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The plastic grocery bag is as ubiquitous as it is inexpensive; nearly all of us have a cache of them in a junk drawer somewhere in our homes. And while some municipalities seek to ban them, plastic bags have become a symbol of capitalism and consumption, given out at stores and malls on every continent. Given their ubiquity, it might be surprising to learn that the plastic grocery bag has only been ubiquitous in the West for a scant fifty years — having been widely introduced in the United States in 1979. Forty years later, plastic bags are everywhere, especially places they shouldn't be. Such bags consistently make the top-ten list of plastic waste items collected during the annual Coast... Full story

24 April