LIFE-CYCLE ANALYSIS OF PAPER BAGS AND PLASTIC BAGSHouse Bill No. 106 filed by Honorable Lani Mercado-Revilla stated that within three years, plastic bags would be prohibitively forbidden to manufacture, sell and used non-biodegradable plastic bag. because of the effects it caused in the environment. On the contrary, Philippine Plastic Industry Association (PPIA) said that making one paper bag can cost more than one plastic bag when it comes to the threes needed to cut, amount of water used, and the energy needed.
This implies that when it comes to raw materials and energy, paper bags cost more than plastic bag. This issue is still debatable. Thus, this review paper aims to clarify things between plastic bags and paper in terms of the materials and energy it consumed by analyzing its life-cycle. I. Life-Cycle Analysis of Paper BagsPaper bags are generally made from wood, specifically from wood fibers and requires.
Making papers requires lots of trees needed to be cut down. Cut trees will be converted into logs then to wood pulp. Logs must be tumbled in drums to remove the barks then will be sent to grinders which will break down the wood into pulp. The pulp will then go to the process of beating inside the large tub using machine beaters. At this point, chalks, clay and chemicals such as titanium oxide can be added as well as sizing. Sizing affects how the paper react with different inks.
Without sizing, paper will be absorbent. The pulp will now be turned into paper by pumping into giant automated machines. The pulp is pressed through a series of rollers and the suction device below the belt will drain off water.
The paper will now be passed over a steam-heated cylinders to remove excess water.Finally, paper is polished and compacted by passing through a metal rollers and will be coated either brush or rolled on. Then the paper is cut depending on the size desired and can now be distributed to different companies who make paper bags. The finished paper bag is transported to different areas across the world. (Garret, n.d.
). There are lots of Paper Manufacturer in the Philippines so we do not need import product from the foreign Manufacturer which saves energy but during the distribution of paper bags or paper products, the manufacturers need to ensure that the paper will not be crumpled nor got wet during the transportation. Paper bags are sold to people and used as a form of carrying tools for foods and products. Paper bags are used mostly everyday. The bad thing about paper bags is when you buy wet goods such as fish and meat it tends to break and disintegrate because paper cannot handle the weight of such goods.
Good thing about paper bags is it can be recycled and it can be decompose easily in the landfill in a few months because it contains 35% recycled material (Dray, 2015). II. Life-Cycle Analysis of Plastic BagsPetroleum is the vital ingredients in making plastic bags. This petroleum is used to produce polyethylene. Polyethylene is the building block of plastic bag that is made up of many chains carbon atoms bonded to hyrogen atoms.
Because of the patterned structure of the plastic, it would be much easier to manipulate the shapes and the densities (Lacoma, 2017). Creating a plastic bag is much easier than making paper. The first step in making plastic bags is extrusion, wherein the extruder is used to heat the polyethylene plastic to a temperature of about 260 degrees Celcius. The molten plastic will be pushed into machine that determines the thickness of the bag.
After this, the plastic will be turned into plastic film and will be pushed into bubble by the outside air and through a cooling process. The film will be cut into desired size and place into spindle. The film will be sent to a conversion department wherein they unwrap the plastic film roll and seals both sides of the plastic (Poly, 2014). Plastic bags are easy to distribute and manufactured.
Plastic manufacturers distribute in store or market to be used by the costumers. Plastic bags is used as carrying tools to carry goods either wet or dry. Plastic bags can be use again but it cannot be recycled. It ends up in the landfill which decompose for over 500 years and may be end up in the ocean wherein it can cause clogs if not properly disposed. According to Cho (2012), there are over 165 million tons of plastic bag or plastic that floats in the bodies of water that can affect the life of marine animals.
Plastic bags and paper bags are both beneficial to people but not with the environment. They both have advantage and disadvantage. For instance, paper bags can decrease the use of plastic bags because paper bags are Eco-friendly than plastic but in paper production trees needed to be cut down just to make papers. Cutting trees and convert it to papers cause floods, soil erosion, and global warming due to lack of plants that absorbed carbon dioxide (Rubis, 2015).
On the other hand, plastic bags can be use again and again but cannot be recycled because of the lower percentage of recycled materials it contains. According to an article entitled “Paper versus plastic bags”, they conducted a qualitative analysis of both paper bag and plastic bag which clarifies that paper bags required higher storage space than plastic bags in terms of compressibility. In addition, in terms of reusability, plastic bag is much higher than paper. Also, in terms of energy production demand, paper bags require lots of energy.
On the contrary, in terms of biodegradability, paper is more biodegradable than plastic except if the plastic bag is made of biodegradable plastics. III. Conclusion Based on the findings and analyzation, plastic bags is proven to be less harmful than paper because plastic bag consumes 71% less energy during the production process and requires 58 gallons of water to produce 1500 bags than paper bags because paper bags require 1502 gallons of water to create 1500 bags. Plastic bag creates less waste than paper bags because it actually emit large amount of green house gases (“Paper versus plastic bags”, n.d.
). Overall, to be more eco-friendly, the use of bayong and/or cloth bags is a better choice for the consumers. It saves our environment because it can be used for a multiple times. Also, people should be responsible in using bags either paper bags or plastic bags. They must use it properly and not just throwing it anywhere which damage our environment. A little action of change can create a macro effect in the environment.