I wrote a story on India shutting down plastic bag manufacturers in New Delhi yesterday. By ending the production of plastic bags, the India government hopes to end all plastic bag usage, instead citizens are encouraged to use reusable, cotton jute bags. Today, I stumbled upon a story claiming these cotton “eco-bags” to be not so friendly after all!
According to a government sponsored research done in 2008, Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags by Dr. Chris Edwards and Jonna Meyhoff Fry, cotton bags need to be used 131 times before it has the same environmental impact as its plastic counterpart!
If the plastic bags are reused as trash bags, the cotton bags must be used 173 times before being as â€œgreenâ€ as plastic bags. According to consumer research, the average use per cotton bag is only 51 times!
As it turns out, the production of cotton bags actually leaves a larger carbon footprint behind. That is, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted, the gas responsible for global warming, in the production of cotton bag is much higher compared to plastic ones.
Paper bags, on the other hand, must only be reused 3 times to be more eco-friendly. Thicker eco-bags made of non-woven plastic need to be used 4 times. Of the plastic bags tested in the study, bags made from high-density polypropylene or HDPE is most eco-friendly in 1 time use situations.
article source: Mail Online