1.A history of the plastic shopping bag
Polythene is the world’s most popular plastic and is used to make billions of carrier bags each year.
Yet it was first discovered, by accident, at a Cheshire chemical plant near Northwich.
Now, the story of polythene, and its role in saving thousand of lives in World War II, is revealed thanks to one man’s secret keepsake now included in the BBC’s History of the World.
1965 – The one-piece polyethylene shopping bag is patented by the Swedish company Celloplast. Designed by engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin, the plastic bag quickly begins to replace cloth and plastic in Europe.
1979 – Already controlling 80% of the bag market in Europe, plastic bags go abroad and are widely introduced to the United States. Plastic companies begin to aggressively market their product as superior to paper and reusable bags.
1982 – Safeway and Kroger, two of the biggest supermarket chains in the United States, switch to plastic bags. More stores follow suit and by the end of the decade plastic bags will have almost replaced paper around the world.
2. Benefits of Plastic Bags
True. Plastic bags are not safe for environment. They are not easy to recycle. They may cause several health hazards. And there are so many things that can go against the plastic bags.
However, it can’t be denied that they are the most functional and convenient packaging option for businesses and consumers. From shopping, retailing to parceling, plastic bags is used around the world on a large scale. Nearly 500 billion plastic bags are used on a yearly basis, and most of them are used for shopping purpose.
So, the benefits of plastic bags can’t be overlooked just because they are environmental threat.
Here we have pondered over the benefits of plastic bags for both retailers and customers:
Good for Branding:
If you run a store or supermarket, it is pretty easy for you to print your business’s name, logo and other information on the plastic bags. And good thing is that it is simple to make changes in the design.
Cheaper than Paper or Cloth Packaging:
A piece of plastic bag will cost you no more than .25 cent which is much cheaper than a paper bag costing 5 cent or more per piece. You have to spend few dollars for reusable cloth bags. It means that purchasing plastic bags in bulk will be beneficial for your small business and profit margins.
Quicker to Open and Pack:
Plastic bags are quicker to open, pack and double up, saving you few seconds. This is why they are widely used by busy cashiers to keep lines moving efficiently. In addition, plastic bags take up less space than paper bags, both in storage and at cashier point. In contrast to the plastic bags, reusable cloth bags consume more space and are considerable heavier.
Most of the plastic bags are biodegradable, meaning that they can be broken down in a reasonable amount of time when thrown in the waste. They are decomposed in three years while an average time for an ordinary plastic bag to completely decompose is at least 500 years. This is because biodegradable bags are decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. Biodegradable plastic bags leave no trace behind and are safe for the environment.
Consuming Less Energy:
The manufacturing process of plastic bag is energy efficient while the solid waste percentage is less. A plastic bag consumes up to 40% less energy to make and causes 70 % less solid waste than a paper bag.
Durable and Weatherproof:
Plastic bags are known for their durability. They are less vulnerable to tearing and are resistant to many chemicals. Plastic bags outperform paper or cloth bags when it comes to protect the contents from rain or water.
So, these are some incredible advantages of using plastic bags for your business and home.
Despite being an affordable and durable packaging solution, plastic bags would end up in landfill and ocean and pollute the planet.
In this scenario, you should reuse your plastic bags as much as possible before throwing them away. Leave the rest on the recycling.
It will help you avoid many downsides of using plastic bags, like their percentage to the waste and their inability to biodegrade when thrown away. It will also slow down the rate of the waste being piled up at landfills and ocean.
There are many benefits of plastic bags, and by recycling them thoroughly, both consumers and businesses can benefit from their utilization in an eco-friendly way.