Which is better to use in public markets, plastic bag or paper bag?Introduction In my everyday life, I have always seen plastic bag and paper bag at home, school, market, and even in the streets that I used to pass through, being used by many people.
These are the primary materials used for holding and carrying goods, products, etc. usually bought from a store or market for the people’s convenience, safety, and ease (Oxford Dictionary, 2018). The usage of these materials has a big part in the market industry. Market sellers usually put their products with plastic or paper bag after their product are being sold. In another perspective, buyers bring either of these two before going to the market in order for them to be more comfortable in holding the goods they will buy.
As well as individuals or civilians, use these to hold their things. When you look in a wider picture, after being used of these materials, people just dispose these in the trash, where these plastic and paper bag turn into garbages, and these garbages are being dumped untreated in the dump site or bodies of water. Since, plastic bag and paper bag are included from that of those often used materials in our daily lives, which is better to use particular in public markets, considering its life cycle from raw material procurement, manufacturing, distribution, customer use, and post customer use?Life Cycle Analysis of Plastic Bag Let us evaluate first the plastic bag. It is a type of packaging material used to contain and transport food, waste, and consumer goods, made of thin, flexible, plastic film, starch, or plastic textile (Your Dictionary, 1996-2018). Plastic bag is very light and has variety of colors, sizes, texture, thickness, and flexibility.
Most people choose to use this because it is durable and very convenient for them compared to paper bag.Raw Material ProcurementPolyethylene is the primal ingredient and substance in producing plastic bags. It is the product of extracted natural gas – ethylene, then treated, until it forms into polymer. Generally, polymers which are group of chemical synthesized molecules, are mainly used for creating plastics. There are different sources of making polyethylene. The most common and essential sources for making plastic bags nowadays are petroleum and natural gas. But for some, almost often from the form of fossil fuel (Lacoma, 2017).ManufacturingPoly (2014) said that, the process of making plastic bags is fairly easy.
It only has two steps to create, but requires special equipment: The first step is called extrusion. At 500 degrees F, an extruder is used to heat the polyethylene plastic, which at this temperature, the pellets melt, and also the molten plastic is pushed into the machine, while die determines the thickness of the bag, simultaneously. Then, the outside air and cooling process will push the plastic film into a bubble. Next, the film will be placed onto a spindle after being cut into its right size; The second step is called conversion department. This is process begins once the plastic bag is sent and placed onto the spindle. The film roll becomes unwrapped and cut with a heated knife that seals the sides of the bags together. Lastly, heat process will help to cut the handles, and logos, designs, and texts are added.DistributionPlastic bags are still a product produced by manufacturers.
Hence, its distribution to locals is the same as the typical products. Producer – wholesaler – retailer – customer is the product distribution plastic bags manufacturers follow. It starts from producer to wholesaler to retailer until it finally reaches customers (The Stages of Product Distribution, 2015).
However, in the actual case, the customers is not the smallest buyer of this product since most stores where they buy products are the ones who must provide plastic bags for them. Hence, the retailers and wholesalers are the sectors where this product is distributed.Consumer UseSince bags are dominantly prevalent nowadays, and are disposable, plus its relatively unbreakable chemical substance, lots of plastics are dumped and makes environment more polluted. So, its usage and production reduced by the government through plastic bag ban.
They also influenced people to bring their own bag in market, especially eco bags or paper bags.Post-consumer UseAlmost all plastic bags were being disposed after use. Dumped untreated a dump site which contaminates and pollutes environment. But in some countries, these bags were collected to recycle or crush into small pieces and burn.Life Cycle Analysis of Paper BagAnother type of market bag is paper bag, or a bag that is completely made of paper usually cardboard, Kraft paper, or brown paper commonly used as shopping bags, grocery bag, and carrier bag (Oxford, 2010-2018).
Raw Material ProcurementWood fiber from trees is the main material or ingredient in making papers nowadays. Some recycled materials for creating this are newspaper vegetable matter, and cloth. The stronger papers also called “softwood” are made from coniferous trees , such as fir and spruce, because they have longer cellulose fibers in the pulp. Other materials used in paper manufacture include bleaches and dyes, fillers such as chalk, clay, or titanium oxide, and sizings such as rosin, gum, and starch.
ManufacturingIn this process of creating papers, it has 4 steps, which is greater than that of the plastic bag. Just like in the manufacturing of plastic bags, paper bags also requires special equipments. This process is based on the research of Art (1980):”Making pulp is the first step. Several processes are commonly used to convert logs to wood pulp. Next is Beating. The pulp is next put through a pounding and squeezing process called, appropriately enough, beating.
Inside a large tub, the pulp is subjected to the effect of machine beaters. At this point, various filler materials can be added such as chalks, clays, or chemicals such as titanium oxide. Paper that will receive a printed design, such as gift wrapping, requires a particular formula of sizing that will make the paper accept the printing properly. Pulp to paper is the third step. In order to finally turn the pulp into paper, the pulp is fed or pumped into giant, automated machines.
Finally, the dried paper is wound onto large reels, where it will be further processed depending on its ultimate use. Paper is smoothed and compacted further by passing through metal rollers called calendars. A particular finish, whether soft and dull or hard and shiny, can be imparted by the calendars.”DistributionPaper bags are distributed by Paper Bags Manufacturers through markets.
They follow delivery distribution system to distribute their product the same as with the plastic bags.Consumer UseThe usage of these bags is more supported by the government since they banned the use of plastic bags. People were encouraged to use these bags by the government because it is eco-friendly.Post-consumer UseAfter using, paper bags were just disposed and did not segregated to other wastes. The government still has to restrict their laws and regulations in order for the people to be more disciplined.Conclusion In summary, paper bag is better to use in market compared to plastic bag. The substances that plastics have, which make it durable, light, and flexible, really give people convenience and ease.
However, once it was being disposed, its existence in the environment lasts in a very long time which makes our environment more contaminated and congested. Unlike paper bags, it decomposes quickly than plastics, since it is made from fiber. Also, the sources of its raw materials such as tree is renewable. After all, whichever between the two we are going to use, we still have the responsibility to be disciplined and responsible in everything that we do and not be abusive in the advantages that nature provides us.