Colorado shoppers will be able to keep using plastic grocery bags after lawmakers stopped what would have been the nation's first statewide ban on plastic grocery bags. Lawmakers successfully lobbied that the ban would lead to increased use of paper bags, which take more energy and money to produce, and take up more room in landfills than plastic bags.

However, bill sponsor Sen. Jennifer Veiga believes there was political, and personal, motivation behind the decision as well. “No other states have passed such bans yet and I think Colorado lawmakers were wary of being the first. Also, I have been contacted by constituents who didn't want to have to give up their plastic bags.”

Lawmakers in several other states such as Hawaii, Missouri, New Jersey and New York are considering launching similar bans on plastic bags this year. And nine other states are considering adding fees to plastic bags, ranging from 3 cents in Vermont to 25 cents in California.

Veiga claims that plastic bags pose a bigger problem than paper ones “because they're used more widely, they're made with petroleum products, and they aren't recycled as much as paper.” Sen. Ted Harvey said the bill’s intentions are good but said banning plastic bags wouldn't help the environment.

“Human nature says that people will go toward the most convenient product, and that is the paper bag,” said Harvey.

San Francisco has passed a plastic bag ban, and plastic shopping bags will be banned from stores in Los Angeles beginning July 1, 2010. Shoppers can either bring their own bags or pay 25 cents for a paper or biodegradable bag.

So what are your thoughts on this issue? Paper or plastic?