© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Paper, plastic or tote: Doing the math on the environmental impacts of shopping bags

Ways To Subscribe
Tote Bag
luciano paris
/
Unsplash

As plastic bags congest the Earth, many people reach for paper or reusable cloth bags. However, the consequences of those can be worse than single-use plastic bags.

Despite common belief, the manufacturing of paper bags and totes produce more carbon emissions than the making of single-use plastic bags, according to a 2018 study by the Ministry of Denmark. On the other hand, plastic bags, as National Geographic stated, litter habitats and do not biodegrade.

Two experts examine the nuanced ecological impacts of shopping bags and how people can minimize their environmental damage.

  • Matt Riggs, outreach coordinator for MARC Solid Waste Management District and Recycle Spot
  • Shelie Miller, professor of sustainable systems at the University of Michigan
Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.