Environmental controversy – waste and human health

This week’s environmental controversy is centered on waste and human health. It addresses the question, should consumers have to pay for plastic or paper bags at grocery and other stores? Using the references below, write a 1-2 paragraph response to the questions posed to you. Remember to cite your sources using APA.

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Background Information

Your textbook discusses the controversies associated with requiring consumers to pay for plastic and paper bags at their supermarkets and other stores. Advocates of the consumer pay system argue that bags are harmful to the environment and that under this system people would be encouraged to buy cloth bags or other reusable containers. Critics reply that many supermarkets already have drop bins for recycling old bags. They also argue that instead of making consumers pay for bags, individuals that provide their own bags should be given discounts from the store.

references References

Use these references to help answer the questions that follow. You may want to also search the Internet for additional resources.

Query, S. (2007). Paper or Plastic. E – The Environmental Magazine, 18(6), 22. http://search.ebscohost.com

USE the attached article Link 1

Bob Condor. (21 March). New plastic bags that dispose of themselves! Knight Ridder Tribune News Service,1.

USE the attached article Link 2


Based on what you have read, do you believe that consumers should have to pay for plastic or paper bags at grocery and other stores? What arguments most influenced your decision? How would you explain your position to someone who disagrees with you?


Information:  For paper support


The United States with about 50% of the world’s population produces 33% of the world’s solid waste and 75% of its hazardous waste. Mining, oil and gas production, agriculture, sewage treatment, and industry produce 98.5% of the solid waste. The remaining 1.5% is municipal solid waste, which is discarded by homes and businesses. Visit ScoreCard.org (http://www.scorecard.org/) for information on polluting in your community. By typing in your zip code, you will receive information on local polluters, Superfund sites, and lead contamination in your area. The key to achieving a low waste society is to produce less waste and pollution.

To minimize the environmental effects of waste disposal, we bury it in landfills or incinerate the waste. The alternative to waste and prevention is to reduce, refuse, reuse, and recycle. Access the website Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/index.htm) from the Environmental Protection Agency for further ideas on this topic. Recycling uses wastes to produce new products. Paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle. The United States recycles about half of its waste paper. Buying recycled paper can save trees, energy, and reduce pollution.

Plastic production produces hazardous wastes. Most plastics are non-degradable and can release toxic compounds into landfills. Very little plastic is recycled because plastics are difficult to isolate from other wastes.

In the United States, hazardous wastes are disposed of in deep underground wells, surface impoundments, secure hazardous waste landfills, and underground storage. Some of these wastes leak out and contaminate the groundwater. Some wastes are exported to other countries. The Basel Convention on Hazardous Waste bans all exports of hazardous wastes from developed countries to developing countries. The 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act governs the management of hazardous wastes. The 1980 Superfund Act provides a trust fund for identifying and cleaning up hazardous waste sites, but there have been ongoing attempts to weaken the law. Toxic military dumps are not covered. Brownfields are abandoned and contaminated industrial and commercial sites that can be cleaned up and redeveloped. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/index.html) to learn about brownfields.




Wright, Richard T., Boorse, D. F. (2017). Environmental Science: Toward A Sustainable Future, 13th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781323445358/



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