Monday, June 25, 2012

Paper or Plastic? Choosing Paper Cartons & Packaging Over Plastic #ChooseCartons

Paper or plastic, right? It's the age old question that I get asked every time I buy groceries (I'm horrible at remembering my reusable bags). But what about the containers that are storing that food we just bought too? Our buying choices impact the environment and it's our choice how much of an impact that is. is a campaign put on by Evergreen Packaging to help promote and raise awareness about the environmental benefits of paper packaging and the use of paper cartons.

I went on a little hunt in my fridge and found a lot of plastic. I had plastic cartons and packaging for my milk, a couple yogurts, a few condiments and some other odds and ends. Everything from what I could tell was recyclable though, so that was good. I found a few paper cartons for my hemp milk and almond milk. I also found a lot of glass that I reuse over and over for my homemade and fresh foods so I did give myself a pat on the back for that. After all, it's not just about recycling and reusing, but it's also about reducing all together. However, I've never put much thought into the packaging of the foods I do buy ready-packaged, instead of just the contents inside. Next time I go grocery shopping I'll definitely think twice about the packaging and go with paper if it's available. 

Check out these paper carton facts and information from Evergreen and Choose Cartons:

  • Over 41 million households have access to carton recycling, and that number is on the rise. In addition, cartons are made from renewable materials – more than 70 percent of the carton is made from paper, all from trees from responsibly managed forests.
  • The paper fiber contained in cartons is valuable. Recycled cartons are used to make products such as tissue, office paper, wall boards and other building materials.
  • Cartons are made with renewable energy. More than 50 percent of the energy used to make the paper in Evergreen Packaging’s cartons comes from biomass.
  • Cartons help reduce food and packaging waste with a great product-to-package ratio, an average of 94% product to only 6% package. So more of what you buy is product. 
  • Packaging plays a very important role in keeping food and beverages fresh like our milk, orange juice and other refrigerated grocery items. Cartons actually block UV light that can reduce the nutritional value of foods like milk. The environmental impact of a package is just as important as the contents inside. 
  • Cartons help make transportation efficient because cartons take up less space in shipping to the processor and to grocery stores.
  • Responsible forestry promotes new forest growth, and these forests help to diminish greenhouse gases. Forests remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees. In the US, due to both increases in the total area of forest land and increases in the carbon stored per acre, an additional 192 million metric tons of carbon are sequestered each year through responsible forest management programs nationwide. This offsets roughly 11% of the country’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of removing almost 135 million passenger vehicles from the nation’s highways.

So the verdict it seems is that paper is better for the environment than plastic. Either way, make sure you're recycling or reusing those paper and plastic containers if you can! I've seen lots of fun crafts and ideas for reusing containers that I've compiled on this Pinterest board, and has lots of ideas HERE too.

How can YOU make a difference for the environment?

- Make choosing paper cartons and packaging a more conscious decision next time you're at the grocery store.
- Visit or check with your local recycling program to learn if your community accepts cartons for recycling.
-Reduce your impact by reducing waste altogether. Reuse what you can!
- Show your support by educating others about the benefits of paper cartons. For every carton fact shared, via Twitter, using the hashtag #choosecartons will help raise money for Habitat for Humanity®.

 Connect with Evergreen on Facebook and Twitter

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Evergreen and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


Misty Leask said...

Something we mention to restaurants when we go out all the time! The more you share the more they will change their habits! Thanks for sharing! :)

Kylie said...

We reuse them too! We freeze soups and stuff in them. :)

Sage said...

Thanks for such an informative article! I am always trying to make the most eco-friendly choices that I can :)

crunchyfarmbaby said...

Be careful when opting for paper as well though. It often takes just as many (if not more) resources to create a disposable paper product than a plastic one. It is a healthier option for us as consumers, yes, but not necessarily one for the environment! :)

I definitely suggest reading Plastic Free by Beth Terry. It really opened my eyes!! I have a book review of it coming up soon - keep watch. :)

Brittney said...

We use cartons in our house for most things! Thanks for sharing!

Clancy Cash Harrison MS, RD, LDN said...

Great tips!

Kelley @ Kelley's Passion for Nutrition said...

Great tips. We started doing this last year, and my children ask me all the time why people don't make the changes too. I tell them we are to be an example and to kindly educate people around us. Thank you for helping make these changes!

precision plastic in California said...

Some plastic nowadays can be recycled already which is really great.