Great article, thanks!
As the page was loading, I was getting a little irritated (why don't they just use paper bags !), but was actually satisfied after reading. :)
Ok, so as the ignorant, only-recently-environmentally conscious person that I am, I had a similarly-related question; when one forgets to bring their canvas sacks to the store, PAPER is the more eco-friendly choice? I could never decide which one would be better, whatwith paper coming from trees and all... I suppose they're renewable and all that. But plastic is just yucky in general.
So, paper then? Really? Feedback on that one? (For the record, I'm getting better at remembering my canvas :D)
IKEA gets my thumbs up, by the way.
Paper is better, but not great. A lot are recycled, but not all, and at least it's not rainforest trees they're using to make them, but some are made directly from trees (I assume). It's just the lesser of two evils, really. I think a post somewhere here in the not to distant past had a link with info about how paper doesn't degrade in landfills. They would in your own compost, but landfills are to full to circulate air and light, etc. Plastic is just really, really, bad. Even recycled ones (and they are few) use so many resources, produce so much cr*p, and they just won't go away. Generations upon generations, tormented by great grandma's grocery bag. . .they just won't go away ! ! ! >:(
Great news! the tide is turning :)
Well I guess the best thing is to take bags with you but we all forget sometime right? I would always chose paper over plastic but alot of the time I don't have a choice and it's usually plastic that is available.
I found an article about which is better and of course both have their good and bad points. Plastic bags require far less energy to produce (40%) but take 1000 years to decompose. It goes on to state what we have all said it's best not to use either. As for recycled bags they also use alot of energy to produce and I posted a link on the last thread about this that was kinda shocking, it said that most of the bags that are put in recycling bins are not recycled! A lot ore sent to third world countries to be reused and then end up as landfill.
IKEA may be a little different here in Oz, but I dont think they have ever given.. or even offered... me a plastic bag or anyother sort of bag for my stufs... though I noticed recently that you can buy a large heavy duty plastic one...but that is all...
In our IKEAS they def. give out plastic bags for small purchases, and you can buy their canvas ones. I am currently toying with making a tote bag from a pair of old jeans...it'll take a while because ripping the inseam of a pair of jeans is WORK...they meant those puppies to stay sewed! :D I have to figure out how to stitch the bottom of the bag in once I get the side-seams ripped and the sides of the bag joined into one tube. You can vary how deep you want it, the pockets and zip stay as they are, and part of the legs is used to make the strap. I'll keep you posted.
In Germany you take your own handbasket to the market with you, and/or keep a large box in your car trunk. If you didn't bring a basket you can buy a bag, but 90/100 people always bring a basket.
Germany has mandatory recycling, they even have trash police (though I've never seen one!) that can come and look at your trash and if you put something in the 'waste container' that can (and should have been) recycled you can be fined.
ALSO, not sure about how this works exactly, but to sum up... if companies use more packaging than necessary, or packaging that is not readily recyclable, the company pays a 'green tax' on that product. In most cases it is worth it to the company to change the packaging material. A perfect incentive to force them to create green packaging, because consumers wouldn't stand for a price-hike when they knew it was to to the packaging tax.
I find that I can EASILY sort and recycle German product packaging, American packaging is a mish-mash of mixed materials that are not easy to separate for proper sorting in Germany. You really notice that when every iota of 'trash' has to be sorted.
http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/recycling.html There is even a joke about how to recycle a tea bag because it uses every single bin... old teabag goes in bio-bin, paper tag in paper bin, metal staple in metal bin, synthetic string other bin.
On Ikea, other than the USA and England (where I think? you pay for them) I don't remember seeing bags in many other countries...
I lived in Japan for a few years and they also have a fairly ridged recycle/ trash sorting thing happening... though I confess I found the whole garbage thing quite confusing at first... we did try.. but oh boy! we accidently would put the unburnable in the burnable bags and vise versa, take our cans out on recyclable day without washing them first, take our trash out at night instead of in the wee hours of the morning, forget to cover the trash with a net after we took it out, or forget to cut our boxes into pieces about the size of playing cards (perhaps a slight exaggeration!) and then tie them with string ... just to name a few... we also learned that you should NEVER take out your trash on the wrong day.. especially if there is something with your address on it in the bag... someone may find you! We were woken early one morning by a little, old, well meaning lady holding a pizza box (pre-veg days) with our address on it. Everyone around us just seemed to know these things... but it took us a while to get it right!! :)