A plastic bag is a flexible packaging made of thin, flexible, plastic film. Plastic bags are used for containing and transporting foods such as produce and bread. Plastic bags are also used to transport waste, garbage, and chemicals. Many shopping stores use plastic bags to pack groceries and clothes for the customer. Some shopping stores charge a fee for a bag.
Plastic bags are made of polyethylene-LDPE (most common), polypropylene, woven plastic fibers, and sometimes even laminates. Some specialty bags, such as blood bags, are made of plasticized PVC and cellophane.
Plastic bags can usually use less material then boxes, cartons, and jars. They are considered reduced or minimized packing.
Plastic bags are recyclable, but not many people know this or contribute to this action. Plastic bags can be incinerated in appropriate facilities for waste to energy conversion. If disposed of improperly, it can create unslightly litter and can be harmful to wildlife.
Plastic[edit | edit source]
Over 200 million tons of plastic are manufactured annually worldwide, 26 million tons produced in the United States. Of those 26 million tons of plastic, only 5.8% are recycled. The manufacturing of plastics often creates large quantities of chemical pollutants. Plastics are durable and degrade very slowly. Burning plastic can release toxic fumes. These fumes contain greenhouse gases, which contributes to climate change.
An international plastic company, which will remain nameless, has 4 different manufacturing plants in the world, 2 in the United States. They manufacture 35 different types of plastic bags all made with LDPE, also known as polyethylene. You can only imagine the chemical pollutants coming out of these plants! In the United States, the plants contain a total of 17 extrusion lines and produce 3,500,000 pounds of plastic in one month! That means in one year, this company alone will produce a total of 42,000,000 (42 million) pounds of plastic. Most of these plastic bags will then be used once and disposed of incorrectly.
What needs to be done?[edit | edit source]
First things first, if plastic manufacturers are going to stink around, which they probably will in our lifetime, we need to start reusing plastic bags. Start by reusing plastic bags that you receive in the grocery store. Then, you can recycle the bags when you do not need them anymore. You can also reuse plastic shopping bags from department stores. They are more durable and can be used over and over again.
Another alternative for plastic bags is not using them at all! You can purchase cloth totes/bags to use for your everyday needs. You can use them for groceries and shopping. All you have to do is take them with you when you go shopping and ask the cashier to bag your items in your own cloth bags. And the best part is...you can wash them in the washing machine if they happen to get dirty! You can't do that with plastic bags!
If everyone decided to buy their own shopping totes and used them when they went shopping instead of the plastic bags the stores give out, the plastic companies would be in big trouble. Also, since the stores won't need to order anymore plastic bags for customers, they will be able to lower prices on their merchandise. It's a win-win situation.
Cloth Bag Manufacturer[edit | edit source]
I found a company that specializes in cloth totes/bags that are all made from the natural fiber of cotton. Cotton production is very efficient and contains cellulose which is a natural polymer. The cellulose gives the cotton fibers a high degree of strength and durability. Plus, you can wash cotton again and again and it will not melt or deteriorate like plastic. You can order your totes and have them specially made for you with designs, words, or even you name on them! Also, you can carry up to 18 ounces per square foot of fabric. This is much more than a regular plastic bag.
There are many ways to make these cotton totes/bags. To be environmental friendly, you can use hand spinning wheels (mule spinning) to spin cotton or a cotton spinning mill that is powered by a water power system.
What you need to do[edit | edit source]
To be environmental friendly and to put plastic manufacturers out of business, buy cloth tote bags to take with you when you go shopping for anything! You can reuse them as much as you want and they are washing machine safe! If you want your children or grandchildren to life in a world with fresh, clean air and not have to worry about climate change, then you need to do this for them and yourself.
Cloth tote bags are inexpensive and will last. Be a trend setter. When people see you in stores with your own shopping bags they will ask you what your doing. You can simply explain you are trying to save the Earth. The trend will catch on. They always do!
References[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia Website, 2007. 
Asaco Industries Website, 2007. 
External Links[edit | edit source]
- EcoBag String Bags are excellent alternative to plastic.
 say "no to plastic straws and bags" in 9 languages