They play an essential role in maintaining the environment and are an indispensable item in today’s commercial, residential, and business world and yet this piece of plastic rarely gets the attention it deserves. A trash bag is pliable yet durable, very portable, and is a container that takes up almost no space when not in use. Trash bags help preserve our environment, keep our streets litter free, our restaurants hygienic, our construction sites safe, our hospitals sterile, to name just a few of the benefits that trash bags possess. In the developing process, trash bags capable of carrying different weight are produced giving the consumer the option to choose the best trash bag suitable for his or her needs. Trash bags are a ordinary part of our lives, it’s incredible to think how people managed before the invention of the trash bag. Surprisingly they were only invented in the 1950s by a man Harry Wasylyk. When you speak to people who lived then, it seems that they managed with what was available in many different and creative ways. They took care of their trash in the best way possible though it was quite noticeable, odorous and always left behind some remembrance.
Many households stored their trash in a little dish in their kitchen, lined with paper towels, which were emptied daily into the big metal dumpsters provided by the city. So as not to offend the trash collectors, all trash that was thrown away had to be wrapped in some way. Many put their food remains into milk cartons and coffee cans to contain it. One of the benefits of the plastic trash bag is that it contains the odor of its contents, a benefit that the pre-trash bag era was lacking.
Others utilized fire to dispose of their trash. There was a constant smoky odor as many people burned their refuse. Throughout the day the food trash would be placed into a special pot under the sink till the evening when it would be taken outside to meet its fiery end. While many backyards today host swing sets and basketball courts, in the mid 60s just about everyone had an incinerator in their backyard which they used to burn their trash! Imagine the grumbling of the teenagers in those days as they added ‘burn the trash’ too the list of chores- what we have to thank those plastic saviors for limiting our chores to depositing the bag into the correct bin! The fire department was kept on their toes monitoring the neighborhood fires to ensure they stayed safe. Additionally many times the smell of the refuse being burned, say rubber, would create an odor for blocks around as it burned.
One country resident fondly remembers digging in their yard and uncovering buried remains of the previous occupants’ garbage. When the trash would get full, people would find a spot in their yard to bury it. Out of sight, out of mind! Just the thought of the physical labor involved in disposing of the trash, especially after a long day of work, is enough to make anyone tired! Additionally people would deposit empty cans and bottles into open ditches or old outhouses.
As time passed, the global warming people started getting involved and discussions about atmospheric concerns ensued. As a result incinerators were banned so the innovative Americans had to come up with another plan. The paper bag was introduced as a trash liner, which was the best society had to offer them.
But how to compare paper bags to the durable plastics available today? You know how it is when you order a cream cheese and tomato sandwich to go? More often than not the tomato juice starts leaking and the marks of the cream cheese usually follow suit, embellishing the décor of the brown paper bag! So lining trash with paper can’t have been that effective for liquids and perishables. It was effective in containing the garbage but really not effective in the cleanliness department. Those were the days of frequent garbage can disinfection.
But thanks to one Canadian inventor’s ingenious creation of the polyethylene trash bag, we now have an effective, hassle-free, way of containing and disposing of our wastes. When the trash bag was first created it was used only for commercial use. It took a couple of years for the plastic trash bag to be introduced for home-use, a position it has proudly retained until today!
The trash bag is a blessing that we many times under appreciate. Whether at home, work, or out an about, we encounter our plastic friends throughout the day. At first glance, its lightweight appearance may deceive on its potential durability. But that is another advantage to the use of the trash bag. It is created in a way that it controls odor, contains our numerous waste products and best of all facilitates easy trash disposal all without taking up any extra space. It has truly earned itself a rightful place as a staple in everyday life!