Preparation note: To complete one
of the activities in this module you will need a stack of paper
bags, a stack of plastic bags and a ruler.
Plastic bags were first introduced in 1977 and now account for
four out of every five bags handed out at grocery stores.
What is a Life Cycle Analysis
A Life cycle analysis involves making detailed
measurements during the manufacturing of the product, from the mining of
the raw materials used
in its production and distribution, its use, possible re-use or recycling,
and its eventual disposal.
Paper bags are made from trees, which are a renewable resource.
Most plastic bags are made from polyethylene,
which is made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource.
Life cycle analysis enables a manufacturer to quantify
how much energy and raw materials are used, and how much solid
waste, liquid waste and gaseous waste is generated at each stage
of the product's life.