You might be surprised to hear that paper and plastic bags both have some significant pros and cons. Most know about the amount of litter produced by the number of plastic grocery bags used in America. These bags can also be harmful to wildlife, take hundreds (or even thousands) of years to decompose in landfills, and cause problems with machines used for recycling and are strongly discouraged from being recycled in the County recycling bins. However, paper bags use an enormous amount of water to produce and also use paper from trees that could be soaking up carbon dioxide. Additionally, paper bags use 91% more energy per pound to recycle than plastic bags and emit more air pollution and greenhouse gases during production. There are things you can do with your spare or leftover paper and plastics bags? Paper bags can be used as compost material. According to the EPA, most inks are safe for composting as they are soy-based. These bags can also be recycled! Fill your paper bags with recyclables and drop the bag and all in a recycling bin. Paper bags can also be used as textbook covers or even as DIY large envelopes. As for plastic bags, start by using them for their original purpose and reuse them for your next trip to the grocery store. Plastic bags are also typically collected for recycling at your local grocery or retail store. They also make great mailing fillers and can even be donated to food pantries, used bookstores and libraries.