Apple Stores to use paper, not plastic, bags in environmental push, report says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2016
Like many retailers looking to go green, Apple reportedly plans to phase out its familiar plastic shopping bags in mid-April, with the drawstring design to be replaced by environmentally friendly paper bags made out of recycled materials.




Apple informed retail employees of the upcoming policy shift in an email on Monday, noting the change will be made effective on April 15, reports 9to5Mac. The letter was supposedly sent out by Ricialg Panlaqui who, according to her LinkedIn profile, works as a visual marketing project manager at Apple.

We're committed to leaving the world better than we found it. One bag at a time. So on April 15, we'll switch to paper shopping bags made from 80 percent recycled materials. These bags come in medium and large.

When customers are buying a product, ask if they need a bag. They may decide they don't. And you'll encourage them to be even more environmentally friendly.

If you still have plastic bags in stock, use them before you switch to the new paper bags.

The letter goes on to direct personnel to Apple's Environmental Responsibility webpage for further information.

Apple has long touted efforts to minimize -- in some cases offset -- its impact on the environment, from using renewable and safe materials in manufacturing to designing minimalist, eco-friendly packaging for its various device lineups. Considering the sheer number of products purchased at the average Apple Store, the current shopping bags, while beneficial to brand awareness, likely require huge amounts of plastic to produce. A greener alternative was introduced with the custom Apple Watch totes introduced last year, as seen above.

As Apple's eco-friendly efforts apply to packaging, the company last year purchased more than 36,000 acres of vulnerable forest in Maine and North Carolina, with an eye on using the land to harvest sustainable materials for paper production. To limit impact on the world's virgin fiber resources, Apple later expanded the forestry program to include 1 million acres of managed land in China.

Most recently, the company released its annual Supplier Responsibility report for 2016, which noted new energy efficiency programs prevented more than 13,800 metric tons of carbon emissions.
paxman
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    Huh???  The original purpose of switching from paper to plastic was to save trees.  I guess the question is:

    Kill a tree or fill a landfill?

    Environmentalists are never satisfied.
    edited April 2016 redraider11Raybandjdwtallest skilcnocbuidesignrrazorpitwilliamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 37
    Soooo I guess Apple didn't get the memo that plastic takes up less room in landfills and takes less energy to make than paper meaning less "greenhouse" gases. Guess they care more about appearing to be "green" than actually being green. Love the products they make, but idiotic people pretending to be green without knowing the facts piss me off. Go ahead and keep driving your "zero" emissions electric cars while you're at it...idiots. 
    tallest skilelectrotechcnocbuidesignr
  • Reply 3 of 37
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    And you can even reuse the drawstrings as shoelaces!
    radarthekatpscooter63baconstanglolliver
  • Reply 4 of 37
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Even though it may be greener to produce a plastic bag than a paper bag plastic pollution is a terrible thing. 'Single use plastic' products should be avoided at all costs. Plastics are destroying our oceans and plastic bags are just unnecessary in spite of being very convenient.
    ArrowOfTimekevin keepscooter63baconstanglondorlolliverfotoformatcrowleyirelandronn
  • Reply 5 of 37
    redraider11, I guess you didn't get the memo that the plastic bags are made from oil products and can remain in the environment for centuries. Paper products are made from renewable (and in this case recycled) resources that also offset the production process to some extent. If they do end up in landfil they also break down unlike plastic bags.
    kevin keebaconstanglondorlollivermessagepad2100afrodrijony0
  • Reply 6 of 37
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member
    Huh???  The original purpose of switching from paper to plastic was to save trees.  I guess the question is:

    Kill a tree or fill a landfill?

    Environmentalists are never satisfied.

    Killing trees isn't so bad when you also plant them to ensure a steady supply in a sustainably managed way. Not to mention use of recycled paper so that it doesn't take as many trees to begin with. It isn't about being satisfied. It is about improving upon what you are doing if a better method comes along. 
    jfc1138kevin keeradarthekatpscooter63baconstanglondorlollivercrowleyronnmessagepad2100
  • Reply 7 of 37
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Huh???  The original purpose of switching from paper to plastic was to save trees.  I guess the question is:

    Kill a tree or fill a landfill?

    Environmentalists are never satisfied.
    Paper trees are a crop much like corn. These aren't old growth 
    radarthekatbaconstanglondorlollivercrowleyronnafrodrijony0
  • Reply 8 of 37
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,388member
    Soooo I guess Apple didn't get the memo that plastic takes up less room in landfills and takes less energy to make than paper meaning less "greenhouse" gases. Guess they care more about appearing to be "green" than actually being green. Love the products they make, but idiotic people pretending to be green without knowing the facts piss me off. Go ahead and keep driving your "zero" emissions electric cars while you're at it...idiots. 
    Paper shouldn't be going to landfill, it should be turned to compost first then topsoil.
    Paper might use more energy but none of the energy or materials used need* to have ground input.

    So Paper can be made closed environmental cycle where as plastic requires well below topsoil inputs to be made. 

    *They probably do use buckets and buckets of ground carbon and that should be Apple's next mission once they hit all paper packaging.
    radarthekatbaconstanglollivermessagepad2100afrodrijony0
  • Reply 9 of 37
    stourquestourque Posts: 364member
    Many pulp and paper mills are located along rivers so they can produce their own hydraulic energy.
    radarthekatlollivercrowleymessagepad2100jony0
  • Reply 10 of 37
    RaybandRayband Posts: 1member
    Huh???  The original purpose of switching from paper to plastic was to save trees.  I guess the question is:

    Kill a tree or fill a landfill?

    Environmentalists are never satisfied.
    Also how many of us use the plastic bags to store cables, power cords, Apple devices and keep clutter in one spot. I don't think I have thrown one Apple plastic bag away as they have too many uses to throw them in the garbage.
    I was shopping in Nantucket when they had one of their many monsoonal downpours my environmentally friendly paper bags (with clothes in them) literally fell apart! 
    Rethink this Apple give people the option.
    baconstangcnocbuiredraider11messagepad2100
  • Reply 11 of 37
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    The last time that I shopped at Trader Joe's, the person who was ringing up my purchases asks me if I prefer a paper bag or plastic.

    Sorry, it's gotta be plastic, I reply with a grin on my face. Easier to carry and much more convenient, planet Earth be damned. 

    I've probably written this before, but one of my goals in life is to drastically increase my carbon footprint and get it more in line with the overall consumption level of various heroes of the green movement, such as Apple board member Al Gore. I still have a long way to go before I can ever catch up with him, but I am working on it. It's not easy, but patience is required.
    edited April 2016 designrboltsfan17
  • Reply 12 of 37
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,289member
    People forgot the keyword here is renewable. Trees can be planted, oil not so much (and biodegradable plastic is even worse).
    lollivermessagepad2100
  • Reply 13 of 37
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,150member
    mattinoz said:

    Paper shouldn't be going to landfill, it should be turned to compost first then topsoil.
    Paper might use more energy but none of the energy or materials used need* to have ground input.

    So Paper can be made closed environmental cycle where as plastic requires well below topsoil inputs to be made. 

    *They probably do use buckets and buckets of ground carbon and that should be Apple's next mission once they hit all paper packaging.
    Yes but most paper is bleached to get that white look which makes it more toxic than plastic as plastic can be reused over and over again whereas paper has only a limited life.

    That being said:

    Go ahead and keep driving your "zero" emissions electric cars while you're at it...idiots. 
    Any idiot knows that a car driven by an electric motor is clean and has no emissions. You can claim that they use fossil fuels to charge the battery except in most European countries, New Zealand, and most of Australia where their energy is 100% renewable and clean (New Zealand uses natural gas, thermal, hydro, and wind). It's dirty old America that is lagging behind in clean tech. Hell China is catching up and will surpass you soon.

    Incidentally a petrol engine at best is ~35% fuel efficient, diesel is at best ~75%, whereas electric cars are ~95% and use nothing when parked up in a traffic jam. So whatever issues electric cars have they are offset by the benefits in general.
    crowleymessagepad2100
  • Reply 14 of 37
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 579member
    paxman said:
    Even though it may be greener to produce a plastic bag than a paper bag plastic pollution is a terrible thing. 'Single use plastic' products should be avoided at all costs. Plastics are destroying our oceans and plastic bags are just unnecessary in spite of being very convenient.
    I always reused my plastic Apple bags.  They were designed to be carried as a bag, slung over the shoulde, or as a backpack. I used then to carry and store cables and computer stuff.  I used them to "wrap" gifts.  The only time they ever saw a landfill was  if the plastic or strings broke, which wasn't very often (they were designed for multi-use).

    looking at the photo of the new bag, I'm not so sure it can be recycled because of the coating.  It may be made from 80% recycled paper pulp but it may not be recyclable.  

    Where i live plastic grocery bags are banned and paper bags cost money at checkout.   I now have to buy plastic bags as trash bags, whereas before I could recycle my grocery bags.   It's stupid...
    jdwai46
  • Reply 15 of 37
    6Sgoldfish6Sgoldfish Posts: 108member
    Appearances be damned indeed. After all, plastic is recyclable. 
  • Reply 16 of 37
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 868member
    emoeller said:
    paxman said:
    Even though it may be greener to produce a plastic bag than a paper bag plastic pollution is a terrible thing. 'Single use plastic' products should be avoided at all costs. Plastics are destroying our oceans and plastic bags are just unnecessary in spite of being very convenient.

    looking at the photo of the new bag, I'm not so sure it can be recycled because of the coating.  It may be made from 80% recycled paper pulp but it may not be recyclable.  

    coating is just wax. It's easily recycled.
    afrodri
  • Reply 17 of 37
    Soooo I guess Apple didn't get the memo that plastic takes up less room in landfills and takes less energy to make than paper meaning less "greenhouse" gases. Guess they care more about appearing to be "green" than actually being green. Love the products they make, but idiotic people pretending to be green without knowing the facts piss me off. Go ahead and keep driving your "zero" emissions electric cars while you're at it...idiots. 
    There are so many people who care mostly about the optics rather than the true energy cost and true impact. I am also greatly saddened that Apple jumped into this idiocy. I hope they produce a true environmental impact study to show the comparison of the plastic and the paper including the recyclability of each.
    designr
  • Reply 18 of 37
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Huh???  The original purpose of switching from paper to plastic was to save trees.  I guess the question is:

    Kill a tree or fill a landfill?

    Environmentalists are never satisfied.
    I'm willing to bet no studies have been made on which bag secures more carbon either. Obviously either type of bag will emit carbon during its production but paper decomposes rather quickly in the environment release carbon and other gasses. On top of that what is the real recycle rate of these materials. I've never been convinced that one type of disposable bag is better than another. If Apple really wanted to help the environment they would focus on reusable bags. It wouldn't matter what a reusable bag is made of either.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    redraider11, I guess you didn't get the memo that the plastic bags are made from oil products and can remain in the environment for centuries. Paper products are made from renewable (and in this case recycled) resources that also offset the production process to some extent. If they do end up in landfil they also break down unlike plastic bags.
    This is the problem though paper breaks down releasing a significant amount of carbon and other gasses. The carbon content of a piece of plastic can be tied up for centuries. By the way not all plastics come from crude oil these days. Beyond that I'm not convinced that the production costs to the environment favor paper. I really don't see paper as the easy win that people think it is.
    designr
  • Reply 20 of 37
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Huh???  The original purpose of switching from paper to plastic was to save trees.  I guess the question is:

    Kill a tree or fill a landfill?

    Environmentalists are never satisfied.

    Killing trees isn't so bad when you also plant them to ensure a steady supply in a sustainably managed way. Not to mention use of recycled paper so that it doesn't take as many trees to begin with. It isn't about being satisfied. It is about improving upon what you are doing if a better method comes along. 
    The question here is pretty simple is paper a better answer for this use case.   I really don't think people have researched this in depth as we seem to have more people simply guessing that this is the right course of action.  

    When it comes right down to it the right course of action is to avoid disposable bags in the first place.  This seems to make more sense to me.  
    redraider11
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