Home / News / How plastic bags were supposed to help the planet – BBC News

How plastic bags were supposed to help the planet – BBC News

The plastic carrier bag has become something of a symbol for the problems caused by plastic pollution.

But according to the family of the man who created it, Sten Gustaf Thulin, his design was supposed to help the planet and he’d be shocked and upset to see what it’s become.

The Thulin family make no money from the sale of the bags.

BBC Environment Reporter Laura Foster explains what was supposed to happen and why paper and cotton bags can actually be worse for the environment than plastic ones that are recycled.

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32 comments

  1. Avatar

    When are we going to talk about the real problem? Far too many humans and an ever increasing amount too. If humans are speeding up climate change then the more there is the faster it'll become

  2. Avatar

    there are 3 issues this doesn't cover:
    1. mfg of bags have to be made well enough to not break before you get home the 1st time.
    2. cotton / paper when it breaks down become soil & 'plastic' just get smaller and smaller & never goes away
    3. and finally they don't mention that there are further solutions for bags, such as Marijuana HEMP which also when grown is a CARBON Eating Plant as well.

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  3. Avatar

    DiD you know :
    The mind does not flourish enough in Cold , Nor it does in Hot climate
    this beside other factors
    Yookai isnt really smart

  4. Avatar

    The only problem is on how people use the plastic bags and throw it anywhere they like. The world’s laziness is the problem

  5. Avatar

    Greed and laziness are the main culprits. Humans are too dumb or ignorant to actually give a fuck about their motherland. Oh, white folks that is. Most countries contribute little to climate change, while a small set of rich fucks take a dump collectively on the planet, and everyone else has to clean up their mess.

  6. Avatar

    Yeah, you can do better, but good luck getting the hoardes of the 3rd world to listen to you.

  7. Avatar

    The problem isn't so much the material, but the fact that we keep treating everything disposable. ♻️

  8. Avatar

    Plastic has become the scapegoat for our laziness.

  9. Avatar

    Plastics are good in some instances: like in cars.

  10. Avatar

    Like straws, plastic bags are a convenient scapegoat to distract from the MUCH bigger crisis of climate.
    So sure, try to stop using plastic, but that won't stop the environmental catastrophe underway. That will take much bigger changes.
    But we can make those changes, IF we accept they have to happen and demand that our governments make them happen 👍🌍🌱

  11. Avatar

    I thought you where going to say they can help the world if they where put over bad peoples heads . 🤷‍♂️

  12. Avatar

    Hey, I have an idea, why don't you just shove all your stuff up your ass and carry it around and I will keep using bags?

  13. Avatar

    Does your council recycle plastic bags coz mine sure doesn't. 🤬
    And you wonder why people are protesting out government over it's complete failure to look after our environment.
    They can't even get the trivial basics done. What chance is there that they can get us off our carbon addiction in a hurry?!

  14. Avatar

    If you make a trash you will be a trash 😐

  15. Avatar

    Poor people been doing that long time ago till now, they just use what the rich peoples left over, used items, poor people basically repurposing all the items rich used. so tell that to the middle class and rich people because they are the group of people whos damaging the earth.

  16. Avatar

    Those that have consumed the most shouldn't get away with blaming ALL humans.

  17. Avatar

    Choosing between just "single-use" plastic bags and paper/cotton reusable bags is a false dichotomy! There are plenty of durable plastic options. I use ripstop nylon bags myself. I also think if the plastic bags companies have been giving away for decades (and now sell) were made of slightly thicker material more of them would have been reused. I'd wager good money that the bags of today are markedly thinner than the original invention.

  18. Avatar

    This is absolute nonsense. As long as you replant the trees you are using a renewable resource. Nature is all about growing and dying and growing and dying…

  19. Avatar

    Send a man to paradise and he will teach the people there to lie and be mean.

  20. Avatar

    Escucha bbc decir la verdad como terminar con las guerras no es locura locura es dejar que continue

  21. Avatar

    The US is the largest #plasticwaste exporter/dumper

    Now the largest US trash collector plans to
    end exports to “poor countries”

    ⁦@ismawati64⁩ ⁦@oztoxics⁩
    ⁦@Davzoul⁩ ⁦@aliansizwid⁩ ⁦⁦@BaselAction⁩ ⁦@aplastic_planet⁩ https://t.co/efMK8HLXEN

    👍👍👍

  22. Avatar

    I only like the part where she said, "use it again and again, and when it breaks, mend it!!!". Indeed that's the way to go.

  23. Avatar

    Govmnts are supposed to help people build a better society too <<< FREE ASSANGE

  24. Avatar

    Plastic bags, at least here in the US are not made for multiple use, you are lucky if they hold up the first time. They tear, and split most have holes in the seams before putting a single item in them. The manufacturers FORCED us to use plastic and now blame us for them being in landfills and blowing around the streets. Why isn't HEMP included in this article?

  25. Avatar

    Video fails to address plastic bag use as trash bag

  26. Avatar

    Should have made those
    Bags with gold see if people would still throw it casually.

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