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20

Strictly in terms of energy efficiency, you're not gaining or saving energy by composting, but you're offsetting the energy needed to cut and process new trees by recycling the bags into new bags. So, from an energy perspective, recycling probably wins. For which one is 'better' (in the question title), we'd need to define better. It might also be good to ...


20

reduce, re-use, recycle, in that order. Get the uses you can out of the bags first. When that's done we get to the recycling bit. This includes basically three things you can do: Official recycling. This is probably the best thing to do with bags you have no other specific uses for. However in addition you can: papermaking (there are good how-tos on ...


12

The mantra of sustainability is Reduce Reuse Recycle i.e. Reduce what you use, reuse what you can, recycle what you can't. This order is important, recycling should always be the last resort. It sounds like you are being sensible when you wash the bags for re-use, since you are only using water, energy and detergents which were left over after other ...


11

Paper products should always be recycled first before composting (assuming they are clean and dry). This gives them another 'go' round the system. Once composted it takes a lot more time and resources to turn them back into paper.


10

In priority order: Durable canvas bag. This will last years and can be reused many times. When the bag finally reaches the end of its life, after you've handed it down to your grandchildren, they can compost it. Just remember to always take them with you... The cardboard boxes they offer you at the store, if available, and you've forgotten your canvas bags. ...


9

Only 5.7% of LDPE is recycled. Most of it ends up in the environment. Biodegradation time is 500-1000 years if exposed to light, else decomposing time is infinite. Go for a paper bag. If you really plan to recycle it: paper bags will be new paper bags, LDPE bags will be clothes or carpets in asian or african markets. Paper can be recycled as often as you ...


9

Ok (1.5 hours later). Going by this reference for bag GWP and EPA values for burning petrol, I've got 1.57 kg CO2-eq per plastic bag, 271 kg CO2-eq for cloth bags, and 2.35 kg CO2-eq per L of petrol. Putting those together with variables for how much gas is saved by delivery and how many total trips you want to consider, here's the data I come up with: ...


8

I prefer to cheat - I use the disposable bags brought home by my housemates. One way or another our household seems to accumulate enough plastic bags that there's rarely a shortage, and if there is my workmates could easily fill it. So the simple option would be to look for a source of plastic bags that you can re-use. My local supermarket will happily ...


8

Working in Reuse I have heard Rethinking Waste - The 5 R's Mantra: 1. Refuse> 2. Reduce> 3. Reuse> 4. Repurpose 5. Recycle> To recycle any product takes energy. These recyclable products are seen as a commodity in the market place. Maybe #5 plastics don't have a high demand right now; it could sit for a long time, maybe months, maybe years depending ...


8

There are many ways how plastic waste ends up in the sea. A non-complete list would include the following: Micro-plastics from our washing processes, they are in almost everything like shampoo, peelings, cosmetics, etc., but also our clothes contain a lot of plastics which leaves the washing machines continuously. Next are ships, loosing load, leaving old ...


6

Carelessness, wind and rain. Humans are careless, so leave all manner of plastic outside in their yards. A gust of wind catches the plastic and blows it onto a nearby road. It rains, and the plastic is washed into the gutter and stormwater system, where it travels through drains, culverts, creeks, rivers and ultimately out to sea. That's why pollution at ...


5

For everything re-use always beats recycling both in terms of energy required and the like. But this is especially true with plastics, which are typically downgraded on each recycling effort and quickly become non-recyclable. You may start out with soda pop bottles and ziplock bags and get carpet and plastic lumber for example. Recycle when it can't be re-...


5

I've had good success with the following system. All you need are two stronger plastic bags with handles: Bag one: non-handled bags 'roll and rip' style produce bags from the market bread bags ziploc bags anything else without a handle Bag two: handled bags plastic grocery bags mall shopping bags (think h&m or something — attached handles ...


4

Firstly the plastic grocery bags that the stores give/sell you are awfully light. I just weighted 4 on my kitchen scale. They average 6 grams each. This means if you buy stuff a pound at a time, it's just over 1% extra. At a kilogram you are down to 0.6% extra. Secondly: the bags are tough enough to get home, and we often reuse them for other things. ...


3

I think what is accepted at stores or recycling centers is very much local policy and depends on both regulations (local law) and the way collection and recycling schemes are setup and funded. In the Netherlands where I live for example, all types of packaging plastics including bags, but excluding other plastic objects and biodegradable plastics, are ...


3

No, the process the plastic ends up going through is the same. The only thing that changes when you drop them off at the grocery store is that it is more convenient for the recycling plant because the grocery store collection gets presorted, and the grocery retailers probably deliver enough bulk at a time that they actually get some money for it. A normal ...


3

The only option that I can see which would be win-win would be to take public transport to the supermarket and use my reusable bags. Hardly. I present, the bike trailer: For five years, I actually had a trailer specifically for hauling my two kids around in (the Cheetah Chariot 2 kid version, now owned by Thule), but it would do double-duty as a stroller ...


2

You're smart to figure out a way that works for you to store & access your used bags. Without that they're not nearly as re-usable! We use these strategies to cut through the clutter & make our bags more manageable: Bring as few home as possible We keep reusable shopping & produce bags in a front closet so it's easy to grab on the way to the ...


2

I push them into the gap between a cupboard and a wall, the cupboard is about 6 foot tall so there's plenty of space and I can put/take from the gap as I want. Maybe I'm a bit of a cheap skate but didn't want to buy something to solve this problem. Sometimes two come out, but hey, it's not difficult to pop the extra one back in. When I moved house, I had to ...


2

Film has the following issues for recycling: It's not well labeled. (Which bin should it go into?) It's irregular in shape. (Makes automated separation difficult) The weight per piece is small. (It takes about the same time/energy/computer power to pull a small chunk from a waste stream as a large chunk) The ratio of dirt to plastic tends to be high. A ...


1

Here in the UK we are specifically told not to bag recyclable products, as it makes it more difficult for them to be sorted on arrival at the recycling facility - plus the bag itself can't be recycled, and so contaminates the recycling load - which in the worst case can mean the entire truck-load being landfilled... Our refuse trucks are enclosed though, so ...


1

I would like to suggest you also look into recycling very light, maybe sheer, window curtains as the material for your own homemade bags. Just one from a yard sale could make enough bags to last you for quite a while, and if you do a good job of hemming them and finishing the edges, you could probably machine wash them in a protective mesh bag, as you would ...


1

Categorise the bags into a maximum of four categories. E.G. "Standard Bag", "Large Bag", "Small Bag", "Strong Bag". The bags must then be stored consistently in your clothes. i.e. A "standard bag" must always be present in the front left-hand corner of your trousers. A "large bag" will always be present in the front right-hand corner etc... So clearly ...


1

It's much, much better to compost than to recycle, if you can. While recycling does use less energy than making these items from non-recycled materials, it's still not perfect - lots of energy goes into treating and processing the recycled paper. Recycled paper has a carbon footprint of only around 30% less than standard paper. That's not to say you shouldn'...


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