We can find plastic bags wherever we go shopping. It is almost impossible not to see them in the streets. But, what do we know about these plastic bags?

What is a plastic bag?

  • A plastic bag, polybag, or pouch is a type of container made of thin, flexible, plastic film, nonwoven fabric, or plastic textile. Plastic bags are used for containing and transporting goods such as foods, produce, powders, ice, magazines, chemicals, and waste. It is a common form of packaging.
  • Most plastic bags are heat sealed together. Some are bonded with adhesives or are stitched.
  • Plastic bags can cause air and water pollution.
  • According to statistics, average person in Turkey uses 312 plastic bags a year.

When plastic bags came into our lives?

When did we first encounter plastic bags? When they were invented? In 1961, the plastic bag was invented in Germany. First plastic bags were used by German company Horten AG in Neuss. They have been used actively in industry and in our daily lives since 1977 and it became almost impossible to reverse the environmental effects of plastic bags.[6]

How much do they cost?

The reason we see plastic bags everywhere we go is because they’re cheap, cheaper than water, as Turks would say. 5000 plastic bags would cost you only 200 TL (65$). The printing and the design on it would be extra though.

How long does it take for a plastic bag to decompose?

It takes only 12 to 15 minutes for us to get rid of plastic bags, we only use them for short periods but it takes longer for them to decompose in the environment. Some plastic bags can take 1000 years to decompose, some may take 15 years because they contain more biological ingredients than chemicals. Even if they disappear in the soil or in the ocean, they divide into micro organisms to carry on polluting our environment. Physically they’re no longer there, but the pollutants contaminate our waters and our soil forever.

How are plastic bags produced?

What are they made of and what machines do they use in production? We are as curious as you! It takes 5 stages to get a decent plastic bag. At first they’re taken as raw material (plastic film, fibers or fabric) and mixed up in the mixers, the mixed material turned into a roll and the roll is sent to the printing machine to be shaped. Scrap, faulty materials are reused for creating new products, the process goes like this forever till there’s no waste left. You can watch the process from the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZABXZvTpmBg

Why plastic bags are so dangerous?

Firstly, we must share some facts about plastic bags.

  • Every second 160.000 plastic bags are used in the world, this adds up to 5 trillion plastic bags a year. According to a research, 99% of those plastic bags are not recycled, they end up in our oceans or in our soil. Are we aware of the danger?
  • 5 trillion plastic bags can travel the world 5 times.
  • There’s a plastic island floating around in Pacific Ocean. It is mostly consisted of plastic bags and bottles.
  • In 2008, a huge sperm whale found dead in California, 22 kilos of plastic were found in its stomach.

How do plastic bags end up in ocean?

Plastic bags are light materials, they can fly and float easily. A plastic bag can be in the city center one day, the other day it can go to the mountains and the next week you can find the same plastic bag in the ocean. They can also close drainages which can cause floods.

Source: Adalar Municipality, Science Dump