Paper or Plastic?

@snam23 (3161)
United States
February 27, 2009 9:23am CST
I remember when I used to go to the grocery store with my mom, the guy at the register would always ask us, "Paper or plastic, ma'am?" (Ma'am because he always asked my mother since I was still a kid back then.) "Plastic" my mom would tell him. Then he would use his packaging skills to bag all of our groceries just as my mom received the receipt. Which do you prefer, paper or plastic? And why?
6 people like this
44 responses
@zweeb82 (5727)
• Malaysia
28 Feb 09
Honestly, whichever that will do the work is fine with me, may it be plastic bag or paper bag as I don't have any special preference
1 person likes this
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
None at all? That is very interesting. Which one do you usually use?
1 person likes this
@zweeb82 (5727)
• Malaysia
1 Mar 09
The departmental stores here normally just provide plastic bags anyway, hahaha
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Same here also. Sometimes we don't even get a bag at the cheap stores!
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
27 Feb 09
I prefer plastic even though it's not environmentally friendly because I'm the one who has to haul the groceries from the driveway into the house. I can't carry as many paper bags as I can with the plastic ones. Down here in my area they don't offer paper bags at any of the stores I shop at anyway. A good alternative would be a paper bag with a handle like the plastic ones have. Then I'd choose paper!
1 person likes this
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
27 Feb 09
I don't really see how paper is any environmentally friendlier than plastic so I don't blame you on that part. Paper bags are very hard to carry without handles or someone to help you carry them into the house. I always wondered why paper bags don't have handles. I guess we have to hold it with our arms under it so it doesn't rip.
• United States
7 May 09
I work in a grocery store and we have handled paper bags. :D
• United States
27 Feb 09
Well i think that plastic are better because the paper are too stiff and kind of awkward... But usually they don't give a choice anyways. So it works out :)
1 person likes this
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
27 Feb 09
That's too bad that you don't get a choice. We always got a choice and only chose paper once because I needed the paper bag for an art project. I agree with you and prefer plastic for the reasons you have said but also it is easier to carry.
• United States
27 Feb 09
so true.
@aisaellis22 (6449)
• United States
2 Mar 09
Hello snam23! I would probably use paper. It's amazing that you can actually choose there whether paper or plastic because here, they will automatically pack it with plastic. I will choose paper because we have so many plastics at home that I don't even know how to dispose it. Maybe I can do many things with paper.
1 person likes this
@zweeb82 (5727)
• Malaysia
23 Mar 09
Do you not use your plastic bags to line your rubbish bins?
• China
28 Feb 09
If i could choose ,i prefer paper if it's as strong as the plastic.The reason is obvious,paper is more environmentally friendly than plastic.You should be happy because you have another choice besides plastic.In China,my motherland ,there are no paper bags available in the grocery store,only plastic ones.However,now the government implements a new policy ,that is ,all the plastic bags supplied in the grocery ,supermarket and so on requires extra money.So we are encouraged to take a cloth bag with us when we want to go shopping and it does works.From then on ,the consumption of plastic bags drops sharp.It may be inconvenient,but anyway ,it protects the environment,i approve.
1 person likes this
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Actually, I do not have a choice because I have moved since this happened in the US. That is very interesting how India has banned plastic bags but China only has plastic ones. We also have only plastic ones for groceries but most people actually use cloth bags for groceries as we are charged for plastic bags. I think with the current environmental situation, we should put aside our differences and inconveniences and take action in saving the environment and that is exactly what you are doing. Happy mylotting!
@sadiq007 (334)
• India
27 Feb 09
Hi friend, I think paper is best choice....as plastic is a harmful for environment.... So save environment by using paper instead of plastic. Wish u happy green life.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
27 Feb 09
Yes, plastic is harmful to the environment but we are cutting down thousands of trees for paper bags too. I think we should go with a reusable type of bags. Happy mylotting! P.S. I'm glad a lot of people are thinking about the environment and not just their own needs and wants.
• Canada
27 Feb 09
That is a good question. Here where I live in supermarkets are all trying to go with those equal friendly reusable bags. It's funny that trying to do is switch over to these bags but yet they charge 99ยข for each bag! I simply prefer the good ol plastic bags
1 person likes this
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
27 Feb 09
That is interesting. I guess they are reusable, they charge you because they expect you to bring them back next time. We do a similar thing here. They charge you for a plastic bag but pay you to bring them back! Very interesting and kind of ironic, don't you think?
@MaryLynn321 (2680)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I will use both, but I prefer the paper, as paper is more environmental friendly, and also can be burned in a burning barrel. Plastic leaves an odor when being burned. Also paper will break down at a garbage dump, and plastic does not break down.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I have found that many people prefer paper because it is environmentally friendly. On the other hand, many people prefer plastic because they can reuse it around they house. I think more people should recycle and reuse plastic bags. Happy mylotting and thanks for sharing your knowledge and opinion with us!
• United States
28 Feb 09
You are very welcome. I reuse the paper ones around the house. The are great to use for recycling.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Another point for paper. I guess paper is more environmentally friendly than plastic but does not offer the same ease of use.
@Yori88 (1468)
• Philippines
8 May 09
No grocery store here in Philippines offer paper for groceries. Paper bags are only used in boutiques and clothing stores. Some also use paper bags but they are very rare. Even in some food chains they never use paper for packaging. If I were to choose of course I want paper more because it is environment friendly. But problem is they do not offer or use that. I want a paper bag that is strong and can hold heavy objects.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
9 May 09
That is too bad as I've learned that plastic is not very environmentally friendly because it is not biodegradable. Maybe you should you use cloth bags. I don't know where they sell them in the US or Philippines, but you can use other bags like old backpacks or something or even make your own.
@rsa101 (13337)
• Philippines
8 May 09
Seldom do I see or i do not see them in many stores around. Most are pretty happy witht he plastic being very versatile and handy. Paper bags are sometimes bulky since you could not easily fold it while a plastic when not in use could just be made smaller and convenient. With the strength that a plastic have you can always depend on it especially when you get it wet paper would be at a disadvantage. Although to date both are being discourage from being used because of environmental reasons. Plastic being not easily biodegradable would risk our environment to deteriorate while paper bags being biodegradable seems to increase deforestation since they are primarily wood base. There is a new wave being introduced today and that is the clothe bags. This is encourage because it is reusable and durable as plastic. But so far I have only seen a few using this method.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
9 May 09
I have to disagree. Paper bags are like like cardboard boxes and are made from rectangles, making them easier to fold and store. But the other things you have stated are very true. I think many people are trying to use the new methods as it is also cheaper in some ways as well.
@thorgrym (677)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Neither! I have re-usable bags that are stronger and hold more stuff than either paper or plastic bags. We use them for all of our shopping. Neither paper nor plastic are truly environmentally sound choices, though of the two, paper is the better choice. Disposed of properly, plastic can be recycled but that process also uses resources that are best conserved if possible. Paper is biodegradable while plastic is not. What really bothers me, though, is when I see paper bags that are first put into the plastic bags! I understand that you get the best of both worlds, strength and convenience of handles, but what a WASTE! Sure, the stores charge $0.99 for the re-usable bags, but you only need to buy them once. Our local store also gives $0.05 credit on our final bill for each bag that we re-use. So, 20 shopping trips pay us back for the bags we bought.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Like you, we also have reusable bags that are much more environmentally friendly than both plastic and paper. Paper requires cutting down trees and plastic is harder to dispose although it has several ways to be reused. That really is a waste! It is so unnecessary! At least you have the option of buying them, we get them from a variety of places, free of course, but they are not always meant to be used as shopping bags. I think it is definitely worth the dollar to help save the environment. We are charged for plastic bags but similarly, we can 'sell' them back to the store.
@kaush666 (53)
• India
28 Feb 09
Well in the place where I am living currently, we are not given options. We are given only plastic bags. I would prefer plastic bags (even though I am concerned about the environment) because they are much lighter than the paper bags and are easier to carry around. But, if I were to take the environmental factor into consideration I would prefer the paper bags. But plastic bags have slight edge over them. It is like 50-50 preference. Cheers and Luck !!
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
The same is true for where I am living too. This discussion is based on a childhood memory when I lived in the US and was offered both options. I'm glad you stated that you are concerned about the environment but still prefer plastic. I think sometimes it is hard to always be environmentally friendly. Both have their pros and cons so I agree with you, its up to your personal preference. Happy mylotting!
@shaggin (29664)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Most stores anymore don't even offer paper bags most only offer plastic bags. We don't have recycling in our area so we have to bag up our garbage and put it in garbage cans on the curb once a week. Last night was garbage night here but my husband was to tired to put out the cans. He fell asleep right after work. I wish we did have recycling options here as I hate harming the environment. We have average size garbage pails in our house in various rooms that the regular size grocery bags fit perfect in. When they are full I tie a knot in the handles and throw it out into the garbage cans outside. It saves on buying big garbage bags as well.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
When I was younger and went to the grocery store with my mom, we were offered both options. Things have changed I guess. That is too bad that you don't have recycling in your area. You and other people considered about harming the environment should form a organization to bring recycling to your area! But that is a good way to compromise for now, by not using big garbage bags.
@haqmb05 (176)
• India
28 Feb 09
i like plastic, because it can be recycle easily.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Yes, there are many ways to reuse plastic bags. Happy mylotting!
@razcal2267 (15577)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I use the recyclable bags when shopping for the most part now. When I forget then or need to use store bags because I don't have enough of the recycle ones I use plastic. We have a number of small garbage cans around the house and they are the perfect size
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
My family also uses cloth bags instead of paying for plastic ones at the store and we are not offered the "greener" option of paper bags. That is good that you use recyclable because you are just one more person trying to help save the planet. Happy mylotting!
@kquiming (2999)
• Philippines
28 Feb 09
plastic. because i always have a dozen use for them after the grocery trip. like collecting the garbage stuff. plastic is reusable. as long as plastic is used for its purpose and not "wasted" too much, i don't think it should be much of a problem to the environment... you know, just use it in moderation i guess??
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I completely agree with you. I know what you're talking about too when you say 'use in moderation' and 'not wasted.' It may be harmful but it sure has a lot of places that it can be reused at. Happy mylotting!
@psyche49f (2512)
• Philippines
28 Feb 09
Well, I'm an environmentalist, so I would prefer paper bag to plastic. One of my frustrations is that here in the Phils., we don't have much choice. Almost every purchase uses a plastic bag, and they are unfriendly to the environment. If I had my way, I would ban the use of plastics forever. I know that this may just be a voice in the wilderness, but political will will make these things possible. So next time someone asks me, paper or plastic, the answer is loud and clear: we just want to be friendly to the environment.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Maybe you should move to India, I heard that they banned plastic bags over there. We don't have paper bags for groceries either and only the big name brand stores have paper bags and give them for free. I hope that we find a more environmental-friendly bag for groceries.
@laiza14 (593)
• Philippines
28 Feb 09
by the way, there is already what we call "biodegradable plastics" i wonder how can they be composted..
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
Thanks for the information but I do not think they use that in plastic bags. Correct me if I'm wrong! Also, plastic can be decomposed, it just takes a really long time. Happy mylotting!
• United States
28 Feb 09
I have to say that I like paper better. Not only is it more eco-friendly, but it stores neatly. They are a lot more useful when your doing crafts with the kids. You can use them as a place mat for sloppy things because they lay flat. You can wet them and crumble them up and to make leather looking costumes for plays or dress-up. You can use them to make masks....I really wouldn't want to try that with a plastic bag. Anyway....that's my preference.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I think you are the first one to list some examples of how to reuse paper! Good for you! I think that using paper bags for craft with kids and making costumes and such is a great place to reuse them. You have listed some great advantages of paper bags over plastic ones. Happy mylotting!
@ekta74 (17)
• India
28 Feb 09
i'll choose paper since it doesn't harm the environment.
@snam23 (3161)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I would use reusable cloth bags if you want to help the environment.