Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Inconvenient Bag


It's manufactured in China, shipped thousands of miles overseas, made with plastic and could take years to decompose. It's also the hot "green" giveaway of the moment: the reusable shopping bag.

The bags usually are printed with environmental slogans as well as corporate logos and pitched as earth-friendly substitutes for the billions of disposable plastic bags that wind up in landfills every year. Home Depot distributed 500,000 free reusable shopping bags last April on Earth Day, and Wal-Mart gave away one million. One line of bags features tags that read, "Saving the World One Bag at a Time."

But well-meaning companies and consumers are finding that shopping bags, like biofuels, are another area where it's complicated to go green. "If you don't reuse them, you're actually worse off by taking one of them," says Bob Lilienfeld, author of the Use Less Stuff Report, an online newsletter about waste prevention. And because many of the bags are made from heavier material, they're also likely to sit longer in landfills than their thinner, disposable cousins, according to Ned Thomas, who heads the department of material science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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2 comments:

Sunshine4Life said...

that should be our shoppings bags at the market instead of those plastics.

it's been awhile since my last visit, mar. :)

am glad i dropped by today. see ya!

donya michy said...

i disagree with what they said that it will cause more issues because the ones the some local markets are giving out are made in cloth so you really can use them again