Transformative Thinking Blog Entry #3 – Produce Bags User Observations

Project Proposal

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.

Produce Bags
-high density polyethylene (HDPE) – aka #2 plastic
-petroleum-based thermoplastic
-does not leach out toxic chemicals, ideal for food storage
-available for free at almost every grocery store
-recyclable at designated places

Data Collection

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)

User Observation Project (5)

Survey Results

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Data Analysis

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

Conclusions

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User Observation Project (10)

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