...paper bags also don't break down in landfills. In fact, nothing completely degrades in modern landfills because of the lack of water, light, oxygen and other important elements that are necessary for the degradation process to be completed. Also, paper bags takes up more space than a plastic bag in a landfill
...take more of out natural resources to make
...it takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag
...most paper comes from tree pulp, so the impact of paper bag production on forests is enormous. In 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone. Paper bag production delivers a global warming double-whammy forests (major absorbers of greenhouse gases) have to be cut down, and then the subsequent manufacturing of bags produces greenhouse gases.
...the majority of kraft paper is made by heating wood chips under pressure at high temperatures in a chemical solution. As evidenced by the unmistakable stench commonly associated with paper mills, the use of these toxic chemicals contributes to both air pollution, such as acid rain, and water pollution. Millions of gallons of these chemicals pour into our waterways each year; the toxicity of the chemicals is long-term and settles into the sediments, working its way through the food chain.
...paper sacks generate 70% more air and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags
...it takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. (But recycling rates of either type of disposable bag are extremely low, with only 10 to 15% of paper bags and 1 to 3% of plastic bags being recycled, according to the Wall Street Journal)
On another note, why the ridiculous difference between what scrap metal goes for according to sites such as metalprices.com and the amount people actually get at recycling centers? I once started to get into recycling aluminum cans until I found that it would take 44 freakin' pounds just to pay for my gas to the nearest recycling center when it would only take 11 pounds at full price. How's that supposed to encourage recycling? Why can't individuals just take their scrap directly to the people who pay full price?