Yes, as much so as they ever were. They’re better than plastic bags, but you’re still better off bringing your own cloth totebags.
I don’t want to necessarily use the word “bad,” but paper bags certainly have an impact on the environment and, as such, deserve some concern. They take trees to make, these trees require the use of a lot of machinery, there is a lot of chemical processing necessary, and all this just to make a paper bag, a lot of which get thrown into landfills. If recycled, a lot more processes and resources have to be used to remake another bag. Also, a paper bag contains one gallon of virtual water. So, it would seem that paper bags aren’t exactly perfect, either. Reusing your own bags for grocery shopping, as well as reusing paper bags that you do have, is probably your best bet.
Hope this helps!
While most paper grocery bags are made from recycled paper (cardboard, newsprint, etc), it takes some amount of trees and energy to produce and recycle them. The manufacturing of paper bags also takes 1 gallon of water PER BAG which is 50 times more than plastic bags. Recycling plants use a great deal of electricity which, more often than not, is produced at petroleum based power plant responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike plastic bags however, paper bags biodegrade much quicker in the environment compared to the estimated 100-500 years it takes for plastic. However, this is comparing the worse of two evils — shopping bags that end up in landfills are bad for the environment. The only truly green alternative is a reusable shopping bag.
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