Common Misconceptions About Plastic Bags

Over the years we have realized there are a number of consumer misconceptions about plastic bags and the environment. In an effort to clear up these misconceptions, I thought it would be helpful to address some of the most frequently asked questions about plastic bags and the environment. Have you ever wondered if…

Plastic bags are made using oil?

No. In North America most Polyethylene, the material used to make plastic shopping bags, is primarily made from natural gas and not oil.

There is a limited number of times plastic can be recycled?

No. However, studies show that about 60% of plastic bags are reused for waste bin liners or pet waste, so the maximum recycled content that can be achieved is 40% without using other materials such as milk jugs and other wraps and film. Therefore, most recycled content will rarely be older than third or fourth generation.

Plastic bags are major source of litter and marine debris?

Most litter studies show that plastic bags are around 2-3% of litter by item count and less than 0.1% by volume. Extensive audits in San Francisco conducted in 2007 and 2008 found plastic bags to be only 0.6% and 0.64% of litter composition. Even though studies show that plastic bags are not a significant litter component, Hilex Poly continues to actively take part in helping reduce litter through a variety of initiatives including public education campaigns and recycling programs.

Plastic bags are toxic?

Simply put, our plastic retail bags are not toxic! Plastic retail bags made in the United States are part of a very responsible industry that takes pride in providing safe bags for consumers. As a recycler, Hilex Poly tests all materials recycled in our closed loop recycling facility to ensure all content is safe as well.

It is more expensive to recycle a plastic bag than to make a new one?

No. It actually costs about the same or slightly less to make a plastic shopping bag from recycled content.

Do you have a question about plastic bags that has not been addressed in this post? Contact us and we would be happy to provide an answer to your question!