Masthead JEA

Bag it—Paper or Plastic? Activity

When the grocery clerk asks you “Paper or plastic?” do you think about the energy that was used to make those bags?

  • About 700 paper bags can be made from one 15-year-old tree. A large grocery store can use that many bags before lunch! Trees are considered a renewable resource if they are replanted regularly, but it still takes energy to make those bags.
  • Plastic bags start out as either oil or natural gas. Oil and natural gas are fossil fuels that are nonrenewable energy resources.

Take out a paper and pencil (remember to use both sides of the paper!) and write down all the ways you can think of that energy is used to make a paper bag. For example, logging trees to make paper bags uses big machinery that runs on fossil fuels. Then do the same for plastic bags.

After you finish your list, check yours against the one on the next page.

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