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Cutting Down Plastic Bags Going To The Dump
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Plastic BagsPosted 05/24/08 • Last updated 06/12/08 • 167 views • 0 comments
Production of Plastic Bags
- Most plastic grocery bags consist of primarily virgin material, which is needed for strength.
- 12 million barrels of oil are used each year to manufacture the 100 billion plastic bags Americans use annually.
- While it requires 20-40% less energy to create two plastic bags than to manufacture one paper bag (American Plastics Council), 3-4 plastic bags may be used in place of a single paper bag, due to their smaller capacity.
Disposal and Recycling
Plastic Bags and Landfill
- Some plastic is biodegradable, but only if it is exposed to sunlight or to soil. Most biodegradable plastic in landfills does not have access to sun or soil.
- Plastic bags can take 1,000 years to decompose.
- However, in May 2008, a Canadian student figured out a way to speed up the decomposing process to about three months. Hopefully his process will be perfected and some day in commercial use.
Plastic Bag Recycling
- Only 5% of plastic bags get recycled.
- Some plastic bag recycling programs have been discontinued because about 20% of returned bags were somehow contaminated, through food or other substances.
- Changes in the recycling industry may make it easier to recycle plastic bags in the near future, as more plastic bags are turned into wood-polymer lumber made of half wood and half recycled plastic.
Locations for Recycling
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Danger to Marine Life
- Even after being placed in a trash container, plastic bags can be blown great distances, due to their extremely light weight.
- Sea creatures such as turtles, whales, seals, dolphins, and penguins may mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, which causes them to choke, or to eventually starve.
Alternatives to Plastic Bags
- Check out the wiki on How To Cut Down Plastic Bags Going To The Dump
- Bisphenol A
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