RAW-thinking the Take-out Bag

When it comes to shopping bags, the plastic versus paper dilemma is as puzzling as the one about the chicken or the egg. The truth is the statistics on both types of bags are deeply disturbing. At first glance the alternatives seem less than convenient-but after learning the facts and finding some easy solutions, Mikuni is saying, “neither, thanks to paper or plastic?”

In the United State alone, 12 million barrels of oil are required to produce enough plastic bags to appease our needs. And then there’s that little decomposition problem: 500 years in the landfill. That’s why Mikuni is introducing its own cloth to-go bags. We held a contest on our Facebook fan site to find the perfect slogan for our new bags. The winning slogan: RAW-duce, RAW-use, RAW-cycle!

So, paper or plastic? Choose neither! It takes energy to make petroleum-based plastic bags and forest-unfriendly paper ones, and they both end up in landfills. Starting on Earth Day, April 22, 2010, at Mikuni you will have the option to take your carry-out away in a “RAW-usable” eco-friendly to-go bag. And every time you bring your bag back to pick up a to-go order you’ll receive $1 off your purchase.

So choose to tote your own Mikuni cloth bag. There’s less waste. You feel good about yourself. And it’s fun.

The Facts

  • In 1960 almost 6.3 billion pounds of plastic was produced in the USA
  • By the early 1970’s the figure had tripled
  • By 1988 the USA produced approximately 50 billion pounds of plastic
  • HDPE (plastic) bags were introduced into circulation in 1977
  • It has been estimated that the worlds annual consumption of plastic shopping bags has reached in excess of 500 billion bags
  • The Wall Street Journal has estimated that the USA consumes 100 billion plastic bags annually (the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil in the manufacturing process)
  • It is estimated that 53% of plastic shopping bags are distributed into circulation via supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Over recent years these outlets have reintroduced paper bags for customers in the belief that this was environmentally responsible.
  • Plastic never fully decomposes. Over time it goes through a process of photo degradation and breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces
  • These substances cannot be converted by any known organisms and as such remain as plastic in landfills, rivers and oceans
  • In a 1998 survey of the North Pacific Ocean, 89% of waste observed was plastic products
  • Sea turtles, whales and dolphins are among sea animals being directly affected by plastic waste products, often mistaking plastic bags for food, causing slow and painful deaths to these animals over a prolonged period of time.(cleangreenbags.com)
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