The Better Bag Guide

Paper vs. plastic bags: You’d think this fight would have been settled by now. But as Trace explains, for cities around the world, the fight is more complicated than you’d think.

The Better Bag Guide

Ever wondered about the sustainability of reusable plastic bags vs paper, vs hemp bags? Here’s your indispensable guide to single and multiple use bag types, ranked in order of most to least sustainable.


Plastic bags are bad for the environment. Paper is better.


Except for the facts that paper bags result in 2x more greenhouse gasses, 3x more energy, and 20x more water wasted.

I honestly don’t have any strong opinions about this topic. But I do think most of us are lazy about learning real scientific facts from objective sources. We’re doing a crappy job teaching this skill to our kids. (And a TV reporter, celebrity, or activist is never, ever giving you objective facts.)

Here’s some solid data from the America Chemical Society, which represents chemists and scientists (original source and full article here):

Paper vs plastic



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