The Weight of Paper and Plastic

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 8:45 PM

We all have heard the hype about recycling, how it is great for the environment, and how un-recycled grocery bags can end up in landfills or in bodies of water. Yet, when most people get home from the grocery store they do not recycle the bag they had just used because, well, it’s just one bag. What harm could just one bag do? The lesser discussed aspect of the paper vs plastic debate is the actual impact that one grocery bag can have on the environment. To put things in perspective, 1,000 small plastic bags weigh 11 pounds, 1,000 medium plastic bags weigh 24 pounds, and 1,000 large plastic bags weigh 38.8 pounds. 1,000 paper bags weigh 140 pounds and take up considerably more room than plastic bags. A stack of 2,000 paper bags stands about seven feet high, and a stack of 2,000 plastic bags measures just over 7 inches. For a family who goes shopping 3 times per week and uses about 6 shopping bags each trip to the store, you will have used about 1,000 bags in one year. If you use paper bags, you will have racked up 140 pounds worth of trash in a landfill that stands 3.5 feet high. If you use large plastic bags, you will have contributed 38.8 pounds worth of plastic to a landfill which stands about 3.5 inches high. If you think about the amount of waste just you and your family have contributed, it’s mind-boggling. Factor in, say, 1,000 families in your neighborhood and you can begin to see how serious not recycling can be, and how much space the waste we produce from grocery bags alone takes up.

http://www.ecoproducts.com/food_services/bags/food_service_grocery_bags_order.htm
http://www.tn.gov/environment/tn_consv/archive/paperplastic.pdf

  • Share:

You Might Also Like

0 comments