Published On: Sun, Jul 29th, 2018

Paper or Plastic? The Benefits of Plastic Bags over Paper Bags

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The rise of plastic bags in retail and grocery stores was initially heralded by environmentalists as plastic grocery bags require 40-70 percent less energy to manufacture and take up less space on trucks and in landfills. Also, statistics on plastic bag recycling ( show that 90% of Americans reuse their plastic bags repurposing them as lunch bags, trash can liners, or for the removal of pet waste. Most plastic grocery bags are also recyclable. Anything with a number two or four on them can be recycled in the U.S. at participating centers and reused into building and construction products or new plastic bags. Commonly recycled plastics include:

Paper or Plastic. The Benefits of Plastic Bags over Paper Bags

furniture wrap
plastic cereal liner bags
paper towel/toilet paper wrappings
fruit/vegetable bags
plastic bags surrounding new electronics

Plastics excluded from recycling in the U.S. include but are not limited to the following:

cling wrap
prepackaged food bags (such as frozen food bags)
anything with excessive paint or glue

The Trouble with Recycling HDPE

While people do tend to reuse their plastic bags, after one more use, it finds it’s way to a landfill more often than a recycling center. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that one fifth of all waste in landfills is plastic. Not until recent years has the awareness been raised and more pressure put on stores to provide plastic bag recycling.

The Infrequency of Plastic Bag Recycling

The scarcity of recycling drops where people can leave bags is largely a result of the inferior amount of recycling plants willing to accept HDPE plastics. Due to HDPE’s durability and strength, these plastic bags constantly get caught in the recycling machines, causing a halt in progress and costly repairs. Not only do many places not accept these for recycling, but also the general public is not accustomed to returning their bags and do not notice the bag returns when they pass them.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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