Did you know that the production of "paper bags generates 70 percent more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags." So says an article on MSNBC called Paper or Plastic -- What's the Greener Choice? A site called reusablebags.com offers a few more choice statistics.
Now, I have two canvas grocery bags, but I'm not the best at using them. In the past, I've rationalized that paper bags are biodegradable and thus, not that bad. When I do get plastic bags, I reuse them as garbage bags to assuage my conscience. Why didn't I ever think about the trees cut down to make paper bags and the pollution caused by the process? I'm not sure...willful ignorance, perhaps? Given the amount of unnecessary packaging wrapped around our foodstuffs, maybe the bags seemed like a smaller issue?
In any case, when I get home tonight I'm going to put both of my canvas shopping bags in my trunk so that I'll always have them around. The article was a reminder that as ethical as one tries to be, there's always room for improvement.
Sorry for getting all heavy on you there!