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Discussions Discussion French Basic
Romain Masson, Oct. 4, 2012

Hi all , I’m French , if you need help or have a question , i’m here for help you ;)

Romain Masson

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
srini n, Nov. 23, 2011

One contributor to personal carbon footprint that we all city dwellers leave is the use of plastic bags while shopping.

Says a post in Time for Change…
“The carbon footprint of plastic (LDPE or PET, poyethylene) is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic. If you know the weight of your plastic bags, you can multiply it with the number of plastic bag you are using per year. Then you can easily calculate the carbon dioxide emitted by your own usage of plastic bags. See below for some background information.

The production of 1 kg of polyethylene (PET or LDPE), requires the equivalent of 2 kg of oil for energy and raw material (see here). Polyethylene PE ist the most commonly used plastic for plastic bags.
Burning 1 kg of oil creates about 3 kg of carbon dioxide (see e.g. our offline carbon footprint calculator). In other words: Per kg of plastic, about 6 kg carbon dioxide is created during production and incineration.
A plastic bag has a weight in the range of about 8 g to 60 g depending on size and thickness. For the further calculation, it now depends on which weight for a plastic bag you actually use. A common plastic carrying bag in our household had a weight between 25 g and 40 g. So I took the average of 32.5 g.
Take the above relation between kg plastics and kg of carbon dioxide, and you get about 200 g carbon dioxide for 32.5 g of plastic, which is the equivalent of the average plastic carrying bag in our household. Or in other words: For 5 plastic bags you get 1 kg of CO2.
Of course you’ll find different figures on the Internet. The main factors are the weight of the plastic bag and whether the grey energy (energy used for production and disposal) is taken into account.”


and another post talks about how this is being tackled in India.


srini n
Comments (1)
  • sarrina suer sarrina suer Oct. 20, 2013
    Wow, Thanks you Srini N. I found this post quite interesting. If we are emitting 6kg of CO2 for each kg of plastic bags {about 30 bags}we are polluting more CO2 then we are even getting worth of the product. which creates the question is this even worth it? Plastic bags were designed for convenience but the truth is this may be creating more of an inconvenience in our lives.

    when you go to a land fill you see a wide variety of items, but one that really stands out is the plastic bags all sitting there. In my house on average we get about ten plastic bags a week grocery shopping and maybe reuse five of them the others are sometimes saved then recycled back at the grocery store. Over the years though I have realized that not every grocery store has a bin to recycle your bags at and not all my friends recycle or even reuse their bags. This creating all these bags getting thrown away, and put in a landfill, For a simple bag we created pollution CO2 emissions to make the bag using it once to take groceries then putting it into a landfill.

    One great step some cities have taken is stores have to charge the customer a few for the bag. Preventing people from using a bag if not needed and to limit the number needed. This creates the push for reusable bags and reusing bags. Although in the beginning it may seem like an inconvenience in the long run it will be very effective, I think more cities should start adopting this new law.

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