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The much-maligned plastic bag has gone in for some serious bitch-slapping in Maryland. It’s being blamed for everything from the death of the blue crab to the intestinal disorders of turtles. Hey, carrying your own cloth bag is undoubtedly greener, but picking paper over plastic isn’t necessarily, especially when you consider the trees cut for lumber and the energy it takes to produce paper.
And consider this: Plastic bags are actually recyclable for more than just your doggie droppings. Not too far away, in Winchester, Va., the Trex Co. has a giant warehouse stocked to the ceiling with pallet upon pallet of compressed plastic bags. The popular decking material the company makes is fully 50 percent chopped-up plastic bags. The other half is wood pulp. And combined they make a pretty swanky decking product that never needs to be treated or stained. Look, I was skeptical about the merits of the plastic bag, as well, until I went to the Trek plant and talked to the guys on the floor.
The bigger issue, if you ask me, is the only places you can drop off your growing pile of bags is at the random Safeway or Giant, and you can’t even do that at the UnSafeway.