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Whole Foods Greenwashing customers that Paper Bags are more Eco-Friendly than Plastic??

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I would love some feed back here.

this is going to be long winded, so bare with me and please read on.

ok. so at the health food store where i work we have started to really push our sales of reusable bags (finally.) we have a sign that says "paper, plastic, or reusable; it's your choice." i guess our corporate office is not trying to push the bag thing since whole foods was getting heat for taking their plastic bags away.

apparently  whole foods is "in trouble" because they are mis-leading the public that paper bags are more enviro friendly than plastic.
this is where i get heated. NEITHER ARE GOOD FOR THE PLANET.
 
*Petroleum is needed to make plastic bags
*Plastic bags do not break down (in nature) but rather just become smaller and smaller bits of plastic, thus polluting our soil w/out us seeing it
*Plastic bags take virgin plastic in order to create a "recycled" plastic (maybe this technology is outdated, but i was once taught that all recycled plastics still depended upon a bit of virgin in the final composition. and to be honest, i haven't brushed up on that fact lately to see if it's still true, so if you know, let me know)
*Plastic bags (when left in nature) can kill wild life

*Paper uses more water & energy than plastic to recycle
*Paper bags break down fully (when left in nature) to become basically fertilizer
*Virgin paper bags use trees
*100% post consumer content paper bags do not use trees
*I havent' heard of paper bags suffocating wildlife, or wrapped around a sea turtles head
*Paper bags attract bugs like roaches when being warehoused (funny thing, so do the cardboard boxes that plastic bags come in)

I could go on forever.

Here's what got me heated the most. check out this link and give me your stance on it. http://www.enviroaffairscouncil.org/blog/2008/04/corporate-green.html


It seems they are really slamming Whole foods for the whole anti-plastic shopping bag thing, and trying to make plastic bags to be super heroes. WHEN IN FACT THEY ARE BOTH BAD FOR THE PLANET AND WE NEED TO FOCUS OUR ENERGY ON MAKING PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING THEIR OWN COTTON BAGS. BAN THE PLASTIC, BAN THE PAPER. FOR FREAK SAKES ALREADY.

SORRY FOR MY ANGER. UGH.

post #2 of 16

How hard can it be to put some reusable bags in your car, and take them with you?  I always keep mine in there.  I take them in the house to unload, and then right back in the Trunk.  That way I always have them and never forget them.  I also save all the boxes, and packing peanuts I get and reuse them.  Waist is waist if you ask me.  I'm with you girl...

 

Liz

www.posergy.com

For Beauty...For Health...For Life...For Earth...


Edited by lizzy - Mon, 21 Jul 2008 04:03:28 UTC
post #3 of 16

Well my take is that generally speaking, paper and plastic bags are roughly equally bad.  Plastic can be the better of the two, but only if it's recycled.  And since it requires specific recycling bins (you can't just toss it in with your recycling at home), most bags don't get recycled.  While it's true that paper bags require more energy and resources to make, they're also much more easily recycled.

 

My feeling is that stores should at least charge for any bags they provide, and also give refunds for using reusable bags.  And more than 3 cents per bag.

post #4 of 16

Previous discussion on paper vs. plastic with some more lovely stats...

 

I would say that in Whole Food's case, where their paper bags are made of 100% recycled paper (40% post consumer), paper is probably less bad than plastic.  It's ridiculous that they would get in trouble for it.

 

Hopefully the public will get better about reusable bags- it seems like every store out there is selling them, but in mainstream shops, you rarely see people using them...

 

And I agree with Dana- they need to have a bigger incentive for reusing bags.  They can pay for it by simultaneously charging for paper/plastic bags- pay .25 to get a new bag, or get .10 for bringing your own- that's a .35 saving per bag...people will change their tune quickly!!

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

if you read the whole grievance the enviro affairs council has to say about WF, you would be amazed at how petty they are being.

 

like one of their slams is that Paper bags attract roaches thus causing a health risk for customers. HELLO, cardboard boxes do the very same thing and plastic bags are stored in cardboard boxes, but of course they glide over that and don't mention it.

 

the EAC seems to be just as guilty as WF when it comes to giving onesided view points or glossing over facts so that they are only using facts that will support their view point.


 


Edited by organicgal007 - Mon, 21 Jul 2008 12:13:51 UTC
post #6 of 16

Read the link you posted above.  I wonder if the plastic bag lobbyists have gotten to them??

 

They do seem to create a pretty strong argument against paper bags.  Some of their points are pretty ridiculous though, like a plastic grocery bag's superior nail holding abilities?  Won't they just poke out the sides?   And why can't a paper bag hold your "trinkets"?

 

I love that the plastic bag reusing possibilities generally involved holding trash.  I reuse my paper bags too- I reuse them as carrying bags (they seem to hold up better over time than plastic bags) and to send packages in the mail...

 

Plus shoppers tend to use 3-4 plastic bags for every 1 paper bag.

 

I agree with your underlying point though- wouldn't the EAC's energy be much better directed into a campaign to get the public using cloth bags?!  Or bringing their paper bags in a second/third time- I think this is a good one to encourage, because people tend to hoard paper bags, and if they would just grab a couple from the closet on their way out the door...

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by organicgal007:

 

the EAC seems to be just as guilty as WF when it comes to giving onesided view points or glossing over facts so that they are only using facts that will support their view point.


 


 

Oh yeah I totally agree that the link you provided was completely biased.  Like nitedreamer I particularly liked the nail holding argument.  A paper bag is far better at holding nails than a plastic bag - not that this is a compelling argument either way!  And I also agree that it's not fair to compare 1 paper bag to 1 plastic bag statistically, because plastic bags hold far less and thus more bags need to be used.

 

I got the distinct impression that the website was trying very hard to make an argument supporting plastic bags, rather than an unbiased evaluation.


Edited by dana1981 - Mon, 21 Jul 2008 16:14:55 UTC
post #8 of 16

In my experience, plastic bags are definately superior for picking up dog poop. Since we've switched to cloth bags our dwindling supply of plastic bags will soon force me to purchase some sort of poop scooping device.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

BioBags (made from corn cellulose) has a line of poop bags.

www.biobagsusa.com they are compostable.

 

Quote:
 

Originally Posted by mattress:

In my experience, plastic bags are definately superior for picking up dog poop. Since we've switched to cloth bags our dwindling supply of plastic bags will soon force me to purchase some sort of poop scooping device.


 

post #10 of 16

I think I'd rather get something that I won't have to keep buying more of. Additionally, I don't think the neighbors (not to mention my wife) would appreciate me having a composting bin filled with dog poop. Plus I don't think it's a good idea to fertilize plants you plan on eating (which is the majority of what we grow) with dog waste (though I could be wrong about that).

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

i didn't mean compostable as in compost for food plants. sorry. maybe i should have used the word biodegradable.

 

Quote:
 

Originally Posted by mattress:

I think I'd rather get something that I won't have to keep buying more of. Additionally, I don't think the neighbors (not to mention my wife) would appreciate me having a composting bin filled with dog poop. Plus I don't think it's a good idea to fertilize plants you plan on eating (which is the majority of what we grow) with dog waste (though I could be wrong about that).


 

post #12 of 16

no worries ;)

post #13 of 16

Read about another alternative - oxo-biodegradable plastic bags and other disposable items, at http://biogreenproducts.biz/whyoxo.html . Unlike starch based plastic, 'oxo' doesn't reduce food stocks, and doesn't release methane when it degrades.  It also doesn't take as much petroleum to make as starch based plastic, oddly enough.  It takes a lot of oil to grow corn-

post #14 of 16

I believe there are many aspects to an eco friendly life. Each item we use has an impact on the earth. There is so much more to an item than how it is manufactured and what resources it takes to get it to the place where we buy it. I am doing my best to reduce as much plastic in my life as possible. It isn't very durable and the process of creating it and recycling it seems to be pretty toxic. There is also a difference in what should happen and the reality of what does happen when people are finished with an item. We should all recycle the plastic bags, but their design make them great candidates for litter. If you are outdoors, say reusing it for the informal lunch bag, as soon as you remove the items it flies away. If you have them in your car so you can use them when you take your dog to the park and you open a window, it will fly away. If you put it in the garbage can and the lid opens, it will fly away. When it gets to the landfill, hundreds of them fly away. What happens when they fly away. See the slideshow in the link.

 

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080506/MULTIMEDIA02/80505016

 

I've never seen a paper bag or cloth bag do that.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

That's my thought exactly. When was the last time you saw a paper bag strangle a dolphin?

We should send your link to the EAC and see what they say about it?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by whsgreenmom:

I believe there are many aspects to an eco friendly life. Each item we use has an impact on the earth. There is so much more to an item than how it is manufactured and what resources it takes to get it to the place where we buy it. I am doing my best to reduce as much plastic in my life as possible. It isn't very durable and the process of creating it and recycling it seems to be pretty toxic. There is also a difference in what should happen and the reality of what does happen when people are finished with an item. We should all recycle the plastic bags, but their design make them great candidates for litter. If you are outdoors, say reusing it for the informal lunch bag, as soon as you remove the items it flies away. If you have them in your car so you can use them when you take your dog to the park and you open a window, it will fly away. If you put it in the garbage can and the lid opens, it will fly away. When it gets to the landfill, hundreds of them fly away. What happens when they fly away. See the slideshow in the link.

 

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080506/MULTIMEDIA02/80505016

 

I've never seen a paper bag or cloth bag do that.

 

post #16 of 16

My cloth bags are big enough and strong enough to strangle a dolphin, but then I do not release them to allow that to happen.

 

My supermarkets all charge me to  take home a paper, plastic bag or even a cardboard box. They do not charge me to take home a net bag of onions and I can use the onion bag over and over.

They charge me a dollar to take home a reusable bag that avoids me buying 5 plastic or paper bags that would cost a total of 25 cents. When I bring that bag back 70 times in a year, I have saved 70 * 25 cents (less one dollar).

 

But my cloth bags have lasted at least 6 years,

 

Self interest dictates that I must use those cloth bags.

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