Wednesday, 20 March 2019

All about Plastic Carrier Bags

Plastic carrier bags are mainly made out of polythene (polyethylene) which is generally used in pharmaceuticals, drinking water and food stuffs and its use in these critical needs is authorized by regulatory authorities worldwide. Plastic bags have significantly contributed in creating a cost effective, sustainable, hygienic, energy efficient & environmental friendly packaging system for storing, carrying and packing various types of products and commodities. 

The features that have made the utilization of plastics popular and safe as a carry bag in particular and packing material in general are:

1. Non toxic attributes, chemical resistance and inertness

2. Excellent water-proof quality and barrier properties

3. Safe to handle due to light in weight and non-breakability

4. Transparency, enabling easy visibility of products being packed, carries or stored

5. Also protect the products from exposure to sunlight when required

6. microbial growth and bacteria resistant

Due to these characteristics plastic carrier bags ensure that the products are delivered to the consumers in the best economic and hygienic manner adding convenience to daily life. They do not cause any health risk due to inert in nature. They are required for packaging of confectionery items, bread, bakery products due to its cost effectiveness and superior properties. All these items are very moisture sensitive and loose quality and taste within no time. 

Hygroscopic edible items like salt, sugar and many other food products sensitive to moisture cannot be packed effectively with alternative materials without sacrificing the cost or quality of packaging. Plastic packaging has played major role over years in increasing the shelf life and protecting these products. For carrying meat, fish, poultry & other wet food items, plastic bags are most suitable and no other packaging can substitute them. 

Plastic bags generate 79% less greenhouse gas emissions than composted paper bags and 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than uncomposted paper bags. They generate 3097 tons of CO2 equal to per 100 million bags while composted paper bags generate 14558 tons and uncomposted paper bags generate 7621 tons per 100 million paper bags. 

Grocery bags made from plastic 80% less solid waste post use and 40% less energy while production as compared to paper bags.

Paper bags generate 70% more air pollutants & 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags. It takes 91% more energy to recycle a kilogram of paper than a kilogram of plastic. Transporting 100,000 numbers of plastic carrier bags or postal bags of 20X30 cms size 20X30 cms would require 1 small tempo while similar number and size of paper bags would require more than 8 such tempos for delivering such bags. Consider the extra cost and fuel it would need. 

Plastic & Jute Bags

A comparison of Jute Bags with Plastic Bags in terms of Life Cycle Analysis reveals that:

1. Energy saving during production, manufacturing & transportation of plastic bags compared to jute bags is 81%.

Think about the huge environmental burden that by Jute bags generate, which is not visible through naked eyes in comparison to Plastic Bags!

Plastic & Textile Bags 

When textile and plastics are compared, following data is revealed:

1. Composite textile mills consume 1310 kwh/mt while Plastics manufacturing consumes 400 kwh/mt only. Hence the atmosphere is less polluted when Plastic carrier bags are used instead of Textile bags.

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