Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Paper or Plastic?

Paper or Plastic

I (sort of) remember the 1980s. I do remember I was quite proud to "Save a tree" and ask for a plastic bag. I didn't think of it then but now, I can't help but wonder who started this campaign? I researched it like crazy, but try as I might, I couldn't find any reference to an environmental organization that claims it. It seems that, just like Big Tobacco, Big Plastic may have had a hand in it.

I say this because I did find a reference in a November 17th, 1984 New York Times article in which these statements were made:

Plastic sacks have other advantages as well. ''They have handles, you can use them to carry your kids' bathing suits home from the beach, they're great for dirty diapers,'' said Frank Corbin, director of community relations for the Society of the Plastics Industry

Ronald Schmieder, marketing manager of the plastic grocery sacks division of the Mobil Chemical Company claimed. ''In Australia, 100 percent of all grocery bags are plastic,'' Mr. Schmieder said, adding, ''One can always hope.''

''This is progress, and with progress some products get left behind,'' said Charles Jenest, a chemical and plastics consultant for Arthur D. Little Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. ''People were loyal to paper bread bags too, and to many other paper products'' that have been replaced by plastic.

The article included paper bag loyalist claims as well:

''People are fond of the old paper bag,'' said Peter A. Bunten, assistant manager of the Kraft and Packaging Papers Division of the American Paper Institute. ''It's as American as the flag and apple pie and all those other red white and blue cliches.''

''Heavy plastic bags hurt your hands,'' said Samuel Posner, vice president of the retail bags division of the Samson Paper Bag Company.

Once again it seems that big corporations are deciding how we should live our lives. Not surprisingly Petroleum companies had a hand in it. Not much has changed.

Source: The New York Times