Jennifer, thanks for letting me know about the Dateline report, which addressed the classic grocery store question: Paper or plastic?
Apparently, this question elicits a lot of guilt among shoppers. Some folks think paper is better than plastic, and vice versa. According to Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the decision to use paper or plastic bags depends on where you live. If you live near a coastline, use paper. If you live in the Midwest, use plastic, he advised.
Is this sound advice? Unfortunately, the story did not provide any compelling evidence to support this claim. Given that a vast quantity of recyclables are shipped to far-away places for processing, does it really matter where I live?
In fairness, this report did make a good point: When it comes to selecting the right bag, the decision isn't always easy. I agree because shoppers aren't presented with a third option: reusable bags.
We could all sidestep this bag dilemma by bringing our own bags (or purchasing cloth bags at the checkout). That way, we wouldn't have to weigh the pros and cons of this "paper vs. plastic" decision, nor would we feel guilty about our bag selection. And maybe, just maybe, we could enjoy the rest of the day, perhaps even focusing on other issues that merit greater attention.