TLP Packaging LLC

Making a Dent, a Bag at a Time

Tuesday, 17/01/2023

Plastic shopping bags, which were innovations in the 1970s, are today a ubiquitous product used all over the world. Up to one trillion bags are produced per year, and they are now found everywhere from the polar ice caps to the deepest parts of the ocean. Plastic bags are so widely used that they are posing a serious environmental threat.

1965 – The Swedish business Celloplast has the patent for the single-piece polyethylene shopping bag. The plastic bag, created by engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin, swiftly took the place of fabric and plastic in Europe.

1979 – Plastic bags started to spread to the United States and other nations across the world after already dominating 80% of the bag market in Europe. Companies that make plastic start actively promoting their single-use product as being superior to paper and reusable bags.

1982 – The two major supermarket businesses in the US, Safeway and Kroger, switched to plastic bags. Single-use plastic bags are less expensive than alternatives, and more shops are starting to convert over as Safeway and Kroger have done. However, consumers have not yet fully embraced them. Paper bags will largely be replaced by plastic bags globally by the end of the decade.

2002 – After it was discovered that they were a major contributor to blocking drainage systems during devastating flooding, Bangladesh became the first nation in the world to impose a ban on thin plastic bags. Other nations start to imitate them.

2011 – Every minute, one million plastic bags are used in the world.

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Credit: Nugget Markets 

Since the beginning of the year in Colorado, plastic trash bags can either be purchased per bag at a check-out or have been completely eliminated.  Here’s how some local residents are making do based on comments pasted to The Prowers Journal facebook site:

Forgetting my reusable bags have been an issue couple times already..but I think they work better! You don’t have to double up the bag if too heavy or if they tear. I’m learning leave some in my trunk!

Reusable bags. I have a big soft- sided cooler bag for things like frozen pizza as well as the hot/ cold bags for perishable foods. We live 30 miles from the closest grocery store. We started switching a few months ago to get in the habit.

Probably thinking of not holding up the line at checkout while they sacked it themselves instead of the cashiers or a bagger. Not all cashiers will bag it either. That’s my only complaint.

I’ve seen people using laundry baskets.

I think that stores should let customers use the boxes like sams.

I bought the reusable bags cloth and plastic l… I have saved money due to having only a number of bags to fill in my cart open and ready to fill and that’s all I buy. The cashier said it was easy for her to just remove the items, scan and refill for me ! 

If by myself I take my vinyl reusable bags into the store and bag them there. At the car too many homeless people or the like come to “beg” for whatever. It is hard to concentrate and pay attention to what I am doing. Be safe.        

I saved a bunch of empty cat kibble bags, the 16-20 lb size, and sewed them into shopping bags. They are fairly large, hold a lot of weight, and other than my time and some thread, they are free. If and when they wear out, no big deal, I always have more.

I’ve never purchased new reusable bags. I had a couple already with no decals on them that I take with me. I do check out myself and bag myself. I got tired of the lack of customer service from the checkers and the squashed bread and veggies from slacker cashiers and baggers.

Credit: Russ Baldwin/ The Prowers Journals 


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