What to Use: Paper, Plastic, or Reusable Bags?

Over my lifetime we have gone from using paper bags, to plastic bags, back to paper bags, to reusable bags. But what is really the most environmentally friendly way to carry your groceries and dry cleaning home?

Let’s start with exposing some of the misinformation:

The United Kingdom Environment Agency published a life cycle assessment of plastic vs. paper vs. reusable bags. “The study confirms that reusable bags are not inherently better for the environment than plastic bags. Reusable bags have to be used a tremendous number of times to provide an environmental benefit to conventional plastic carryout bags. The reality is that huge numbers of reusable bags are being thrown away before they are used the requisite amount of times.”

My belief is of the same as my grandparents (of a poor 3rd world country). Whichever type of bag you choose to use, use it, then use it again, after that, use it some more, and when you’re done using it, use it again until you can’t use it any more, then use it as a garbage bag one last time. Or even better, don’t use a bag whenever possible. I often just carryout larger items solely (who needs a bag) and put small items into my pockets. Why does this attract strange looks from the clerk and other patrons? It’s how my ancestors did it for thousands of years!


Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners in San Francisco and Sausalito is your
resource for garment cleaning and garment care information.

We are San Francisco and Marin’s 1st Certified Green Dry Cleaner by

San Francisco Environment and the Bay Area Green Business Program.

Your non toxic dry cleaning alternative serving you with an EPA approved Eco Dry Clean (Wet Clean) System that is safe for your health and is environmentally friendly.


Other Articles of Interest:

How to Remove Blood Stains from Wool.

How to remove a Coffee stain from Silk.

How to Remove a Milk Stain from Rayon.

How to Remove Chocolate Stains from Cotton.


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