About Nylon Bags
Plastics have come to the possession of indispensable elements of our lives. We get to see the plastics everywhere, plastics are described as the material of the 21st century due to its many advantages such as ease of use, light weight, flexibility and easily processability.
Plastics are becoming the focus of most discussions because they replace the glass, paper, aluminium and similar materials, and also expanding their own field of use. This fact causes plenty of disinformation to be generated. Mostly, people speak about “the damage of plastics to the environment and human health”. Such information are totally far from the scientific state, not relying on any researches cause people to consider the use of plastic with doubt. Whereas, PAGEV claims the idea “plastic is the most environment-friendly product” and emphasizes the point that no plastic material which is produced in due form, will not damage human health.
Plastics are claimed to pollute the environment. However, polluting is a unique behavior belongs to human. We must not see the plastics as the guilty for being thrown out to the nature. After all, they do not reach out there by themselves. It is not right to declare the plastics as the sacrificial lamb while not saying “stop” to the people who throw their plastic waste out to the seas or nature. Individuals need to take responsibility on this subject. With this reason, it has vital importance to create the environmental awareness and to explain the importance of recycling. Most important problem about this subject in our country is not developing the required conscience. As a result of this, the wastes are not gathered in their source and recycling can not become widespread. Local governments are under great responsibility at this point.
In last years, we see that paper bags are presented as the alternative against the plastic bags. This application, which will increase the use of paper, will bring forth much worse harm for the environment. The report which compares the plastic bags and paper bags shows the reason why the plastics are much more environment-friendly.
The Progressive Bag Alliance, which is an active association in United States of America, proved that the single-use plastic bags are greatly more environment-friendly than the paper bags with a research. In the report issued about this subject indicates that the single-use plastic bags are the least energy consuming material in production, processing and recycling processes.
According to the report, the energy consumed for the production of paper bags equals 4.5 times of the energy consumed for the production of single-use plastic bags. Again, the energy consumed while carrying the paper bags equals 3 times of the energy consumed while carrying the single-use plastic bags. In total, it is 73 kWh for the paper bags and 14 kWh for the plastic bags.
In the research performed, it is being seen that plastic bags are becoming less waste-generating and are more environment-friendly in terms of solid wastes, which is growing into one of the most important matters of agenda. In the report, it is indicated that 1000 plastic bags generate 4,7 kg solid waste and the paper bags of same quantity generates 33,9 kg solid waste, which is almost seven times of the plastic bags.
In the report, it is emphasized that preferring the single-use plastic bags rather than paper bags will lower the emission of the greenhouse gas and this will slow down the global warming. Also, it is given place that cutting the forests to make paper bags is unbalancing the ecosystem and harming the environment. The research done indicates that prefering single-use bags rather than paper bags carrying tremendous importance , because the value of water sources rised due to plastic bags require much less water to produce. In the report, it is underlined that a quantity of 1000 paper bags require 3785 litres of water, while a same quantity of polyetylene plastic bags require 30 litres of water.
We should also take into consideration that we harm the environment and derange the ecosystem by cutting forests to produce paper bags. Also, in order to produce cloth bags, which is being presented as an alternative against the plastic bags, cotton or similar products must be used. It will not be a right decision to consume cotton etc. instead of a product like plastic, which is easily produced, requires less energy in production phase, is an environment-friendly material and can be recycled easily. It is very difficult to replace plastic with another material due to the advantages it provides. For instance, how can you carry the stuff you bought without getting them wet under rain if you use paper or cloth bags?
Another one of the speculations which is being put forward about the plastics is about the lifetime of the plastic products in nature. The numbers which are being thrown out for consideration about the rate of plastics’ decomposing in nature are ranging from 100 years to 1000 years, without any scientific support. It is not even 100 years since we started to use plastic, claiming it to stay 1000 years in nature shows already shows that these explanations are quite far from being scientific. It is impossible for plastics to stay in nature that long according to the fact that they are organic. Some time later, they degrade and decompose with the environmental effect and oxygen. For instance, a market bag only stays for 8 to 10 years in nature. With state of art technology, this duration is even decreased to 1 year.
Market bags are being produced of polyetylene. Polyetylene is an organic structure which consist of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Also, in recent years, calcium carbonate is being added to polyetylene to reduce the cost of production process, which is a natural mineral that can be obtained from nature itself. This is the simple chalk or marble powder you all know, and also is used in chewing gum and toothpaste since it is a harmless matter. For plastic being organic, only this inorganic mineral is left in nature when the plastic is decomposed and consumed in nature. Microorganisms consume carbon based matters as a source of energy to survive. In the places which contain oxygen, it is oxided biologically inside the cell and converted to carbondioxide. Hydrogen is converted to water. This way, plastics are slowly digested by microorganisms slowly. The additives ,which are used in trace amounts in food production, are already chosen from the harmless materials.
It is required for us to underline that, in the production and recycling phases, plastics are being the least energy consuming, thus the most environment friendly material. Providing countless great advantages in various aspects, let us save energy in transporting processes because of being light materials. According to a study done by the Package Market Research Foundation in Germany, if all the material made of plastic today were being made of wood, glass, paper, carton or aluminium, weight of these packages and correspondingly the costs of transport would increase to 4 times of the current cost. Twice the amount of energy was going to be spent to produce these packages, and the volume of the trash was going to increase 2,5 time.
According to Canadian Plastics Industry Association, occupy a place lower than %1 of cigarette stubs, bottles, tin cans and food package etc. wastes which can be seen in streets. This indicates the fact that plastics make a relative pollution for environment.
Compared to 20 years ago when they are used for the first time, %70 less plastic is used in date’s plastic bags. Whereas, there is not any industry branch which has come this far in terms of preserving the resources by minimizing the required amount of material.
Only 4 percent of the world’s crude oil is being used for the production of these plastic bags which help protecting the environment by saving the resources. Plastic bags are produced by using 3 percent of this amount. However, every 100kg of plastic pieces in automobiles reduce the consumption of gasoline 12 million tons, and carbondioxide emission 30 million tons in Europe. That is to say, the plastics which consume %4 of all crude oil help the remaining amount to be consumed more slowly.
It is shown that American manufacturers have saved 336 trillion Btu by using plastic packages in a study which has been done in 1992. This amount of energy equals to 58 million barrels of oil, 9,2 billion m3 natural gas or 14,5 million ton coal.
Modern world is discussing and naturalizing the approach known as 3R “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” about the plastics and other types of waste. We should use the plastics in an efficient way, and recycle them. For instance, paper can be recycled for only 5 times, but you can recycle the plastics infinitely. While melting a plastic for recycling, it requires a temperature of 120-200 degrees. This rate is 650 degrees for aluminium and 1400 degrees for glass. As it can be seen, plastics are both recyclable and they require the least level of energy for this process. While thinking about the lifetime of a product, we should take into consideration all the steps which range from production to recycling and the whole picture should be considered this way.
Plastics contribute quite importantly to the sustainable development. It provides a lot of people to reach higher health and life standards in terms of social improvement. Usage of plastic is considered as a sign of development and especially in the developed countries, usage of plastic is increasing. In entire world and in Europe, it is not a point in question to forbid the use of plastic bags. Some methods are being applied like selling in a stated price, taxing, and again recovering with a stated price. These actions are carrying the purpose of incentivizing people to reuse the plastic bags, use them as much as they need and recycle them. The modern people have to use their resources efficiently as they have to do the same in every field. This also counts for the plastic bags too.
We think that, with all things we included, we have shown the fact that plastic bags are more environment-friendly than they are thought to be. Let us not forget that it is not a problem of plastic or another material. To solve it, we have to use the material we have with maximum benefit principel and widespread the conscience of recycling. It will never be a part of the solution to abandon the use of plastic bags, it will only change the size of the problem.