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They use less water, require fewer chemicals, and produce less greenhouse gas than the other two options.Plastic has half the carbon footprint of the cotton and paper bags.When plastic bags given away for free in stores are banned, there's an increase in the types of plastic bags people can purchase to fulfill the same jobs as the free ones.For example, The Guardian reported a 400 percent increase in bin liner and large black garbage bag sales when the free plastic bags became subject to a 15 euro cents "plastax" in Ireland.A Sci article states that paper bags take up nine times more room than plastic and break down at about the same rate.Switching to biodegradable plastic bags might be something to consider, but a ban on plastic bags won't do much for the landfills.If you're using them in the grocery store, this is even more of a concern.
A Newswire report states a food poisoning risk from bacteria, mold, yeast, and coliform, but also says there are additional health risks, like bacterial skin infections, allergic reactions, the triggering of asthma attacks, and even ear infections.It's counterintuitive to think that plastic could be less harmful than something natural, like cotton, but it is.In 2005, the United States Department of Energy published a report titled "Energy and Environmental Profile of the U. Pulp and Paper Industry" that discussed not only the resources that go into creating paper and the pollution the process creates, but the amount of waste in the industry.Assuming the plastic bags are the worst simply because they're plastic and don't break down rapidly seems to make sense, but a wider view reveals that the decision whether to ban the bags isn't so simple.Their creation and shipment (they weigh less and take up less room than paper, therefore requiring less gas and fewer trucks to be transported) of plastic bags aren't as detrimental to the environment as one might think, at least by comparison.
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If anything, assuming an increase in paper bag usage, it could make the problem worse.