We all are pretty much aware about the Go Green campaigns that are going around us every day and everywhere. Most of these go green campaigns tell to you to stop using the plastic bags; abolish the usage of plastic cups and all other plastic goodies. The alternatives they suggest you is using paper bags, paper cups and papers, papers, papers. But how good is this idea of using paper bags? Is it really a sensible call to use paper bags in place of plastic bags? If yes, what is the extent of this usage; how much should we be using the paper bags? These are a few questions that need to be answered and answered rather quickly.
Obviously it is a known fact that paper is a biodegradable substance and thus using paper bags is a prudent call when compared with the plastic bags. Here are the advantages of using paper bags and plastic bags:
Pros of Using Paper Bags
Paper is made up of tree wood which makes it a biodegradable substance. They can decompose very easily. Thus they are non polluting and are not harsh on the nature. They are easy to recycle and reuse. Paper bags don’t suffocate children easily. This makes it easier for you to handle. Even if you forget to clear your room and leave a few paper bags here and there, you can be assured that there would be no choking hazards whereas in the case of plastic bags this risk is very high and can prove fatal at times. Moreover, paper bags can be reused again and again for either carrying purposes or for the wrapping up of things to avoid settling of dust particles on it. But most importantly what makes paper bags the preferred choice is its eco-friendly nature and that is the sole purpose why these paper bags were introduced in the market.
Pros of Using Plastic Bags
Well, this does sound a little surprising and must have bamboozled many eyeballs but yes, there are pros of using plastic bags. Plastic bags are no doubt very strong and their durability is way more than the paper bags. The cost of production of a plastic bag is much lesser than the cost of production of a paper bag. They have handles in them which make the work of carrying much easier. In addition to this, imagine a situation when you have some perishable goods in your carry bag and it starts to rain very heavily. Quite obviously in such a situation, you will not be wishing to have a paper bag. Plastic bags are water proof and have water resistant capacities. They can be reused for a long period of time as they do not tear off easily nor do they decay easily. Another research shows that recycling of plastic bag requires 91 percent lesser energy as compared to recycling of a paper bag.
Having looked at the brighter side of both the things, it is now the turn for the disadvantages of the paper bags and also the plastic bags:
Cons of Using Paper Bags
Paper bags production results in deforestation. A lot of trees are cut down in the manufacturing process of paper. This is a much known fact. The cost of production of paper bags is more as compared to the cost of production of plastic bag. Heavy machinery is used for the production of paper and a great deal of energy is required for this production. There is always an issue with the reusability. Paper production requires gallons of freshwater and bleaches for cleaning the wood pulp. People generally have the tendency to use the paper bags just once and then they throw it away. We know that paper bags are eco friendly and get decomposed but it does take some time. Accumulation of paper wastes is always an issue. Also, there are problems with paper cuts. They tear off and rip apart at the times when you expect them to hold on. You cannot place a large amount of weight on the paper bags. They are not water proof and so their usability is always under the scanner.
Cons of Using Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are non biodegradable. It takes about hundreds of years for plastic to degrade. Plastic bags are highly toxic even if they break down into smaller units. Most of the water bodies have floating plastic bags on it which reduce the aesthetic value of water bodies. At times these plastic bags can result in choking of pumps which can create several other issues. It is not easy to create recycled goods from the plastic bags. They require large amount of petroleum for their manufacturing. And petroleum itself is a vanishing natural resource. It can be easily swallowed and always has a choking hazard which poses some serious threat to children and pets. They are highly polluting sources. The presence of sulphurous compounds makes it very toxic.
Having seen both the aspects of paper bags and plastic bags one could say that neither of them is optimum. But yes, whatever you end up using, try to reduce, reuse and recycle. Use paper and plastic bags in moderation to be a part of go green camp. Also, other alternative like cloth bags can be used for a longer period of time. Switch your preferences. Switch responsibly!