Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Contrary to Popular Opinion...

...Plastic Bags May be Better for the Environment than paper or reusable cotton
A draft report for the Environment Agency showed that the production of high density polythene (HDPE) bags used by shops had less impact on the climate than cotton or paper bags.

The report was commissioned in 2005 and due to be published in 2007, but has still not been released.

The findings suggest that, in order to balance out the impact of each lightweight plastic bag, consumers would have to use the same cotton bag almost 200 times, or use paper bags at least three times.

It found that an HDPE plastic bag would have a baseline global warming potential of 1.57 kg Co2 equivalent, falling to 1.4 kg Co2e if re-used once, the same as a paper bag used four times (1.38 kg Co2e).

A cotton bag would have to be re-used 171 times to emit a similar level, 1.57 kg Co2e.
Georgia may be able to get 171 or more uses out of her reusable bags, but at once a week it will take, oh, let's see, at least four years, assuming she uses all of them every week, which she does not.  Call it 5 years.

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