Say No To Plastic Bags : Part II

By First Posted: Nov 27, 2007 Tue 11:30 AM Updated: Dec 7, 2007 Fri 12:26 AM

Most Indians have heard of the terms Satyug, Kalyug and Pralay. Praylay is the Indian name for doomsday. Almost all cultures have a concept of doomsday, a day when everything would come to an end. Probably the day will really come. The way humans are violating all laws of nature and are destroying their own natural habitat, the doomsday or Pralay cannot be really far.

Pollution, global warming, ecological imbalance, destruction of many life forms etc are phenomenon that exist and have to be dealt with. Is there anything you can do to contribute? Yes, there are many things you and everybody else can do to slow down the process of destruction. Saying No to plastic bags is one of them.

In our previous article in this series we discussed why we should say no to plastic bags. In this article we will talk about alternatives. There are a few alternatives to plastic bags. Paper Bag is one alternative that is tried by many people.

Are Paper Bags Any Better?

Paper bags are better than plastic bags in some respects. For instance, almost 20% of paper bags get recycled, as opposed to only 1% of the plastic ones. Similarly, paper bags take lesser time to biodegrade. Paper bags are made from wood, which is actually a renewable source of energy. On the other hand, plastic bags are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable source of energy. From these arguments, many environment enthusiasts derive the conclusion that using paper bags is a great idea.

But unfortunately its not. Paper bags make a much more contribution to the level of air and water pollution than plastic ones. Paper bags require much more landfill space. 2000 plastic bags roughly weigh around 15 kg, while the same number of paper bags would weigh almost 140 kg. Though paper bags can biodegrade much faster than plastic ones, usually they dont get to do this. Its because when deposited into the landfill, paper bags lose all contact with air, light and water. This almost stops the process of biodegradation. So as it turns out, paper bags are not that great an idea either.

Plastic bags are bad for the environment. Paper bas arent an alternative really. So what can you use to carry home our groceries? The answer is simple really. Buy a few jute or cloth bags. These bags are made from renewable sources of energy and can be reused over and over. They come in pretty designs and you can even buy stylish ones to make a style statement. Not only will you be doing your bit for saving the environment, but youll also be motivating some other people to follow suit.

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