Which bag has the highest environmental cost?
Prepare to be surprised!
HDPE bags are, for each use, almost 200 times less damaging to the environment than cotton reusable bags, and have less than one third of the CO2 emissions of paper shopping bags.
According to a new study which considers factors like extraction of raw materials, production processes, and transport, an HDPE plastic bag would have a low baseline global warming potential of 1.57 kg CO2 equivalent. A paper bag would have to be used four times and a cotton bag would have to be used 173 times to reduce its global warming potential to a similar low level.1
1SOURCE: The Independent (www.independent.co.uk) and The Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags, a study by the Environmental Agency of Britain.