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What are Plastic Bags and How are They Recycled?

10/18/2013 10:37:39 AM | by Anonymous

Plastic Bags

A plastic bag is a type of package that is made out of flexible and thin plastic. This includes other materials such as non-woven fabric, plastic films and other plastic textiles. Such plastic bags are used to carry items such as groceries, ice, books, waste and other things that are considered quite light in general. Most of the plastic bags produced today are heat sealed together, some of the plastic bags have unique designs where they are sealed with adhesives or stitched together.

Depending on the customer, manufacturers can produce different types of plastic bags. Some plastic bags are bigger than others to carry more items. Plastic bags can also be made out of thicker and stronger materials so that it is able to carry heavier objects without breaking. Some plastic bags also have re-sealable openings. As for the handles, they may either be cut into the bag itself or it could be added separately. Plastic bags are often used by many shops as they use fewer materials than boxes, jars and cartons. Furthermore, plastic bags can be easily stored as they do not take up much space.

Plastic bags can be made from a variety of plastic materials; however the most common type of plastic used in producing plastic bags is polyethylene. To enhance the design or functionality of the plastic bag, other materials such as laminates or co-extrusions may be added. Such as when plastic bags are required to withstand extreme temperatures to store frozen food. Such bags are usually made out of nylon. In some bags, there are tiny holes to allow water to come in contact with the contents of the bag.

Nowadays, such plastic bags are used for storage or disposal of waste as they cannot be easily disposed of. However, modern plastic bags can easily be recycled and the materials used to create the plastic bags are biodegradable. By using biodegradable products, it prevents the build up of toxics in landfills. This is because biodegradable materials can be decayed organically. Most plastic bags that are not collected by the garbage companies usually end up in water streams and make their way to the ocean. Other marine animals may eat the plastic bags and die. Due to the growing concerns of the negative impact of plastics on the environment, many countries have stated restricting sales of plastics bags in hopes to reduce pollution and littering.


Due to the pollution of traditional plastic bags, many of these bags are taken to a recycling center to be recycled instead of just simply throwing them away. Most of these recycled plastic bags are recycled in to composite lumber. Composite lumber is made up of half plastic bags and the other half sawdust. The composite lumber can be used for many different applications. Some examples are for wooden structures such as outdoor decks, window frame and door frames. Apart from being recycled into composite lumber, plastic bags can also be recycled into resin. This resin can be used to create new crates, pipes, containers and plastic bags of course.

Many countries have recycling stations for consumers to place their unwanted plastic bags. These plastic bags are then melted down and forced through a machine with many holes. This causes the plastic to come out in a shape of noodles. The noodles are then cut into smaller parts called pellets. These pellets are then delivered to plastic manufacturing companies where they are melted down again to create various plastic products.

Thus, plastic bags are extremely useful but toxic to the environment as well. This is why everyone should make a conscious effort to recycle plastic bags as it will not only benefit us but our environment as well.

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