The Plastic Bag Bans which have been legislated in South Australia, NT, ACT and Tasmania have been linked to food poisoning related death in a US study which tracked the increased prevalence of death and emergency room visits in Californian cities where Plastic Bag Bans had been introduced. It was found that deaths and ER visits increased by up to 50% in San Francisco after the Plastic Bag Ban was introduced.
The study showed that shoppers typically did not wash reusable grocery bags, and often stored them in car boots, resulting in the growth of bacteria. “If individuals fail to clean their reusable bags, these bacteria may lead to contamination of the food transported in the bags. Such contamination has the potential to lead to health problems and even death,” the paper states.
The research was undertaken by Professor Jonathan Klick and Professor Joshua Wright, and is titled Grocery Bag Bans and Foodborne Illness. The abstract of the research study states:
'Degrading Plastic Bags' Daniel Burd, 2008 "Best of Fair" Winner
In 2008, then 16-year-old Daniel Burd, discovered a way to decompose plastic bags in as little as three months, winning the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.
The decomposition of some plastic bags is estimated to take as long as 1000 years. With this in mind, Daniel set out to identify microorganisms that can break down plastic.
During his research Daniel isolated two microbial strains that appeared to most successfully degrade polyethylene (the most common plastic). Taking optimal concentrations of these two strains, Burd added sodium acetate to promote bacterial growth, and placed the mixture among several strips of common grocery bags. 43% degradation of the plastic was achieved within six weeks.
Burd is confident that this method can be applied on a larger scale, stating “Industrial application should be easy. All you need is a fermenter. . . your growth medium, your microbes and your plastic bags.”
Printed Resealable Carry Bags for the Australian Grand Prix
To mark the 17th running of the Melbourne’s Formula 1 Grand Prix event, Maxpak Australasia is pleased to manufacture a specially designed product which will be used during this illustrious event.
The Grand Prix Resealable Carry Bag, was specifically designed for this event.
Made from unique co - polymer materials, it features strengthened side sealing, high quality roto gravure printing, a die cut punched handle and a unique resealable zip lock seal below the handle, to prevent the contents of the bag from falling out.
In SA, ACT, NT and Tasmania, certain types of plastic carry bags have been banned. Not content with this, the ACT Greens party are now calling for a complete plastic bag ban. The reason for this is emergence of substitutes which are still polymer based.
The pros and cons of plastic bag ban legislation are too lengthy to mention. Some of the issues regarding bin liners, degradable and compostable bags, and carry bags alternatives are mentioned in previous posts.
I think that it is important to realise that realise that plastic bags were a environmental step forward from the days of widespread paper bags usage. Paper bags have much more detrimental environmental impact than their plastic equivalents.
In fact, due the low amount of energy required to produce them, some studies in the UK have shown that plastic bags are actually more environmentally friendly than their alternatives. The real problems are the incredibly selfish and thoughtless humans among us that discard these products as litter on our public lands.
Further details regarding the Plastic Bag Ban in Tasmania.
Minor Assessment Statement is available for public comment until 13 February 2013
Free promotion resources available for retailers from April 2013
The proposed legislation is expected to be introduced in April 2013
The proposed ban is expected to come into full effect in late 2013
More details can be found here:
Similar to the law in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT, it appears that the Tasmanian state government will also follow suit in implementing restrictions on certain kinds of plastic bags. The date in which the legislation comes into force is not yet confirmed, but appears to be around late 2013. Despite contradictory evidence as to their effectiveness, plastic bag bans are a popular legislative option for a government to "appear green."
More details can be found here:
Just a quick 2 minute, very basic explanation of the difference between a compostable bag and a degradable bag. There is some more info on our blog about this topic, as it is a commonly asked question. Just search for "compostable" in the search tool.
Dr Marc Dussault, The Exponential Growth Strategist recently sent us the video clip below that reveals the latest technological innovation in Dog Poo Waste Management from the USA. It's what he does for his clients, making sure they remain on top of the latest innovations.
The Americans have pioneered Dog DNA testing and are now commercializing it. The company is called PooPrints, and they have established a dog waste management system that involves the DNA testing of dog poo found in the community to identify the canine culprits (and their misbehaved owners) responsible for the mess.
The PooPrints DNA Testing Waste Management System
Will this type of dog poo management system ever make its way over to Australia?
But one thing is certain, responsible dog owners need to pick up the poo after their pet!
For great quality Dog Tidy Waste Bags, click on the hyperlinked text or on the image below.
Dog Poo waste bags from Maxpak are used in public parks and gardens across Australia.
Now this is a question that we get asked a lot. It is also a question for which there are no easy answers! There are pros and cons for each side, and the debate can be had for a long time. For now, I want to address some of the environmental impacts of both plastic and paper bags.
Environmentalists will often answer the question "Which is better, paper carry bags or plastic bags" with "neither".
But I believe that most research indicates that plastic bags have lesser impact on environment than its paper counter parts.
Here is one reason why:
Issue 1: Energy and natural resources used to manufacture plastic bags Vs paper bags. It takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag.
ENERGY TO PRODUCE BAG ORIGINALLY
(BTUs British Thermal Units)
Safeway Plastic Bags: 594 BTUs
Safeway Paper Bags: 2511 BTUs
(Source: 1989 Plastic Recycling Directory, Society of Plastics Industry.)
What does this mean? It means that Plastic bags take less energy to create, which is significant because so much of our energy comes from dirty sources like coal and petroleum.
Of course, most paper comes from tree pulp, so the impact of paper bag production on forests is enormous.
In 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone.
Paper bag production delivers a global warming double-whammy.
Forests, which are major absorbers of greenhouse gases - have to be cut down. And then there is the subsequent manufacturing process of bags produces greenhouse gases.
Issue 2: Pollution
The majority of kraft paper is made by heating wood chips under pressure at high temperatures in a chemical solution. As evidenced by the unmistakable stench commonly associated with paper mills, the use of these toxic chemicals contributes to both air pollution, such as acid rain, and water pollution. Millions of gallons of these chemicals pour into our waterways each year; the toxicity of the chemicals is long-term and settles into the sediments, working its way through the food chain.
POLLUTANTS PAPER V.S. PLASTIC
Paper sacks generate 70% more air and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.
Source: "Comparison of the Effects on the Environment of Polyethylene and Paper Carrier Bags," Federal Office of the Environment, August 1988
According to a life cycle analysis by Franklin Associates Ltd, plastic bags create fewer airborne emissions and require less energy during the life cycle of both types of bags per 10,000 equivalent uses -- plastic creates 9.1 cubic pounds of solid waste vs. 45.8 cubic pounds for paper; plastic creates 17.9 pounds of atmospheric emissions vs. 64.2 pounds for paper; plastic creates 1.8 pounds of waterborne waste vs. 31.2 pounds for paper.
Issue 3: Recycling
It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. But recycling rates of either type of disposable bag are extremely low, with only 10 to 15% of paper bags and 1 to 3% of plastic bags being recycled, according to the Wall Street Journal.
ENERGY TO RECYCLE PACKAGE ONCE (BTUs)
Safeway Plastic Bags: 17 BTUs
Safeway Paper Bags: 1444 BTUs
Source: 1989 Plastic Recycling Directory, Society of Plastics Industry.
Although paper bags have a higher recycling rate than plastic, each new paper grocery bag you use is made from mostly virgin pulp for better strength and elasticity.
Issue 4: Transportation
Paper is an extremely dense material that is much heavier than plastic, and hence requires higher transport costs to move around.
Maxpak supply similar sizes of string handle paper bags, and plain plastic singlet bags.
An 11 kg carton holds 2000 plastic bags. A similar weight carton holds only 250 paper bags(this carton is double the volume) Our truck has a 10 tonne carrying capacity. This means it can carry around 900 cartons which is 1.8 million plastic bags or 225,000 paper bag. For every 1 truck load of plastic bags, you would need 8 truck loads to carry the same amount of paper bags! That is 8 times the amount of energy, fuel and carbon emmisions just for local transportation.
The most negative environmental impact that plastic bags represent is their persistence in the environment as litter. Emotive images of animals in distress and litter in our streets, parks and waterways deeply affect the public consciousness. This is a human behaviour issue I believe. They look terrible as litter - but bag's don't litter themselves - humans do. Paper bags are just as likely to become litter as plastic.
I really encourage you to do some research of your own - to verify my commentary, as well as to find a variety of views. You'll find a robust debate all over the internet. A google query "are paper bags better than plastic?" will reveal a plethora of information. I'll put a few links below for you to check out if you have time.
The MaxValu S12VH Large Singlet Bag is one of the oldest and most cost effective singlet bags in our range. It has proven itself time and time again, since it's introduction in 2001. The video below demonstrates why...
Packaging, Environment and Legislation Observations from Maxpak
Environmental Packaging, Plastic Bags, Paper Bags, Shopping Bags, Cleaning Wipes & Products, Garbage Bags & Liners, Packaging & Cleaning Products