Best Plastic Bags
History of the Plastic Bag
If you go into any average American kitchen, you will see plastic bags taken from various grocery stores and used as trash bags and storages. Even though it is one of the most widely used items, people are unaware of the origins of where these bags came from.
In 1862, Alexander Parkes had publicly demonstrated the first man-made plastic at the Great International Exhibition in London; an organic material derived from cellulose that can be heated and molded into whatever shaped and maintain that new form once cooled. Four years later, John Wesley Hyatt expanded upon this invention by combining collodion with camphor into a tough and flexible film. This new type of plastic was typically used as photographic film for still photography and motion pictures. The next important addition to the history of plastic was formaldehyde. Started as a fluke in the process of manufacturing white chalk, factory workers accidentally mixed milk protein with formaldehyde to create casein plastic.
Plastic bags didn’t begin to form until the early 1960s. Swedish engineer, Sten Gustaf Thulin created a method of forming a simple, lightweight shopping bag by folding, welding, and die-cutting a flat tube of plastic. This product grew so popular due to its easy production and various functionalities that the plastic bag became patented by packaging company, Celloplast. Soon after, many other plastic bag manufacturers begin to create their own version of the plastic bag, hoping to benefit from the new discovery as well. It was during this time that grocery stores started to fade out the more expensive paper bags in favor of plastic bags, which customers can also bring home to use as trash bags or for household items storage. Plastic was also being utilized as substitution for other household items, such as utensils, cups, and plates. To this day, plastics are still the number one choice for usages, with an estimate of 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags being used each year.
A modern plastic bag is typically made from polyethylene, which contains long chains of ethylene monomers. The polyethylene is either low-density or high density resin. Because of these resistant chemicals, plastic bags were previously an environmental concern for they take several centuries to decompose. However, many plastic bag manufacturers began the production of bio-degradable plastic bags that can decay organically and prevent the build-up of toxic wastes in landfills. Moreover, manufacturers have invented several kinds of plastic bags that are able to be recycled and made into new bags, saving the energy equivalent of 11 oil barrels.
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