CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION1.1 Introduction Almost every market that you go today, you will see people carrying their shopping itemsin plastic bags. Right from food items to clothes to shoes, there is hardly any item that we do notuse a plastic bag to carry. However, before stuffing your home with different styles, colors andshapes of plastic bags, have you every considered the dangers that are inherent in using them?No? Then, you should know the facts about the dangers of plastics. Plastic bags damage theenvironment in many ways and the process of creating the plastic also uses petroleum andnatural gas to operate. Both petroleum and natural gas are nonrenewable resources, andworldwide supplies of them are dwindling. Shipping the raw materials to the factory andshipping plastic bags away from the factory also use petroleum, which creates greenhouse gaseswhen burned. They do not biodegrade when thrown out. A plastic bag may stay in a landfill fordecades or even centuries. Plastic bags that are not buried in a landfill may escape into theenvironment, where they become litter and may injure fish or other wildlife that mistake them forfood. Finally, plastic bags hold less than paper or reusable bags, making them inefficient forshoppers. 1
Plastic needs about 450 years just to start decomposing and it takes another 50-80 yearsto decompose completely which that means that every single produced piece of plastic has notdecomposed yet. Another interesting fact about plastics and your money is that 90% of the priceyou pay for the bottled water goes to the plastic bottle, while the water cost you only 10% of themoney you give. Besides that, 24 million gallons of oil are needed one producing of billionplastic bottles and only 25 recycled bottles are enough to make one adult’s fleece jacket.Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W bulb for up to 6hours and it can also save up to 2/3 of the needed energy for producing plastic from rawmaterials. Surveys show that more than 90 percent of consumers reuse their plastic bags at leastonce for things like wastebasket lines or lunch totes. Bottling and shipping water is the leastenergy efficient method ever used to supply water. Unfortunately, it remains the most popularone. 2
1.2 Research objectiveThe objective of this research is to investigate the awareness of KMNS’s students about plasticusage and its disadvantages. 3
1.3 Research questions 1. Are the students in KMNS aware about plastic usage and its negative effects? 2. Do the students realized the alternative ways other than using plastic bags? 3. What is the habits of plastic consumption among the students in KMNS? 4
1.4 Definition of key termsPlastics - A material consisting of very large molecules characterized by light weight, highcorrosion resistance, high strength-to-weight ratios, and low melting points. Most plastics areeasily shaped or formed. 5
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW2.1 History about plastic American and European patent applications relating to the production of plastic shoppingbags can be found dating back to the early 1950s, but these refer to composite constructions withhandles fixed to the bag in a secondary manufacturing process. The modern lightweight shoppingbag is the invention of Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin. In the early 1960s, Thulindeveloped a method of forming a simple one-piece bag by folding, welding and die-cutting a flattube of plastic for the packaging company Celloplast of Norrköping, Sweden. Thulins designproduced a simple, strong bag with a high load-carrying capacity, and was patented worldwideby Celloplast in 1965. Celloplast was a well-established producer of cellulose film and a pioneer in plasticsprocessing. The companys patent position gave it a virtual monopoly on plastic shopping bagproduction, and the company set up manufacturing plants across Europe and in the US.However, other companies saw the attraction of the bag, too, and theUS petrochemicals group Mobil overturned Celloplasts US patent in 1977. The Dixie Bag Company of College Park, Georgia, owned and operated by Jack W.McBride, was one of the first companies to exploit this new opportunity to bring convenientproducts to all major shopping stores. The Dixie Bag Company, along with similar firms such as
Houston Poly Bag and Capitol Poly, was instrumental in the manufacturing, marketing andperfecting of plastic bags in the 1980s.Kroger, a Cincinnati-based grocery chain, began toreplace its paper shopping bags with plastic bags in 1982, and was soon followed by itsrival, Safeway. Without its plastic bag monopoly, Celloplasts business went into decline, and thecompany was split up during the 1990s. The Norrköping site remains a plastics production site,however, and is now the headquarters of Miljösäck, a manufacturer of waste sacks manufacturedfrom recycled polyethylene. From the mid-1980s onwards, plastic bags became common for carrying daily groceriesfrom the store to vehicles and homes throughout the developed world. As plastic bagsincreasingly replaced paper bags, and as other plastic materials and products replaced glass,metal, stone, timber and other materials, a packaging materials war erupted, with plasticshopping bags at the center of highly publicized disputes.
2.2 Types of plastic bag Plastic marked with an SPI code of 1 is made with Polyethylene Terephthalate,which is also known as PETE or PET. Containers made from this plastic sometimes absorbodors and flavors from foods and drinks that are stored in them. Items made from this plasticare commonly recycled. PETE plastic is used to make many common household items likebeverage bottles, medicine jars, peanut butter jars, combs, bean bags, and rope. Recycled PETEis used to make tote bags, carpet, fiberfill material in winter clothing, and more.Plastic marked with an SPI code of 2 is made with High-Density Polyethylene, or HDPE. HDPEproducts are very safe and they are not known to transmit any chemicals into foods or drinks.HDPE products are commonly recycled. Items made from this plastic include containers formilk, motor oil, shampoos and conditioners, soap bottles, detergents, and bleaches.Many personalized toys are made from this plastic as well. (Please note: it is NEVER safe toreuse an HDPE bottle as a food or drink container if it didn’t originally contain food or drink!)
Plastic labeled with an SPI code of 3 is made with Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC. PVCis not often recycled and it can be harmful if ingested. PVC is used for all kinds of pipes andtiles, but its most commonly found in plumbing pipes. This kind of plastic should not come incontact with food items. Recycled PVC is used to make flooring, mobile home skirting, andmore.Plastic marked with an SPI code of 4 is made with Low-Density Polyethylene, or LDPE. LDPEis not commonly recycled, but it is recyclable in certain areas. It is a very healthy plastic thattends to be both durable and flexible. Plastic cling wrap, sandwich bags, squeezable bottles, andplastic grocery bags are all made from LDPE. Recycled LDPE is used to make garbage cans andlumber.
Plastic marked with an SPI code of 5 is made with Polypropylene, or PP. PP is not commonlyrecycled, but it is accepted in many areas. This type of plastic is strong and can usuallywithstand higher temperatures. Among many other products, it is used to make plastic diapers,Tupperware, margarine containers, yogurt boxes, syrup bottles, prescription bottles, andsome stadium cups. Plastic bottle caps are often made from PP as well. Recycled PP is used tomake ice scrapers, rakes, battery cables, and more.Plastic marked with an SPI code of 6 is made with Polystyrene, also known as PS and mostcommonly known as Styrofoam. It is commonly recycled, but it is difficult to do so and oftenends up in landfills anyway. Disposable coffee cups, plastic food boxes, plastic cutlery, packingfoam, and packing peanuts are made from PS. Recycled PS is used to make insulation, licenseplate frames, rulers, and more.