Plastic Bags in Society

  • Period: to

    Plastic Bags In Society

  • Commercial Manufacturing System

    Commercial Manufacturing System
    The first commercial system for manufacturing plastic grocery bags became operational in 1973. This was important because it allowed for the widespread creation and distribution of plastic bags. It was essentially the birth of the plastic dominance.To manufacturers, this prospective industry was a gold mine due to its lower cost of production than paper bags and the conveniece it created for customers. With no legal, cultural, or societal opposition at hand, the stage was set for exploitation.
  • Retailing Giants Switch to Plastic Merchandise Bags

    Retailing Giants Switch to Plastic Merchandise Bags
    Retailing giants such as Sears, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, Jordan Marsh, Allied, Federated and Hills switch to plastic merchandise bags. This switch drew immediate attention to the commercial use of plastic bags. It paved the way for consumers to consider the plastic bag as a shopping norm. As the only alternative to paper, the opinion that society drew upon plastic was so positive it was as if it was an essential component to daily life.
  • Supermarkets Introduce Grocery Bags

    Supermarkets Introduce Grocery Bags
    The plastic grocery bag is introduced to the supermarket industry as the second push towards plastic dominance. The plastic "t-shirt" bag easily surpassed its paper predecessor as the convenience of it was unmatched. Nothing else could carry such heavy components yet weigh so little itself. This event was important because it further strengthened consumers beliefs of plastic bags as positive additions to daily life and the marketplace.
  • Kroger and Safeway

    Kroger and Safeway
    Kroger and Safeway are the first competing grocery stores that started to replace traditional craft sacks with polyethylene "t-shirt" bags. This was important because the standard for plastic bag use was set as supermarkets realized their importance to be able to compete with one another. With supermarkets on board, the industry took off as the need for plastic bags had never been higher.
  • Recycling Program Initiated

    Recycling Program Initiated
    The first blue bag recycling program beginning with curbside collection was started by a man named Eugene Poubelle. It was a very important event because it marked the beginning of public policy on the issue. With public policy comes increased awareness and, more importantly, it sparks conversation about possible solutions to the problem. This public policy seemed to be the first on the issue and marked the start of doing something about it.
  • Supermarket Collection

    Supermarket Collection
    Consumer plastic bag recycling begins through a supermarket collection-site network. Supermarkets such as Vons, Kroger, and Safeway began to take part in protecting their respective communities as long as consumers did their part. I believe this was a good gesture, however, not much was spent on educating the public about the necessity of recyclig. It is still important because it marked the need for a collective fight towards saving the environment.
  • Denmark

    Denmark is the first to create a plastic bag tax. This was substantially important because it showed that problems were occuring even on an international scale. It was also important because no other jurisdiction had enacted a tax in order to curb the effects. It was uncertain whether or not the tax would be benefitial or cause unforseen circumstances. Being the first of its kind, it was the only precedent the world had seen.
  • Usage Increases

    Usage Increases
    By 1996, four of five grocery bags used were plastic. This is important because even though measures were beginning to be put in place to reduce the effects of plastic bags, consumption was still steady.
  • Plastic Bag Recycling Act of 2006

    Plastic Bag Recycling Act of 2006
    California passed its Plastic Bag Recycling Act of 2006, becoming the first state to address the issue. This is important because it set the standard for other states to take action. "Since then, more than 40 states, counties and cities considered legislation to institute mandatory or voluntary plastic bag recycling programs, impose a tax on bags or ban their use".