the Plastic Bag
“If civilization has risen from the Stone Age, it can rise again from the Wastepaper Age.”
~Jacques Barzun, The House of Intellect, 1959
The plastic bag, polybag or pouch is type of packaging or carry container made of a thin, flexible plastic film, plastic textile or nonwoven fabric. Plastic bags are used for a number of different things since their first patent dating back to the 1950′s in the United States and Europe. According the the UK’s Environment Agency, 76% of plastic grocery bags are reused. They estimate that 90% of individuals reuse plastic bags, and 56% of individuals reuse plastic shopping bags. This is very important because recently plastic shopping bags have been on the hit list for environmentalists. They have already been banned in some cities with more to come. The reasoning behind the ban is do to the long lasting effect plastic grocery bags will have on the environment. Even though 56% of these bags are supposedly being reused they are only being reused once or twice, which means almost all of them eventually end up back in our landfills, where they will live forever. Unfortunately, promoting a ban on a product in not necessary the answer. In most cases consumers will move from one product to another without ever taking notice of their consumption habits.
Promoting the recycling of plastic bags, rather than taxes or bans, is the best way to decrease litter and conserve valuable resources and energy. Fortunately, the vast majority of communities that have considered measures to address bag waste have opted for programs to increase recycling of this valuable material.