By: Christian Lindsay Shopper leaves grocery store with plastic bags full of groceries


1862: In London, the Great International Exhibition is held and Alexander Parkes introduces the first man made plastic to the public.[1] This was a very important first step towards the plastic dominated world we live in today because it opened the eyes of the world to the possibilities of plastic.


1869: American inventor John W. Hyatt makes 18 the first successful plastic product, celluloid. This new plastic entered production in 1872. The reason celluloid was considered to be successful is because the two previous plastics introduced before this were made at very high costs and led to bankruptcies. [2]


1908:  Jacques E. Brandenberger, Swiss textile engineer invented cellophane which is a clear and protective packaging plastic. Cellophane is still a very popular plastic of today. [3]


1941: Research experts that worked for Dow’s Chemical Physics lab discovered a way to produce foamed polystyrene, otherwise known as Styrofoam. This was a big moment in the history of the  natural environment because Styrofoam is known for being very detrimental to the Mother Nature, as it does not disintegrate well. [4]


1961: Keep America Beautiful uses funding from makers of single use plastic bags to run a series of very effective public service announcements to shift the blame for pollution from distributors to bag consumers. [5]


1977: The plastic bag is introduced to the grocery industry as an alternate option to paper shopping bags. [6]


June 1st, 2008: The government of China places a ban on plastic bags. The ban has supposedly saved 6 million tons of oil. [7]


2008: The world’s population discarded approximately over 3.5 million tons of plastic bags. [8]


October 1st, 2012: San Francisco places ban on plastic bags. They are the first city in the United States to do this. [9]

May 1st, 2013: The city of Eugene places a ban on all plastic bags that are thinner than 4 mils.[10] 

[1], “The History of Plastics”, (no date listed)

[2], “Timeline of Plastic History”, (no date listed)

[3], “History or Cellophane”, (January 1, 2001)

[4], “History of Styrofoam”, (no date listed)

[5], “History of the plastic bag” (May 17, 2011)

[6], “A timeline of the Plastic Bag Industry”, (no date listed)

[7], “China’s plastic-bag ban turns five years old” (June 4, 2013)

[8], “Facts about the plastic bag pandemic”, (no date listed)

[9], “Plastic bags are history in San Francisco”, (no date listed)

[10], “Time to Bag it” (February 27, 2013)