plastic shopping bags, plastic market or grocery bags are a type of shopping bag made from different kinds of plastic which are common worldwide. These bags are once called single-use bags, referring to carrier of items from market/store to the house. Ano

PLASTIC OR PAPER: WHICH IS FRIENDLY TO THE ENVIRONMENT?

Plastic shopping bags, plastic market or grocery bags are a type of shopping bag made from different kinds of plastic which are common worldwide. These bags are once called single-use bags, referring to carrier of items from market/store to the house. Another uses are for storage and for trash is very common, but modern plastic bags are increasingly biodegradable and recyclable. 

Short History

The US and European countries patent application regarding the production of plastic shopping bags dates back to the early as 1950s. These also refer to the complex structure with handles fixed to the bag in another manufacturing process. The new lightweight plastic bag is the invention of chemist form Sweden Sten Gustaf Thulin. He developed the idea for forming a single piece bag by folding, dir-cutting and adhering a flat tube of plastic in the early 1960s. Thulin made it for a packaging company Celloplast of Norrkoping, Sweden. His design produced a simple but strong bag with a heavy load carrying capacity and was patented by Celloplast in 1965 worldwide.

The F&H is a paper bag and the “Yvonne” is a plastic bag

Plastic Ban Implementation

MANILA, Philippines (April 5, 2012) - Senator Loren Legarda proposed a total ban on the use of plastic bags in the country to avoid indiscriminate waste habits and prevent environmental troubles. She filed a bill which prohibits chain of stores, supermarkets, groceries, department stores and retail stores including wet and dry markets from using non-degradable plastic bags. Under the bill include penalties and suspension of business permits for continuous offenses.

The lady senator cites a report from the US Environmental Protection Agency that about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide yearly. A near 200 different marine species die due to indigestion and dying from plastic bags from a 2005 report by the World Wildlife Fund.

"Plastic bags end up as litter as it makes its way to landfills, drainages and bodies of water, taking decades to decompose and damaging marine life when dumped into the sea. This issue of pollution is further aggravated by natural hazards, which have become unpredictable due to climate change," Senator Legarda stated.

The strong typhoon “Ondoy” in 2009 as experienced showed a clear example that plastic bags severely worsened the flooding in Metro Manila that made post-cleanup drive very difficult.

MUNTINLUPA CITY in Metro Manila also prohibited the use of plastic bags in all commercial establishments within the city. The de-clogging and cleanup drive in all drainage canals within the city is a successful drive. An alternative bag for plastic bags is being introduced in all commercial establishments in the city and nationwide.

Alternative Bag - A washable cloth bag

Environmental groups asked local government units in Metro Manila including CALABARZON ( Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon province) to help control plastic pollution and promote ecological practices and proper disposal among their constituents.

EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Greenpeace Southeast Asia made a joint statement and project following the move of the Laguna Lake Development Authority to free the country’s foremost freshwater of plastic garbage. Data submitted in 2009 stated that plastic bags make up 25% of the solid waste in polluting Laguna Lake. Progressive practices and measures such as zero waste and clean production to prevent and lessens garbage and chemical pollution has been taken up by the Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines, last year of November, business establishments are now required to follow the local government’s rule on the ban on the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam as packaging in the city. According to the ordinance, which has been propagated to the public through the city’s Public Information Office, the use and storage of Styrofoam as containers for food and other products shall now be illegal. It is aloso prohibited to use plastic bags on dry goods as first packaging materials while on wet goods, commercial establishments shall only use plastic bags as primary packaging materials only.

LEGAZPI CITY, March 1, Philippines, starting the month of June, commercial establishments across the region would be prohibited to use plastic bags, Styrofoam and other synthetic materials for goods sold to the public.

  Plastic bags ready for disposal

The Plastic Industry

The prohibition of plastic has increased the use of paper, making bigger environmental issues including the cutting of more trees, more use of water and power for its production compared to plastic. This is according to the plastic industry.

Mr. Crispian Lao, spokesman of the plastic industry said in a press conference, “A ton of paper needs to cut 17 full grown trees; none is cut for plastic. One supermarket bag consumes one gallon of tap water, which is all needed to produce 116 plastic bags. Paper production uses five times more energy than a comparable plastic bag.”

The group of plastic industry is asking for a scientific and reasonable approach to plastic, which they said demonized to the point that people now wrongly and misguidedly believe that paper is friendlier to the environment.  

Mr. Lao explained that it is not. This is the reason why developed countries are taking a balanced approached. People and consumers are given a choice between plastic and paper because the two are needed having their pros and cons.

Lao’s group philosophically stated that plastic ban is not the solution to flooding. The floods brought by the tropical storm, “Ondoy”, “Sendong” and others were caused not by plastic but mainly by global warming which generated more violent untimely typhoons. Even assuming that plastic bags and products were to be blamed for floods and blockage of canals, the solution is not a ban on plastic but in changing of people’s way of disposing waste. Discipline to wastes disposal is the key. With the banning of plastic products, the local governments are in effect making global warming worse because additional paper consumption means fewer trees and therefore more carbon dioxide in the air, less water to use and more power to generate which produces more greenhouse gas.

Choose, plastic bags or paper bags?

23 comments

Add a comment

0 answers +0 votes
Post comment Cancel
Francois Hagnere
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Jul 30, 2012
Sy Kravitz
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 30, 2012
Jessie Agudo
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 30, 2012
Francina Marie Parks
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 26, 2012
Ron Siojo
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 25, 2012
David Guion
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 23, 2012
Ron Siojo
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 22, 2012
Francois Hagnere
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 22, 2012
Gerard
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 21, 2012
Ron Siojo
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 20, 2012
Graciela Sholander
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 20, 2012
Ron Siojo
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Rama lingam
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
deepblue
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Beverly Anne Sanchez
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
JennyHeart
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Sandy James
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Kaleidoscope Acres
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
M 5446
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Guimo Pantuhan
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Chris Stonecipher
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Roberta Baxter
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Mar 19, 2012