Paper or Plastic?
ESU201  Earth Systems
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In dealing with most of the problems we face on this planet, we consider Earth to be a closed system. That is, everything we have on this planet is all we get. With rare exceptions, nothing enters or leaves the system. Furthermore, everything affects everything else.

There is a wide variety of issues associated with the manufacture, use, and discard of plastic and paper bags. Each of these factors is linked to countless other parts of the Earth system.

We can explore the question of which type of bag to use from several different viewpoints:

  • Strength of the bag or its ability to carry a load (physics)
  • Financial costs to the consumer (economics)
  • Environmental factors related to the manufacture or discard of bags (chemistry)
  • Impacts on living organisms (biology)

To come up with a justifiable answer to the question, you need to get a "Big Picture" view of the situation and analyze it from many perspectives.

Click here... for a more detailed explanation of Earth system science.

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