Content type: Video
Credits: Unknown author, sourced from Giphy
Year: Unknown

This plastic bag will roll across the grass forever on a continuous loop, a seemingly fitting representation of the never-ending, non-degradable life of plastic. The plastic bag is so deeply embedded in contemporary life that it now seems wholly unremarkable. But where did it come from?

The plastic bag was first patented in Sweden in 1965 by a company called Celloplast. By 1979, 80% of major European supermarkets had converted from paper to plastic bags, closely followed by a similar switch in the USA. Since its inception, the humble plastic bag has been heavily invested in and marketed by stakeholders including oil companies and supermarkets.

On a more positive note, this little video could also be read as a testament to our changing attitudes towards plastic, with the non-branded single-use plastic bag already becoming a rarer and rarer sight since 2017 when many governments started to instigate single-use plastic bans. In the UK the introduction of a 5 pence charge on plastic bags in 2018 has led to a 90% decrease in plastic bag use in large supermarkets. The European Union is currently working on legislation to drastically restrict the use of Single-Use Plastics (SUPs) targeting products such as polystyrene food and beverage containers, disposable cutlery, sticks for balloons and cotton buds.