Title: Skills for Study 1
What are the main problems associated with using plastic bags? Identify solutions to reduce these problems.
Word count: 742
Tutor name: Bird, Marianne
City University Number: 110065767
Submission Date: 26/10/2011
Plastic bags have been used on a daily basis since 1977 (Williamson, 2003) as a means of carrying items such as groceries as they are not only convenient but also cheap. However, the over-use of plastic bags has posed significant threats to the environment in recent times as they are non-biodegradable and also a threat to wildlife. The primary reason for this concern is that plastics bags are not re-used, but simply disposed of in landfills. These problems have both social and environmental impacts that are of global concern. This essay will begin by illustrating the problems associated with plastic bags, followed by the various ways in which society can hope to resolve this dilemma. The manufacturing process of plastic bags commences with the extraction of and handling of raw materials. Large amounts of energy are required to extract crude oil, and most of the electricity used in the process of manufacturing the plastic used in these bags comes from coal-fired power plants (Greenfeet, 2004). The fundamental components of manufacturing plastic bags are petroleum and natural gases (Lajeunesse, 2004), whereby 4% of the world’s total oil production is used in the production of plastic bags (Greenfeet 2004). The toxic emissions and consequently air pollution of chemicals and carbon dioxide during the production of plastic bags presents a serious concern for the environment. According to the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment (1990), the manufacturing of two plastic bags produces 1.1 kg of atmospheric pollution, which contributes to acid rain and smog. Plastic bags are normally shipped to different consumer countries which also in turn has a harmful...