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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.



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