I want to explore the problems associated with plastic bags. There is an abundance of plastic bags in our household and in the landfill. They take a long time to decompose and cause many environmental problems.
For this assignment, I want to focus on just one type of plastic bag – the ones usually found in grocery stores’ produce sections. In order to reduce the ecological footprint of plastic bags, I need to find out why people use them, how many are used, and what happens to the bags after shopping trips.
-high density polyethylene (HDPE) – aka #2 plastic
-does not leach out toxic chemicals, ideal for food storage
-available for free at almost every grocery store
-recyclable at designated places
The data collection will consist of 2 parts:
Observation – watching how users interact with the bags at the grocery store
Survey – Ask people for information that cannot be observed (ie. why they use bags, what they do with the bags at home)
The mean of the number of produce bags used each trip is 2.5 so I rounded that up to 3.
The average household does 1 or 2 grocery trips each week.
1 trip/week * 3 bags = 3 bags/week * 52 weeks/year = 156 bags/year
2 trip/week * 3 bags = 6 bags/week * 52 weeks/year = 312 bags/year
According to the data collected,
-an average household consumes between 156-312 produce bags each year.
-2 out of 3 households discard their bags after each trip.
-None of the bags are reused for grocery shopping
-None of the bags are brought back to the store for recycling