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Reusable Shopping Bags: Which Is the Greenest of Them All?

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The greening of mainstream society has added additional complexity to the age-old "paper or plastic" dilemma (read more on the paper or plastic issue here. But which reusable shopping bag -- a canvas bag, polyester bag, or polypropylene bag -- is really the best eco-choice? Let's look at the options. While organic cotton is better, both conventional and organic cotton use a significant amount of water, so the environmental impact of the fabric bag is directly proportional to its weight. The bag is about the same size as a disposable plastic bag used for shipping and stows neatly in an integrated pouch that fits in the palm of your hand and clips to your purse or fits in your pocket. At 35 grams, the manufacturing of the polyester material for one bag creates 89 grams of greenhouse gas emissions, which compares to the manufacture of just seven disposable plastic shopping bags. Another shopping bag that has been gaining popularity is made from polypropylene and is designed in the shape of a brown paper shopping bag. 2

Seattle has backed off in the face of opposition to a 20-cent per bag fee and will instead put the question to city voters in August. 1
  1. Views: Plastic, Paper or Tax? (Sightline)
  2. Reusable Shopping Bags: Which Is the Greenest of Them All? (treehugger)

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