Thousands of bags can be produced in only a minute of time, and since the process is so easy, it keeps the cost of the plastic bags down to an affordable price. Because of environmental and litter problems, some locations are working toward a phase-out of lightweight plastic bags. The machinery seals the two strips together at predetermined points to form the sides and sealed bottom of each bag.
What about bags made out of cornstarch or other biodegradable materials? Disposable bags made out of cornstarch, sugarcane, or other plant products may not be as sturdy, cost more to manufacture, and require greenhouse emissions to produce.
And why spend energy and resources creating something that will simply be thrown away after one use? Why not build a resuable plastic bag—something bigger, thicker, with handles? If consumers are going to pay for higher-quality, reusable bags, why not make them out of a material that causes less harm to produce and will last longer? That said, some stores sell reusable bags made out of recycled plastic, and many fit into your pocket to make carrying them around easier.
Reusing bags saves stores money. Why don't they make it worth our while to bring our own bags? Whole Foods takes five or ten cents depending on the store off the bill for each bag you bring and use. Aldi doesn't give out any free bags—it charges a nickel for a paper bag and a dime for a heavy plastic one. How am I supposed to remember to bring a bag every time I leave the house? Keep bags in your car or next to your bike or at work—so you'll have one handy anytime you might make a purchase.
Other places have banned plastic bags. Neither the mayor nor local businesses appear to want a ban. But that's really a question for your alderman.
Who is my alderman, and how can I reach him or her? Go to the City Council page on the city clerk's Web site http: Your alderman's name and contact information will appear. Or you can always call the city's info line at Switch to the mobile version of this page.
What are plastic bags made out of? Where do they all go? What's better—paper or plastic bags? Aren't plastic bags cheaper than paper? Can't plastic bags be recycled? It does—as long as it's made out of plastic types 1 through 5 or 7. What you need to know about plastic bags now. Subscribe to this thread:. Chicago Underground Comedy Beat Kitchen. Tabbed Event Search All. The polyethylene used in most plastic shopping bags is either low-density resin identification code 4 or, more often, high-density resin identification code 2.
Plastic shopping bags are commonly manufactured by blown film extrusion. Some modern bags are made of vegetable-based bioplastics , which can decay organically and prevent a build-up of toxic plastic bags in landfills and the natural environment. Bags can also be made from degradable polyethylene film or from polylactic acid PLA , a biodegradable polymer derived from lactic acid. In general, biodegradable plastic bags need to be kept separate from conventional plastic recycling systems.
Biodegradable plastics are plastics that are decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually bacteria. Two basic classes of biodegradable plastics exist: Bioplastics, whose components are derived from renewable raw materials, and plastics made from petrochemicals containing biodegradable additives which enhance biodegradation.
Because plastic bags are so durable, this makes them a concern for the environment. They will not break down easily and as a result are very harmful to wildlife. Each year millions of discarded plastic shopping bags end up as plastic waste litter in the environment when improperly disposed of. Due to their durability, plastic bags can take centuries to decompose.
The use lifespan of a bag is approximately 12 minutes of use. On land, plastic bags are one of the most prevalent types of litter in inhabited areas. Large buildups of plastic bags can clog drainage systems and contribute to flooding, as occurred in Bangladesh in and  and almost annually in Manila. The number of plastic grocery bags disposed of in the U.
Phasing out plastic bags is a viable option, however, there are many that argue that this puts a strain on businesses and makes it more difficult for the customer to take goods home. Many states have used legislation to stop the banning of plastic bags. Plastic bags were found to constitute a significant portion of the floating marine debris in the waters around southern Chile in a study conducted between and Plastic shopping bags are in most cases not accepted by standard curbside recycling programs ; though their composition is often identical to other accepted plastics, they pose problems for the single-stream recycling process, as most of the sorting equipment is designed for rigid plastics such as bottles ,  so plastic bags often end up clogging wheels or belts, or being confused as paper and contaminating the pulp produced later in the stream.
Some large store chains have banned plastic shopping bags such as Whole Foods in the U. Heavy-duty plastic shopping bags are suitable for reuse as reusable shopping bags. Lighter weight bags are often reused as trash bags or to pick up pet feces. All types of plastic shopping bag can be recycled into new bags where effective collection schemes exist.
This corresponded to more than ,, pounds , tonnes of bags and plastic film being recycled in alone. Several countries, regions, and cities have enacted legislation to ban or severely reduce the use of disposable plastic shopping bags.
Outright bans have been introduced in some countries,  notably China , Chile  which banned very thin plastic bags nationwide in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Great Pacific garbage patch. Phase-out of lightweight plastic bags. Plastic Brief Carrier Bag Retrieved 17 April Retrieved 15 October Retrieved 2 July Plastic Bag Laws Organisation.
Retrieved 3 July Retrieved 4 January Retrieved 22 January Retrieved 28 November Wayne; Fletcher, Wade D. Retrieved 1 December International Trade Commission May Retrieved 9 October Retrieved 14 February Retrieved 7 June Retrieved 26 November Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation.
Retrieved 5 September
Plastic bags are popular for a number of reasons. The bags are very cheap and can be used for so many different purposes. And, despite what many people think, the bags can also be recycled and reused a number of times. Creating a plastic bag is a fairly simple process, which is . Plastic bags are found nearly everywhere. We incorporate them for such diverse uses as freezing food, sealing a sandwich, carrying groceries and toting books. The process for making plastic bags is similar across manufacturers, although some may add a few proprietary steps or use specialized equipment. What are plastic bags made out of? "Plastic" refers to different materials made from carbon (which is usually drawn from petroleum), used in anything from milk jugs to vinyl jackets. Household products, including shopping bags, are typically printed with a number to make sorting and recycling easier.