Studies are ongoing as to why one should choose paper over plastic drinking straws, plastic bags, and plastic takeout containers. On this page, we have listed BGUSA products vs Paper products vs Plastic products.
BGUSA products are far superior with less environmental consequences than the rest. At BGUSA, educating businesses regarding our product is of utmost importance to help save the Earth.
Our product line is organic and biodegradable, compostable, and eco-friendly. Our products are far superior to paper and plastic. Please see below why BGUSA stands out above the rest.
- 100% organic products
- Drinking straws compost in landfills in < 180 days. Composts much faster than plastic and paper. These products compost with heat, not oxygen.
- Bags compost in landfills in < 90 days. Composts much faster than paper and plastic. These products compost with heat, not oxygen.
- No toxic fumes are emitted when burning the bags or the straws therefore no pollution from fumes. A nice woody aroma arises but dissipates quickly.
- Energy consumption is minimal due to organic waste material make-up of the bags and straws.
- The only recycling that is done is composting back to the Earth where the original ingredients arose.
- No waste in the making with these products as these items are manufactured from organic waste.
- No danger to wildlife or humans if accidentally ingested.
- We would hope littering would not occur, but if it does, the straws and bags would compost on the side of a road or in a ditch, but would take a bit longer as items are not in a proper landfill.
The environmental disadvantages of paper:
- Causes pollution: Paper production emits air pollution, specifically 70 percent more pollution than the production of plastic bags [source: Thompson]. According to certain studies, manufacturing paper emits 80 percent more greenhouse gases [source: Lilienfield]. And, consider that making paper uses trees that, instead, could be absorbing carbon dioxide. The paper bag making process also results in 50 times more water pollutants than making plastic bags [source: Thompson].
- Consumes energy: Even though petroleum goes into making plastic, it turns out that making a paper bag consumes four times as much energy as making a plastic bag, meaning making paper consumes a good deal of fuel [source: reusablebags.com].
- Consumes water: The production of paper bags uses three times the amount of water it takes to make plastic bags [source: Lilienfield].
- Inefficient recycling: The process of recycling paper can be inefficient — often consuming more fuel than it would take to make a new bag [source: Milstein]. In addition, it takes about 91 percent more energy to recycle a pound of paper than a pound of plastic [source: reusablebags.com].
- Produces waste: According to some measures, paper bags generate 80 percent more solid waste [source: Lilienfield].
- Biodegrading difficulties: Surprisingly, the EPA has stated that in landfills, paper doesn’t degrade all that much faster than plastics [source: Lilienfield].
The environmental disadvantages of plastic:
- Litter: Littered plastic bags are everywhere today — blown around streets, stuck in fences and trees. And, aside from their use in the occasional art film (à la American Beauty) they can be an eyesore and a pain.
- Danger to wildlife: Plastic waste is deceptive for birds and other wildlife, who mistake it for food. And you can imagine how eating plastic messes with an animal’s intestine. As a result, animals can die of starvation [source: Spivey]. To prevent this, perhaps paper is the better choice, especially if you live on the coast, as your plastic waste is more likely to make its way to marine life and sea birds [source: Thompson].
- Long-term degrading: Light breaks plastic down so it photodegrades rather than biodegrades. Estimates say that this process can take up to 500 or even 1000 years in landfills [source: Lapidos]. Unfortunately, we don’t really know, as plastic is a relatively new invention.
- Recycling difficulties: Although for the most part, plastic takes less energy to recycle than paper, plastic bags are a frustrating recycling dilemma. The curbside recycling in many communities is not meant for plastic bags because they can screw up the plant’s machines [source: Milstein]. Instead, some stores offer bins in which to properly recycle plastic bags.
Paper and Bamboo Straws
It might suck to hear this, but paper straws are taking up just as much landfill space as the plastic ones they’re rapidly replacing.
Courtney Powell, founder of Elevated Enviro — an Edmonton business that helps companies reduce their costs by diverting waste — is urging restaurants to get compost bins so their disposable plant-based utensils can be put to good use.
“If those bamboo straws and paper straws are heading into the garbage like they likely are, because the majority of Edmonton restaurants only have a garbage bin and a cardboard bin, then it’s going to a landfill and it’s doing no different than what a plastic straw going to a landfill is,” Powell said.
When trash is dumped in a landfill, he said, a truck dumps gravel on the load, followed by another truck that dumps sand, and one more that dumps water.
This is done to maximize space in landfills, because municipalities increasingly don’t want garbage dumps in their backyards.
But it also removes the oxygen that would otherwise decompose things like paper straws and apple cores.
“No material really decomposes in a landfill because of that process,” Powell said.
“You could literally bite into an apple, throw it in a landfill, come back 50 years later and you’d still have that apple there because it just doesn’t decompose.”