Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags

The Problem of Plastic Bags in the Environment

In recent times, the consumption of plastic has become an environmental problem due to the irresponsibility of humanity or the culture of use and disposal .

To the uncontrolled demand for the use of plastic bags that go to landfills, streets, rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, natural landscapes and impacting the surrounding environment and especially aquatic biodiversity .

Therefore, we will address everything related to plastic bags , their environmental impact, their recycling and the main alternatives to reduce the consumption of this waste so pollutant and demanded by society .

What are plastic bags

They are that element or object manufactured from a petroleum derivative such as low and high density polyethylene , which takes a long time to decompose; having as main function, to support merchandise or products of any trade and to accumulate household waste .

Plastic bags are especially demanded by homes , shops, stores, factories, markets, hospitals, hotels, pharmacies and among many other sectors.

Also read: How Plastic Affects the Environment )

What is the problem with plastic bags?

It takes more than four centuries for polyethylene bags to degrade completely, it becomes one of the most polluting objects on planet earth ; for being the main source of pollution of seas and oceans damaging marine biological diversity .

The plastic bags have become one of the biggest wastes of the world because they are not properly deposited, are thrown indiscriminately, filling landfills, polluting the streets, ecosystems, landscapes, rivers, seas, oceans and other natural environments that prevents that these are recycled or reused again .

The problem of pollution by plastic bags

“It is that these take seconds to occur, less than 30 minutes are spent from stores or shops to get to the house, it takes more than 500 years to biodegrade and finally, for a few minutes, nature suffers the consequences of this residue for more 500 years old . 

Why shouldn’t plastic bags be used?

  • More than 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide.
  • Less than 1% of that trillion bags are recycled.
  • A year and worldwide, 100 million barrels of oil are used in the manufacture of plastic bags.
  • Its recycling process is very expensive, since it costs 100 times more to recycle than to produce them.
  • China consumes more than 3 billion bags per day.
  • The United States consumes more than 100 billion bags every year.
  • They are made of polyethylene, a petroleum derivative that does not suffer degradation.
  • The ink used in its printing is toxic.
  • It takes more than 1000 years to disappear from the planet.
  • They pollute the oceans.
  • They kill thousands of aquatic and terrestrial animals.
  • They kill sea turtles, since they eat them by confusing them with jellyfish.
  • Pipes and drains collapse generating floods.
  • They pollute the air.
  • Among other impacts on human life, biodiversity and environmental quality.

Plastic Bag Recycling Process

It is a process, whose main objective is the recovery of plastic waste for direct reuse, the manufacture of new products and as fuel.

Thus, a recycled bag comes from another plastic product that has already been used and that through a physicochemical process is recovered for a new bag or object .

Therefore, the process of recycling bags costs the following phases :

  • Separation
  • Material quality control
  • Plastic melt
  • Push through an extruder
  • Small pieces or plastic balls
  • Obtaining a new product.

How to Reduce and Combat the Use of Plastic Bags

Among the main measures, alternatives and options are:

  • A change in the culture of using and throwing through the environmental education of citizens.
  • Consumption and rational use conscious and responsible for single-use plastic bags.
  • The recycling of bags, confirming if they have the symbol of # 1 or # 4 and taking them to a recycling center. In case they do not have the above numbers, you can give other uses such as: bags for the supermarket, for garbage, pet feces, bags for the supermarket, wrapping items, crafts, among others.
  • Gather inside a large garbage bag, a minimum of 100 bags to make your transfer easier.
  • Place them in the container that is at the entrance of the store for later recycling.
  • Use of 3R recycling.
  • Sustainable production and consumption.
  • Bags of biodegradable materials.
  • Reusable bags
  • Biosolubles bags.
  • Integral management of solid waste.
  • Foldable shopping cart.
  • Recycling recovery program. Reduce and combat environmental pollution, fossil fuels and many other environmental problems.
  • Comply with environmental regulations.
  • Prohibition of the delivery and sale of non-biodegradable bags in the markets.
  • Sustainable lifestyle.

Definitely, the ecological bags are those that are based on the need to reuse, reduce and recycle the number of polyethylene bags and the reusable ones that are manufactured as an alternative to that of a single use and be used for more than one time .

Ecological and reusable bags play an essential role in caring for the environment and in the fight against global warming; promote responsible consumption of single-use plastic bags , which are not abandoned and used as a waste collection bag.

In short, the bags are very practical, flexible, resistant, easy and cheap ; but their problem lies in the fact that they degrade over long periods of time .

For each unit 4 gr of CO2 is generated, they are discarded without any control, they have contributed to the amount of plastic waste found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and above all they pollute natural resources.

“Fighting Pollution with Plastic Bags is everyone’s responsibility for a better Quality of Life”


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