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Save Plastic: Bring canvas bags to the grocery store!

"Paper or plastic?" has become as commonplace and casual as "Have a nice day." But there's nothing casual about the use of plastic bags and paper bags for groceries in America. According to Worldwatch Institute, factories around the world manufactured 4 to 5 trillion plastic bags per year.  Although many of these bags are recyclable, each year Americans return only 0.6 percent of the 100 billion plastic bags they use and toss the rest.

Are paper bags better? Let's compare paper and plastic. Plastic bag production requires 40 percent less energy, results in 80 percent less solid and 94 percent less waterborne wastes, and generates 70 percent less air pollution than the manufacture of paper bags. Plastic bags also take up less room in landfills.

But many plastic bags are littered or fly away, where they clog up sewers and waterways, become entangled in vegetation and fences, and get caught in the throats of animals. Plastic bags are found in the stomachs of sea turtles and on the shores of remote islands. Once plastic bags are in the environment - whether in a landfill or polluting a lake - it can take hundreds of years for them to decompose, and they contribute toxins to the soil and water as they do.

And paper bags? Although they are more likely to be recycled (about 10 to 15 percent), the environmental impact is staggering. Beyond enormous energy costs, 14 million trees in 1999 alone were cut down to manufacture the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans.

On the other hand, canvas bags are strong and reliable, don't tip over, hold more than plastic bags, and are good for the environment. Take them shopping today!


Heather Mansfield started this pledge with a single signature, and now has 154 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.

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Heather Mansfield needs your help with “Save Plastic: Bring canvas bags to the grocery store!”. Join Heather and 153 supporters today.