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I found this site looking for one specifically geared to picking products based on sustainability. I'm not sure if such a specifically-focused site would actually be more effective than this one.

The original question I had that inspired this was paper or plastic? The answer is far from obvious.

  1. Paper bags weight more, cost more (carbon/petrochemicals) to move around. OTOH they decompose.
  2. Plastic bags are, of course, plastic. They vary greatly in weight, but then the ones that are very light tend to be doubled-up.
  3. Reusable bags often don't get reused that much. How much reuse justifies their existence? And which kinds? Cotton bags have a huge environment impact.

This kinds of question bugs me almost every time I go shopping.

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    Welcome to Sustainable Living! We have a few questions that address this, for example this one and this one. Do these answer your question? If not, could you please indicate what parts are still unaddressed?
    – THelper
    Mar 24 at 6:56
  • The first answer has an obscure title. Neither answers the entire question (and I wrote this after seeing an article about cotton being the worst possible replacement for paper bags). At very least, not all canvas is created equal. And the cost of transporting heavier disposable paper bags vs. much lighter disposable bags is not discussed anywhere.
    – podperson
    Mar 24 at 17:46
  • For this kind of question, it would be great to provide for a structured response format: what is the carbon footprint, water waste, pollution, energy cost, etc.
    – podperson
    Mar 24 at 17:49
  • Have you done some research on the topic? I am pretty sure there are studies out there covering exactly this issue.
    – Erik
    Mar 30 at 6:54
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    I'd heard that paper has a greater environmental impact than plastic (e.g. stanfordmag.org/contents/paper-plastic-or-reusable). The whole point of a site like this, I would think, is to crowd-source information on a topic rather than for one person to do some googling and present a "definitive" answer.
    – podperson
    Apr 5 at 22:54

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