Originally Posted by kpickell
I don't think there's any real threat of a tree shortage. I only use paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic utensils. I'll wash and reuse the cups sometimes, everything else is trashed. The only thing I wash are pots and pans once a month or so.
---Its not just the "paper" from the trees. There's a lot more that goes into it:
-The tree must be cut down.
-then driven to a pulping factory.
-They guys need to be paid to cut down the tree and drive the truck.
-The gas is used for the truck. (probably diesel, which is particularly bad for the air.)
-The factory that does the pulping, puts emmissions into the air.
-The factory uses electricty from the electricity plant which puts emissions into the air.
-All the people working at the pulping factory have to drive their cars to work, using gas, putting emmissions into the air.
-The pulped wood gets transported to the paper factory.
-Gas is used to transport it. (diesel)
-The guys have to be paid to drive the truck.
-The paper factory puts emissions into the air.
-It also uses electricity from the electricity plant, which puts emmissions into the air.
-All the people that work there, drive. (see point above)
-After the paper plates are made, they're packaged in plastic (more emmissions), then transported, not once, but twice or more to the warehouses of companies that sell the paper plates. (trucks/diesel)
-People drive (emmissions) to the store (which uses electricity) to get the paper plates.
-People use paper plates once, then throw them away. The garbage man then has to pick up more garbage than he would if the person wouldn't use paper plates, resulting in more gas usage (diesel, probably), and emmissions.
[I'm sure I'm missing some steps in this equation, but I think I've got most of it.]
Or--you could use traditional plates which are made once, transported once, then wash and re-use them.
(I came to the massive realization recently of all that goes into 1 piece of junk mail, and the production of paper plates is not too far off from that. I'm trying my darndest to cut down as much as possible on my garbage creation.)