Plastic Bag Holder: a Means to Save the Planet, but Not All Holders are the Same

plastic bag holderPlastic bag holder may be a means to save our planet, but not all plastic bag holders are the same. We, Americans, use 100 billion (100,000,000,000!) each year. That equates to one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times.

Why Use a Plastic Bag Holder?

You have probably heard that these days many grocery stores charge their customers for plastic bags. So in addition to purchasing produce, one effectively purchases bags to carry the grocery from the store to their house. In case you have not, there are a couple of possibilities. One is because you live in a jurisdiction, which passed an ordinance which taxes the usage of plastic bags. In fact, over 150 U.S. towns, cities or counties ban or require some form of fees on plastic bags. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that over 49 million Americans live in communities that have passed plastic bag bans or taxes.plastic bag holder

Another possibility you are paying a plastic bag surcharge is because the owner of the store chooses to do so voluntarily or as a business decision. I guess both of those reasons exists because of the desire to create a disincentive to the plastic bag use, or a desire to contribute to the cause of protecting the environment or both. Regardless of the motivation, saving – and reusing – plastics bags may also save you some money. And then, you should consider organizing the bags using a plastic bag holder.

Why Using Plastic Bag Holder is Better Than Tossing Plastic Bags?

plastic bag holderYou know that all the money goes to some special environmental fund (or funds) to help our planet to recover from the use and abuse we, the humankind, subject her to. I am sure you have also known why the use of plastic is so destructive for our environment. This is because it takes a very long time for the plastic to break down naturally. Plastic bags sent to landfill may take decades to decompose.

Alternatives to Tossing Plastic Bags

Some people choose to reuse the plastic bags. While some reuse plastic bags occasionally, others do so systemically. For example, they can keep or transfer their gold fish when they are cleaning their fish bowl. Some will have collected the plastic bags and weave them together to create multicolored carpet (see how to make a carpet out of old plastic bags). Some others will simply use them to fill up holes in drywall before applying a thin layer of plaster or use plastic bags to give a drywall ceiling some texture.

Why Talk About a Plastic Bag Holder?

plastic bag holderWhile taxing and reusing plastic bags appears to have distributed (not concentrated) effect on the environment, to me it looks much better than a forced effort to recycle plastic bags. It is a simpler approach. And it does not force the industry to set up a costly collection network and to find new products to reuse that collected plastic. But no matter the merit of this or that approach, why talk about a plastic bag holder? Surely these little things are inconsequential, why dedicate an article let alone bother talking about them? Bear with me for a minute. And I am going to try to explain how we see this issue.

We know that the population of the U.S. is approximately 326 million.  We also know that there is an average of 2.6 person per household, which gives us 125 million households.

If we assume that most of these have a plastic bag holder or two hung to one door of their kitchen cabinet not far from the sink, the potential number of plastic bag holders becomes significant. Let us just assume it is 100 million plastic bag holders for a sake of the argument.

Plastic Bag Holder, an Equally Bad Player

Our research suggests that most plastic bag holder models are made out of plastic or a combination of plastic and aluminum. They vary in weight between 7 ounces and 1 pound 2 ounces. So, let us say median weight is around 12.5 ounces. This roughly translates into 75,000 tons of plastic.

plastic bag holderNow, according to Stanford University, the plastic bag weighs approximately 5.5 grams or 0.2 ounces. With 1 billion plastic bags used in the
U.S. per year, this translates to approximately 6,250 tons of plastic per year. So the U.S. is consuming, by weight, approximately 1/12 of plastic bag holders in plastic bags. Put differently, it would take 12 years worth of plastic bag usage to arrive to the same amount of plastic spent on plastic bag holders.

Given the fact that, plastic bags came into mass use after 1977 (40 years ago), and assuming 1 billion use rate was the same back then (which is clearly a stretch), a contemporary plastic bag holder is as responsible for contaminating environment as the actual plastic bags. If two are combined, 3/4 of the responsibility lies with plastic bags while 1/3 lies with plastic bag holders. And if one takes into the account the fact that a wall of any plastic bag holder is tens of times thicker than the wall of a plastic bag, which implies much longer decomposition terms, one can argue that a plastic bag holder is as responsible for the environmental damage as a plastic bag.

Can You Recycle a Plastic Bag or a Plastic Bag Holder?

From the traditional rigid plastic bag holder underneath the kitchen sink to a plastic bag being used as a plastic bag holder for the other bags, most plastics are recyclable. However, one must use a certain quantity of energy to bring the plastic into a liquid form necessary for recycling. As plastic products are not all the same, some plastic products can only be made out of virgin raw materials. Others can be manufactured from a combination of the virgin raw materials and recycled plastic, and a third can be refined from recycled plastics.

The traditional rigid plastic bag holder, the garbage bag holder made of either wire that is plastic coated or completely made out of rigid plastic – technically all these plastic bag holders can and should be recycled. Of the two the rigid plastic is the best as it is completely recyclable into raw material that can be given a second life as for example lesser quality products such as paint or plastic trays. The metal wire coated with plastic can be recovered by heating the plastic. New decorative perforated plastic bag holders are also a decent alternative as they will last a long time and at the end of their useful life they can also be recycled and reused in a different form.

The scientists have to put their best efforts to find new applications that will make it possible to use as much recycled material in as many finished products. As if we want to recycle plastic products, we have to recycle both plastic bags and plastic bag holders – it may take creating a whole new industry. For example, we may need to have depots that will accept the plastic products in as many and convenient locations as possible. And as the collection of recycled plastic containers kick in, we may need to have industry ready and standing by to accept this recycled plastic. Otherwise, this newly collected plastic material may have to finds its way to new landfills, which again defeats the purpose of recycling. Furthermore, as we, as a society, may have to come up with new types of plastic, which take much shorter periods to decompose.

This may require rethinking about how we, as a society, approach developing new products. As the plastic use has become ever more ubiquitous, on our design of the new products, we should ask questions whether we can utilize recycled plastic in its manufacturing.

An Environmentally Friendly Plastic Bag Holder

My sister Anya and I, Nina, decided to do something about it, we wanted to do our share for our planet so we put our minds to work and created a small collection of environment-friendly plastic bag holders. These plastic bag holders are hand-made from natural and environmentally friendly cotton.

We realized that aside from the environmental problem they cause, plastic bags, for the most part, are ugly. And not many folks would want to display them in their house and certainly not a large quantity of them. That said, we also were mindful that these plastic bags could be practical and one would want to access them easily. Thus, we thought, it has to be also a plastic bag dispenser. So we pushed ahead with the creation of our first model, which we called Mama Goose Plastic Bag Holder.

Initially, to see if people would like them, we offered Mamma Goose as a gift for family and friends. People like them. So, we created additional models and people started to buy them as both a novelty and practical item. When we had developed several other models, all very attractive, we gave them names. Mama Goose Plastic Bag Holder you’ve already met (we offered Mama Goose in green too). Please meet Rooster Wooster Grocery Bag Holder and Kitchen Storage Accessory Lady MooMoo. And last but not least, meet Shopping Bag Organizer Thumper Bunny. All are handmade. And we put a lot of pride into their design, crafting and assembly. Not only are we doing our little something to help our planet, we feel proud of our sustainable and environmentally friendly operation.

Let’s Make Plant Friendly Plastic Bag Holder a Movement

If ones insist on the importance of the decorative aspect of plastic bag holder, we believe there are no better options than BagMates. You can substitute a fabric-made bag holder, which come in dozens if not hundreds of colors and shapes. Enough to satisfy the most demanding consumer while eliminating the use of plastic in this application.

All of these ideas may seem very minute but if you, your neighbors, your city, your state and your country decide to all do their part, we will soon form a chain that no one will be able to stop. And as soon our politicians will become “advocates’’ and “promoters’’ of the same ideas, we will all collectively enjoy a better tomorrow for us and our children.

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