A Short History of the Plastic Bag

The Associated Press has put together a short visual history of the plastic bag, beginning with its introduction to the U.S. market in 1977. Of course, for all the info that is included, such as the recently passed bag bag in Los Angeles or the fact that a one ounce plastic bag can carry up to 44 pounds, there is no mention of how much harm plastic bags cause or why communities are seeking to ban them in the first place.

How would this slideshow look different if a balanced perspective were taken into account? For starters, it would probably include fewer photos of happy people in the supermarket and incorporate several snapshots of strangled marine mammals or incineration dumps in the developing world. I realize that isn't sexy or interesting to the general public, but it would make for a more honest timeline of events.

Plastic bags irrevocably harm the environment. Let's celebrate the latest bag ban victory but not a history of manufacturing products that we can never get rid of.

Photo via Urban Woodswalker on Flickr

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