Paper grocery bags are the latest item of consumer electronics to get a boost in popularity.
And, like the paper bags we’ve been using for decades, they have a limited lifespan.
They can be recycled.
But, there’s a problem.
They’re not very durable.
In the latest issue of New Scientist, a team of scientists has analysed more than 100,000 paper grocery bags and discovered that most don’t hold up to the stresses of daily life.
Their durability is based on the way they’re made.
In the case of paper bags that are manufactured using a single layer of paper, they can last a long time, the researchers report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
The paper bag is made up of three layers.
The bottom layer is made of a layer of epoxy resin that is chemically stable, and is made from the same plastic as the bag’s fabric.
The top layer is a layer made of an even softer material, which is called polyester.
The second layer is the soft-wearing outer layer that is made with polyester, and consists of a polymer that is stronger than the polyester used in the top layer.
Scientists are keen to find out how these materials will perform under different conditions.
But what they’ve discovered is that even if you make the plastic thicker, the plastic will continue to shrink when exposed to the elements, which means that paper bags will continue making more and more cracks.
They’ve also found that plastic bags can be washed and dried, but that the water and air that come with drying is not as effective as it could be.
They conclude: The plastic bags we make have a finite life cycle.
We need to be careful to avoid using plastic bags that do not last very long.
Researchers from the University of Queensland and the University the University at Albany, USA, have been investigating the durability of paper grocery bag fabric and found that the polyethylene layer in a single sheet is about 25 per cent more durable than the other layers, according to the researchers.
But the polystyrene layer is not.
“In the case that you want to make a durable plastic, you have to make the material very thick and then you can make it strong enough to withstand the stresses that you put on it,” said lead author Professor James Anderton from the UQ Centre for Sustainable Materials.
“But it’s not just about the thickness of the material, but also how the material behaves under certain stresses.”
Anderton and his colleagues tested different materials, and found the paper grocery grocery bag with a polyethyl, which would have a better durability than the one with a styrene.
They also tested the durability in a dry and an air-drying test.
The research suggests that it’s important to use the right plastic.
In general, plastics that are more durable and flexible are more environmentally friendly.
“The polyethylen is a plastic that can be more environmentally sensitive, as the plastics are made from an all-purpose organic substance, which has been shown to be less toxic and more durable,” said Andertton.
“So the more environmentally responsible plastics are, the better.”
But the researchers say that the best plastics are those made from synthetic polymers.
If you’re looking for the most durable paper grocery shopping bags, this is the one for you.