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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Plastic bag

HISTORY

In 1960 Swedish shoe polish salesman William Hamilton in conversation with the owner of Strom shoe shop discovered that the paper bags given to customers to carry home their shoes were falling apart. He persuaded Swedish plastics manufacturer Akerlund & Rausing to make plastic carriers for Strom's shoes. These first plastic bags had string handles and carried the name Strom Shoes. Hamilton never patented his bag.

Engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin developed a method of forming a simple one-piece bag in the early 1960s by folding, welding and die-cutting a flat tube of plastic for the Swedish packaging company Celloplast. Thulin's design produced a simple, strong bag with a high load-carrying capacity, and was patented worldwide by Celloplast in 1965. It's the design, essentially, of every plastic bag you've ever been given in a grocery store check-out line.


Celloplast's patent position gave it a virtual monopoly on plastic shopping bag production for over a decade. However, from the 1960s US petrochemicals group Mobil had pursued an aggressive policy on polyethylene packaging patents and by 1977 it had overturned Cellopast's US patent and was producing its own bags.

Cincinnati-based grocery chain Kroger began to replace its paper shopping bags with plastic bags in 1982, and was soon followed by its rival, Safeway. By the end of 1985, 75 percent of supermarkets were offering plastic bags to their customers. From then they became common for carrying daily groceries from the store to vehicles and homes throughout the developed world.


On March 27, 1992, Sonoco Products Company of Hartsville, South Carolina filed a patent for the "self-opening polyethylene bag stack." The main innovation of this redesign is that the removal of a bag from the rack opens the next bag in the stack.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

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 frequently harmful to wildlife.

Plastic waste on the mounds of garbage in the Philippines.By Kounosu - Own work 

About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group.

The government of China placed a ban on very thin plastic bags on June 1, 2008. The average consumer in China now uses only 2 or 3 plastic bags a year.

In 2011, Italy became the first country in Europe to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Mauritania banned in 2014 the use of plastic bags to protect the environment and the lives of land and sea animals. More than 70% of cattle and sheep that die in the Mauritania capital, Nouakchott, are killed by eating plastic bags, environment ministry official Mohamed Yahya told BBC Afrique.

Source Daily Mail

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