Friday Fun — Paper or Plastic?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Paper or Plastic? Your free wheeling thoughts.

Susan Nye: I’m old school so definitely paper, except for groceries – both buying them and carting them home. I never carry cash so everything goes on the card. To lug everything home, I keep a collection of canvas bags in every size and shape in the back of my car. After that, give me a choice between a book to hold on to or a tape to listen to or watch, I’ll take the book every time. There is something very satisfying about turning the pages.


headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: I‘m hunting for a new desk. As I shared a couple of weeks ago in a weekend edition, the enormous drafting table that has been my work space for the last seven or so years is just too big to fit properly into my new place. So, I’m trying to find something smaller that I can tuck into a corner of the living room without mucking up the space. As I toured Google, etsy, and Houzz looking at desk after desk after desk, I was struck by the span of the price gap between “plastic” (fake wood, pressboard, and veneers) and the real thing. And, while the plastic desks are – I’m sure – quite serviceable, I have decided that only real wood will do for this writer.

I may end up paying more (though that remains to be seen since my beau may help me make something really special), but I spend a lot of time at my desk. I mean, a lot of time. This is where I do my creative work. I want it to be a place that feels good, a place that is warm, inviting, and beautiful. I want a place that speaks to my nature lover’s soul. I want a desk that was once part of a living thing – a tree.

So, at least when it comes to my writing desk, it’s “paper” for me all the way … albeit in it’s more raw form.


Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson: When shopping, it’s canvas bags whenever possible, but plastic otherwise because of the ease of being able to carry multiple bags up multiple staircases.

But I’m still all about the paper when it comes to reading a book – can’t make the leap to an e-reader. Holding a plastic (or metal) shell and looking at a screen just doesn’t work for me. I’m sure it will some day, but not yet.

Using paper plates and plastic utensils are a great way for me to avoid having dishes to do and everything can be recycled which is an extra bonus.

I keep paper business cards I’m given in plastic sleeves within a folio.

Most of my spending is through using plastic (card) to keep track of expenses and paper (cash) is for fun things or splurges.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: My son slept at school today so we had Movie Night after supper and I made popcorn. I used a paper bag to shake up the freshly popped popcorn with a little salt and butter, so I’m all for paper! I use reusable bags for the grocery store but still have the plastic ones hanging around once in a while. I try to limit them, as well as use my camelbak reusable water bottle rather than the disposable plastic bottles. When clients come to my home I offer them a glass of filtered water rather than a bottle because I try to reuse and recycle as much as I can.

I love reading a paper book, but I also use the Kindle app on my phone to read in stolen moments. I have to say I only buy “real” books now if they are books I plan to re-read or take  a lot of notes on, as I find it difficult to take notes and find quotes on the Kindle. But you can’t really take the Kindle into the bathtub (or at least I can’t, as I have a habit of dropping things, no matter how expensive!) so I’ll always have a few books and magazines around!

dll2013_124x186Deborah Lee Luskin. Canvas (for groceries); paper (for books); pixels (for writing).




hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: Paper for bags, though I try and remember to bring fabric bags whenever possible. Plastic for currency, which surprises me, as I used to make fun of my students because they never had cash. I have cash from last weekend, and keep forgetting to use it. And I can go either way with the books, though having a Kindle app on my phone is my go to whenever I am stuck somewhere. And plastic for jewelry works for me–I just got a fab necklace that is big, bold, black and white with sparkles. And plastic.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas: I’d like to say that I only do canvas for bags, but far too often I forget to being them, however I am a devoted fan of backpacks and usually have one or two filled with supplies nearby. For books, I prefer paper (much to my dismay as I look at the piles and piles around my house.) And for a writing desk? wood, preferably on old desk that comes pre-filled with stories like the huge oak desk I found at Goodwill for $30.





10 thoughts on “Friday Fun — Paper or Plastic?

  1. Too many fond memories of the brown paper sacks in my life to let them go by the wayside. Should we be more concerned about the trees that are replenished or the ever growing landfills full of plastic waiting for eternity to decompose for some unknown benefit to our planet.

    That being said, I like the convenience of the plastic bags at the grocery store but hate the fact they experiment on the thinnest millage to save a cent at the expense of an occasional “oops!” when the bag boy overloads the bag and the handles snap. But if we are not too lazy, there are reuseable shopping bags that can serve us well.

    Brown paper bags serve so many other purposes beyond a grocery vessel. Book covers, if you can remember how to make them, and creative costumes for the children are just a couple of examples that plastic bags cannot do for us.

    Yes, give me paper over plastic, then I can stop wondering how many of the plastic bags I should keep for some use I am not sure except to haul out the trash at a later date. Coach

  2. Great to hear different people’s views about Plastic or Paper. I’m going Plastic Free for Plastic Free July this year and don’t use a huge amount of plastic already, it’s bad for our health and food and drink especially shouldn’t be wrapped in it. It’s also horrendous for the environment, both in it’s disposal and it’s production and obviously take a thousands of years (if not more) to bio-degrade. It makes me sad to see soooo much single use plastic throw away each day. Get involved in Plastic Free July, even if it’s just by cutting down the use of plastics in your home. =)

  3. Canvas for groceries (usually I remember – I just hate all those flimsy plastic bags that don’t hold much and end up blowing out of the recycle bins all down the street.They end up in trees and mock me for months.)
    Any plastic ones are used for dog clean-ups.
    Jamie – desks are important. Try used office furniture places – any crowed used furniture place? Sometimes school districts/libraries sell off old ones – a little sanding and there’s a jewel. We have an old doctor’s office desk, a 2 seater school student cubby hole desk and chairs from a kindergarten, and a small oak kitchen table for my desk. Wood just has a different feel. There’s still life in it. – Getting more difficult to find/afford. Good luck!

    • I love your shopping ideas for a desk & agree completely about the “different feel” of wood. It’s a must!

  4. One of the things I hate about living in Ecuador is that there is no choice – everything is plastic. We try very hard to remember our canvas bags but it’s impossible to escape plastic here. Even the little organic market pre-packages so many of its items in plastic. A campaign to get rid of plastic bags really needs to happen – the results are obvious as you drive south and see the riverside bushes wearing their tattered plastic flags. It’s easy to see where most of them eventually end up – in the ocean, some maybe even headed all the way to the Galapagos.

  5. I think about that ginormous floating island of plastic in the Pacific (one of many, apparently) and am horrified. I hate plastic, unless it’s for a durable good (durable plastic? huh?) or recyclable. Living in Boulder has helped me do better, as we have pickups for garbage, comingled recycling (glass, paper, plastic), and compost—but pay the most for garbage pickup. The actual amount of garbage we generate is way way down now, and some weeks we don’t even put out the can.

    And I’m big on the canvas/reusable shopping bags. Not only are they eco-friendly, they just work better. I have these large burlap bags that hold in one what would take 2-3 paper bags and 3-5 plastic bags (especially the flimsy plastic most stores have).

  6. I love using canvas bags, but I haven’t figured out a better system for managing recycling in an apartment building than using paper bags – I can fill them up, and then take them out and dump the whole thing in on my way to the car. I suppose I could just fill a bin and take the whole thing out, then lug it back in, but it’s just a little too far for that to be a convenient system. Maybe convenience is overrated?

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