Austin Environmental: Paper or Plastic? Why the Austin Plastic Bag Ban Is Bad for the Environment

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Recently, Austin passed legislation to ban stores from using plastic bags. The legislation was intended to encourage consumers to use reusable bags for shopping. However, there was a bit of a loop hole – consumers could still purchase paper bags from most stores.

And some experts say that paper bags are actually worse for the environment than plastic…

David Tyler, a chemistry professor at the University of Oregon, has been researching the effects paper versus plastic has on the environment.

He points out in a recent interview in Cascade magazine (read the entire interview here), that the production of plastic bags produces less greenhouse gases than the production of paper bags and the process of producing plastic bags uses less water and fewer chemicals.

He even goes as far as to say, “if the most important environmental impact you wanted to alleviate was global warming, then you would go with plastic.”

This is where things get murky. What if you don’t think global warming is the most important environmental problem? What if you think the amount of trash in landfills is a bigger problem?

See while plastic may produce less greenhouse gases, it’s also non-biodegradable. That means all the plastic in our landfills will continue to stay there.

This is why the city of Austin decided to ban plastics, but still allow consumers to pay for a paper bag.

So what do you think? Given these facts, do you think plastic bags should be banned?

Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.


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