A Deeper Look Into Plastic Bags History and International Plastic Bag Free Day
International plastic bag free day is just around the corner and will be celebrated on Sunday, July 3rd and as a way of celebrating such an important day for the entire population of planet Earth, we thought it would be a great idea t understand a little more about the history of plastic bags, from where they came from to who invented them and how they got to the point of use that they are today. The entire day has been brought around in order to celebrate plastic-free, biodegradable, and more environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic bags that have been created over recent years in our attempt to combat global warming and climate change.
The Evolution of the Grocery Bag
Nowadays, we pick up and throw out grocery bags as if they were candy, without even realizing there is an entire and abundantly large history attached to its invention. Plastic bag’s history stretches far beyond a time that most of us can even recall and has taken the minds of many smart, creative, and innovative individuals to become a physical reality that is globally recognized and used today. Plastic bags were actually invented to save the planet rather than to destroy it and were an amazing invention after the global addition of paper bags that used trees as resources and were actually aimed to be reused but instead a one time use approach was taken by the public which inevitably caused a mountain of problems we are trying to overcome today.
This invention of the very first plastic bag, although expressing negative results today, was once a life-changing invention fr many individuals. It was truly the first step towards creating a future of ease and a generation of people that are immediate and on the ball. No longer were grandma’s hand sewing material grocery bags and people spending their Sundays preparing for their weekly shop as you could simply go in when and wherever you please without having to worry about how you were going to transport your groceries back home.
The First Plastic Bag
So who invented plastic bags, and when were plastic bags invented? Sten Gustaf Thulin, a Swedish engineer was the one that came up with the brilliant idea to create the world’s very first plastic bag in the year 1959. Tulin was convinced his invention would change the world and didn’t leave the house without one folded in his pocket. In the 1960s his idea was bought by a company known as Celloplast that then massed produced plastic bags eventually replacing all paper and cloth bags seen before. As Tulin believed his plastic bag invention did change the world and his idea was loved and accepted all around the world, eventually making up for around eighty percent of Europe’s entire bag market.
By the year 1982, the United States began to adopt this idea too and implemented them into two of the biggest supermarkets in the country, creating a craze that would never really die out. The ease and accessibility of plastic bags truly changed the nation and the way people thought and before they knew it plastic bags were being produced by the trillion and every single store from the smallest corner shop to the largest of grocery chains had them to offer to their customers.
Who Invented Polythene?
Polythene, the material used to make the plastic nags invented by Tulin was first discovered and invented by a German chemist known as Hans von Pechmann who actually discovered it by accident whilst working on another project simultaneously. Little did the chemist know that his accidental discovery would now be the driving factor of polythene shopping bags used throughout the entirety of the world and an invention that every individual knows all too well. Not only did his discovery create plastic bags but also many of the products we use today including kid’s toys, electronics, wires, applications, and even some furniture.
Polythene was tried and tested and actually invented twice before it ever makes its way into stores and factories that used it to create an extremely large variety of plastic-based products that we know to be “normal” today. This one man’s profound idea and fantasy actually eventually became a reality for billions of people and the world would simply not have evolved the same without it.
When Did Plastic Become Widely Used?
So how did an accidental invention and a personal discovery become one of the world’s most used resources? The ease and simplicity of its creation as well as how affordable the materials were are what really propelled plastic to become a worldwide known and used material. Using polythene to created something purposeful took a lot of trial and error, and it wasn’t until the idea to market it as something you receive at the end of the grocery line checkout that large companies and businesses really began to take an interest.
One by one large grocery chain owners began to adopt and take part in the plastic bag community and invention slowly implementing them into stores nationwide and as they received such high demand and praise for their new addition so did the business grow eventually making its way from city to city, country to country and eventually nation to nation until it was globally accepted, known and used by almost all citizens.
What Is the Future of Plastic Bags?
So whilst this invention was one of the greatest of our time and led to the allowance of many of the products and tools we use today, it also came with some harsh implications for our environment. The one-time use of shopping plastic bags eventually began to take a toll on our land, air, and oceans, beginning to not only pollute the planet but also kill and harm thousands of marine species each year.
The effect that this was having on our climate, the health of human beings, and the animals that inhabit our Earth became too large and devastating, and continuing the mass production was only a cause for disaster. As this realization began to hit the consumers of these bags and negatively affect the citizens of pretty much all countries so did the idea to counteract this invention sore.
New ideas or more environmentally friendly and sustainable plastic bag alternatives began to pop up everywhere and activists and environmental enthusiasts spread the news of exactly how much harm we were doing to the one and only planet we have. Since then paper bags have come back into play as well as bags made from materials such as cotton that can be reused a multitude of times over, many grocery stores and chains have opted for a type of bioplastic and urges their consumers to participate in a plastic-free life.
As a result of this change, we have been able to not only limit but also reduce the overall plastic consumption throughout the globe, while we have a long way to go we are on the right track, and thus it should be celebrated as a way to carry it through into the future. International plastic bag free day is not only a day in which we commend our achievements but also remember where we came from, from the accidental discovery of polythene to the one man’s enthusiasm for plastic shopping bags to the environmentalists using renewable sources to make alternatives that are just as assessable to us today.
At the End of the Day
At the end of the day, we can see that the invention of plastic bags and the entire history that goes with it was one of the world’s greatest and while we did not expect its effect to cause the destruction and devastation it has there is still a large amount of appreciation towards all and any that were involved in the changing point for humanity as a whole. So on Sunday, July 3rd we will not only celebrate where we are and the multitude of growth we have had in an environmental and ecological sense but also take a look back into our past and the inventions and people that have helped along this journey to get where we are today. So grab your reusable bags, biodegradable plastic, and sustainable materials and educate yourself and others on the history of how an international plastic bag-free day came about.
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