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Great Moments in Plastic Bag History

1957

The first baggies and sandwich bags on a roll are introduced.

1958

Poly dry cleaning bags compete with traditional brown paper.

1966

Plastic bag use in bread packaging takes over 25 to 30 percent of the market.

1966

Plastic produce bags on a roll are introduced in grocery stores.

1969

The New York City Sanitation Department's "New York City Experiment" demonstrates that plastic refuse bag curbside pickup is cleaner, safer and quieter than metal trash can pick-up, beginning a shift to plastic can liners among consumers.

1974/75

Retailing giants such as Sears, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, Jordan Marsh, Allied, Federated and Hills make the switch to plastic merchandise bags.

1973

The first commercial system for manufacturing plastic grocery bags becomes operational

1977

The plastic grocery bag is introduced to the supermarket industry as an alternative to paper sacks.

1982

Kroger and Safeway start to replace traditional craft sacks with polyethylene "t-shirt" bags.

1990

The first blue bag recycling program begins with curbside collection.

1990

Consumer plastic bag recycling begins through a supermarket collection-site network.

1992

Nearly half of U.S. supermarkets have recycling available for plastic bags.

1996

Four of five grocery bags used are plastic.

1. The environmental 3 R's stand for:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

2. The environmental 3R's are used in a certain order to indicate the best ways to conserve natural resources. The correct order is:

reduce, reuse, recycle

3. "Source Reduction" means:

Using less materials to produce a package for products.
When buying something at the store, choosing a package that uses less material, even if it's not recyclable in some cases.
Making smaller packages for products purchased at the store.

4. Choose examples of "recycling" from the following options:

Aluminum cans sold to a recycling center to be made into new cans.
Plastic bags returned to a supermarket collection center to be made into products such as decks and benches, irrigation pipe, speed bumps and trash bags.

5. Which of the following are examples of products made with "recycled content":

New plastic bags made with scrap plastic from plastic bag production.
New aluminum beverage cans made from used cans.
A glass bottle made from bottles included in a curbside recycling collection program.


RESULTS - 30 Ways to Improve Your EQ

How do you put the environmental 3Rs to work in your daily life? Here are some suggestions from other who have recently tested their EQ.

I Use Source Reduction In My Daily Life By:

  1. Not accepting paper bags at stores when I don't need them.
  2. Carrying my own bag to the grocery store.
  3. Buying more products with less packaging.
  4. Buying smaller packages.
  5. Wearing clothes from the 60's; they're still pretty fashionable.
  6. Shopping wisely and looking at packages to see if they are recycled products. I also ask myself if I really need this and if I could do without it.
  7. Using a canvas bag when I go grocery shopping.
  8. Looking for products with less packaging or refill options.
  9. Using as few plastic "silverware" items as possible.
  10. Car pooling.


I Reuse By:

  1. Reusing paper and plastic bags.
  2. Purchasing clothes and other items at thrift stores.
  3. Taking old stuff to Goodwill
  4. Using the back side of printed paper to write on.
  5. Putting trash in used plastic bags such as grocery bags.
  6. Washing out glass jars and bottles and using them for leftovers.
  7. Composting yard wastes, food, etc.
  8. Using plastic bags to put articles in.
  9. Using coat hangers from the cleaners and reusing dry cleaning bags.
  10. Using film cannisters to hold small items; using scrap fabric for a quilt.


I Recycle By:

  1. Sorting trash and participating in a curbside recycling program.
  2. Cashing in bottles and cans at the redemption center.
  3. Saving aluminum cans.
  4. Taking paper, plastic, glass, newspaper, magazines, cardboard, and aluminum/metal cans to the recycling center.
  5. Making use of my local recycling center -- for milk jugs, aluminum cans, newspapers, etc.
  6. Putting everything acceptable into the blue bin.
  7. Selling old clothes.
  8. Recycling old newspapers and coke cans.
  9. Recycling at home an acting as recycling coordinator at work.
  10. Placing aluminum and plastic in their appropriate bins at school and encouraging others to do the same

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