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Plastic Bags

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Some plastic bags ready to be recycled.

Since the mid- to late-1970s, the plastic bag has almost completely replaced the paper bag. Some stores, however, are now going back to using the paper bag for environmental reasons, but these also have their own drawbacks. For example, they cost more to transport due to being heavier and taking up more space.

Types of Plastic Bags

There are many varying types of plastic bag. The most common bag is the one found in supermarkets. It is given to you freely in order for you to carry your shopping home. This bag is very thin and can rip quite easily, resulting in spilled shopping, as seen in many comedies. It also usually has the name of the store which you have purchased from emblazoned on its side. This was first implemented around 1982 when stores like Safeway replaced the then-traditional craft sacks with 'T-shirt bags'. The plastic bag may also be re-used in stores, which will prompt the cashier to give you a penny back in return.

If you don't want to give free advertising to stores, you can always turn the bag inside out.

Another type found in food stores is a thick bag near the tills. This particular bag is one that must be purchased. The advantage this bag has over the free one is that it is much stronger and less likely to rip. Reinforced handles are also used in this particular type. A thick plastic bag is also found in retail stores; however, this one is given to you free when you purchase something from the store.

Many bags are found in supermarkets, such as the small clear plastic bag used to carry fruit or sweets (in most circumstances not together). These types can be reused for holding sandwiches. Other bags which are used for this purpose are the sealing plastic bags. This bag will seal at the top in order to keep its contents fresh.

Clothes stores can take pride in their plastic bags, lavishing them with string handles and bright colours. Some stores seem to spend more money on the design of their bags than they do on the items they are selling.

There is also a cheap plastic bag known by many as the 'market bag'. This bag can be found in market stalls, newspaper shops, and the like. It rips very easily and is usually found to have red or blue and white stripes.

Uses for Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are normally used for carrying things, eg shopping, rubbish, and the like. Other uses include putting your hand inside the bag like a glove in order to clear up dog poo or vomit. A quirk of plastic bags is that both pets and children are strangely compelled to play with them. However, they can also result in suffocation, so care must always be taken when pets or children are in proximity of plastic bags.

Plastic bags can also be a fashion accessory: if you feel like saving some money while joining a new trend, they can even be turned into a bra. Many children also use plastic bags in the winter season. The bag is placed over a child's foot and the foot into a welly. No one knows why this tradition is in place, but some rumours speculate over snow monsters stealing children's socks...


Many bags can be found stored in the ever-present 'bag cupboard' in many peoples' kitchens. This cupboard contains bags from every store ever visited and can result in people being suffocated by an out-pouring of bags...

Another place to store your carrier bags is in a small cotton bag with elasticised holes in the top and bottom. You put your plastic bag in the top hole and when you need a plastic bag, you pull it from the bottom hole.

Strengths and Weaknesses

All things have their strengths and weaknesses. Plastic bags mainly have weaknesses:

  • Often you will find that you may be likely to lose sensations in the ends of your fingers due to lack of blood supply when your bags are supporting a lot of weight. Some stores tackle this problem by selling handy plastic grips. These clip to the bag handles and make carrying the bag much easier.

  • Also our trees are always littered with the odd bag stuck in branches.

  • It is sometimes almost impossible to open a plastic bag. It requires a certain trick which this Researcher will divulge now. If you lick the end of your thumb and place the bag between your thumb and finger, then try to open the bag, you will find it happen much easier. Alternatively, you can rub your hands together, with the bag in between your palms, which should also have the desired effect.

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