Home Blogs John Mullinder Plastics industry makes false claims for bag study

Plastics industry makes false claims for bag study

The Canadian plastics industry is embellishing the credentials of a study it says proves that plastic bags are more "environmentally friendly" than paper bags.

The industry's website claims that the ULS Report (2007) "was completed according to ISO standards 14040-14043, and was peer reviewed by North Carolina State University." In fact, the ULS study (or more correctly, its updated version of March 2008) was never an original life cycle assessment; never claimed to meet ISO standards; nor does it claim to have been peer reviewed by independent life cycle experts.

While they are correcting that sloppy and embarrassing error, perhaps the plastic folks will address some of the other false and misleading claims on their website. Here's two for starters:

False Claim 1: "That kraft paper grocery bags have to be made from virgin pulp, not recycled pulp, to be suitably durable for market use."

FACT: Paper grocery bags can be made from both virgin pulp and recycled pulp or a blend of the two. It all depends on the bag specifications of the customer (for strength, durability, printability and so on). A lot of the retail paper bags used in Canada today are 100% recycled content.

False Claim 2: "That post-consumer recycled paper cannot be used to carry heavy items. It is too weak. This often results in double bagging groceries, which doubles waste."

FACT: As noted above, a lot of paper retail bags today are made from 100% recycled content material (mostly from old corrugated boxes collected from the back of supermarkets and factories, office buildings or from curbside). Most paper packaging in Canada, in fact, is 100% recycled content and all of it performs to customers' specifications. As for double bagging, we suggest the plastic folks visit their local store to see firsthand what's going on with plastic bags. And then maybe check out the local trees, rivers and lakes where some of their products end up.

Source: The Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC)


PPEC represents the Canadian paper packaging industry on environmental issues. The council was founded by four separate sectors of the industry (packaging mills and converters) back in 1990, allowing them to work together and speak with one voice rather than several. Its Board of Directors is representative of the four different sectors and the council operates on a consensus basis.

PPEC lobbies governments; networks with other industry players; co-ordinates action industry-wide; develops practical solutions; and promotes the environmental performance and achievements of the industry as a whole.

It has earned an enviable track record of leadership and innovation over its 25 plus years of existence while achieving a number of world or North American "firsts."

 
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