Archive for April, 2010
To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business. – J. Paul Getty
Recently I have been getting a lot of calls from my customers saying they have to change from plastic to paper bags to be more Eco Friendly. Now after being in this industry for over 12 years I know that paper really isn’t more Eco Friendly than plastic. Plastic is actually better for the environment than paper. I did a little research and found this article below written by the Eco Geek. I think he sums it up beautifully in this quick article about Whole Foods Decision to change from plastic to paper.
Whole Foods, which, for those of you who don’t have one, is the world’s largest eco-healthy food store, has just promised to completely stop using plastic bags. This is a great Eco Friendly gesture, but it turns out that there reasoning is wrong.
I decided to do a little research, and it turns out, the greenest thing about paper bags is the way people perceive them. Because they seem more natural, people think they’re better for the environment. Well, it turns out that they are wrong
Whole Foods’ moving over to 100% recycled paper is actually going to be worse for the environment.
Creating recycled paper, it turns out, is a much more energy-intensive process than creating plastic bags. That’s why grocery stores prefer you take the plastic. Plastic is also much easier to ship, as it takes up way less space in packing, and they weigh far less per item of shopping you take home with you. And while we might worry that all that plastic is coming from foreign oil, the amazing thing is that even with all the billions of plastic bags we use every year, they constitute about 0.03% of our oil use in the U.S.. The US has many more pressing problems to worry about.
There is one way in which paper bags win out: They don’t harm wildlife as much. But if you think you can keep a handle on your bags, and not leave them to get blown into the ocean, then you’re better with plastic than with paper.
I’m not sure what Whole Foods is thinking…maybe they’re really concerned about wildlife. Maybe they think people are more likely to re-use plastic bags. Maybe this is just the first step in getting people to switch over completely to reusable bags.
In any case, a greener measure would be to start charging people for the energy (and carbon) needed to produce disposable bags. That would give people a real incentive to (finally) stop using disposable bags.