Paper or Plastic?

I've have noticed while driving I-55 near Joliet, Illinois, that plastic bags like to blow in the wind and get caught in fences. This is particularly true along I-55 during the winter season.

On 09 January 2005, the Sunday Joliet Herald News ran a front-page story about plastic bags.

Plastic shopping bags are made from petroleum.

Plastic bag manufacturing creates pollution.

Plastic bags kill animals.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable.

Plastic bags can be recycled, but most recycling equipment can't process them. Lots of equipment stops working if plastic bags are encountered.

The Joliet Herald News article said that Ireland, in March of 2002, started charging about $0.20 (twenty cents) per plastic bag. Plastic bag usage in Ireland has fallen more than 90% since the plastic bag "tax" was implemented.

Plastic bag fees of $0.17 per bag may be implemented in San Francisco.

Plastic bags in "Germany, Sweden, Papua New Guinea and 30 towns in Alaska" have been banned.

4 trillion to 5 trillion plastic bags are made each year; North America and the UK use 80% of them. Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags per year and 0.6% are recycled.

Plastic bags are not a major litter contributor, but they are litter none the less.

  1. Write four trillion as a whole number.
  2. Compute the average of 4 trillion and 5 trillion.
  3. Compute the number of plastic bags Americans recycle.
  4. Compute the number of plastic bags Americans throw away over the span of a decade.
  5. The Foo family goes grocery shopping once a week for 52 weeks and each week they come home with 15 plastic bags of groceries. Compute the number of bags the Foo family uses per year.
Joliet Hearld News

Creator: Gerald D. Thurman []
Created: 28 February 2005

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