Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Banning Plastic Bags - Let's Get Started!

I am starting to do some research about how to think globally and act locally in regard to banning plastic bags. I have emailed our local Office of City Commissioner Sam Adams.

I have also done some more research and have found that there is a global movement to ban plastic bags. It's not just a "Portland Hippy Thing." So please join me and contact your local city officials. These movements seem to start there. iKea has all but stopped using them. They started charging a nominal fee for the bags and reduced plastic bag use by 90%. Details are here:


This is significant as iKea is a global retailer. Hats off to them! I will continue to inform my readers about what we can do to force this change in our own cities. Until then, you can at least reduce your consumption by using cloth bags to shop, reuse bags for produce, and use biodegradable dog and cat waste bags, available at Urban Lease and Treat.


DJYano said...

Polyethylene, (IUPAC name polyethene), is a thermoplastic commodity heavily used in consumer products (over 60 million tons are produced worldwide every year). It is a polymer consisting of long chains of the monomer ethylene (IUPAC name ethene).

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. It takes 1.75 kilograms of petroleum (in terms of energy and raw materials) to make one kilogram of HDPE. This compound is used to make plastic bags, and other products like detergent containers.

Alsp used is: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from oil. It was the first grade of polyethylene, produced in 1933 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) using a high pressure process via free radical polymerisation. Its manufacture employs the same method today. This compound is used in plastic bags and other plastic products like six-pack soda can rings.

Most plastic bags are discarded, often after a single use. Recycling of plastics after final use is possible, but plastic bags, in particular, are rarely recycled. According to the UK-based Ban the Bag campaigning group, 0.5% of plastic bags are recycled. Standard plastic bags may take between 500 and 1000 years to decompose, However, such figures are only ever estimates because plastics have not existed for long enough for the precise decomposition time to be measured.

Additives have been developed that allow plastic to degrade and biodegrade within a few months in landfill (as opposed to an estimated 500-1000 years for non-degradable plastic). Plastics made with these additives are called oxobiodegradable, and have been adopted by many 'ethical' retailers, e.g., the Co-op in the UK. However, some argue that oxo-biodegradable plastics contribute more to global warming as they release their carbon as carbon dioxide and methane far more quickly than plastics in landfill.



DJYano said...

Thanks digging it up this article. I haven't watch it yet, do you have the link so i can watch it?