The debate over which bag is more environmentally friendly has recently come to an impasse. People long assumed paper was the logical choice because the bags could be readily recycled and would naturally degrade. Plastic, while inexpensive to manufacture and transport, will never biodegrade (and may very well end up floating in the Pacific ocean.) Unfortunately, paper's benefits at the end of the line are largely outweighed by the disproportionally large amount of water and energy needed to make them in the first place. Not to mention, both will take up landfill space if simply tossed in the trash.