Are Plastic Bags Harmful to Our Planet?

Question from Sydney:  Dear Super Science fair, I am a ninth grade girl and I need a science fair project idea. I love the environment, and I wanted to do something to show how plastic bags effect the environment, but I cannot think of any ways to test that. We are using the scientific method for out projects, and I was wondering if you could help me with an idea ASAP! Thanks so much 🙂

Answer: How about burying some plastic bags in a hole in your backyard for a month and in another hole bury 100% paper bags for the same amount of time? Mark your “graves” and dig up the bags one month later. Which ones decomposed?

You can probably get some friends to do the same thing and see their results. The more people who participate the more your statistics will show if either of these materials re polluting our ground and / or ground water.

Perhaps your classmates can do the same in a small section of the school garden.

If you have access to a science lab, perhaps at the high school or college in your town,  for a more advanced project you can take samples of the soil that are in each of the graves and see if the material left toxic residue in the soil.

To do this you will need to use sterilized plastic gloves, sterilized petri dishes or test tubes so that the soil does not get contaminated with your germs or in the holding containers.

12 thoughts on “Are Plastic Bags Harmful to Our Planet?

  1. Pingback: Paranormal » I need help finding a experiment for how ghosts are real?

  2. Tilly@Eco Bags says:

    Plastic bags have been proven to be harmful to our planet.

    The sooner people are using eco friendly alternatives, the better!

  3. sunshine says:

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  4. amy@mold removal says:

    I know plastic bags will not decompose for years. Not sure if any chemicals leak into ground water it might take years for them to break down enough. I never understood why we switched to plastic bags i remember we used paper bags and paper wrapers even for lunch meat. It was wax coated so it was water proof and it would break down if you buried it. Someone should see how long paper wrapers with wax take to break down also.

  5. Diane@ Miche Bag says:

    I love the answer you provided for the young girl. That was a great idea to do that with both types of bags. There is nothing like doing a side by side comparison of bags to show the results in real life situation.

  6. Laser hair removal says:

    Perhaps for any other students doing a project similar to this they could add bio-degradable bags. It’d be interesting to see the amount of time needed before the bags fully break down or even just compare different types of biodegradable bags to examine which ones are most effective and the material they are made of.

  7. wholesales handbags says:

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  8. promotional bags says:

    I believe mathematical analysis of the impact of plastic bags on the environment should be accepted too … if the student could obtain some base data on how much energy, water etc goes into creating a plastic bag, that could be multiplied out to find the environmental effect of making as many plastic bags as are consumed each year. The internet shouldn’t make that too hard! I think the disposability and energy input of creating plastic bags is one of their more significant impacts.

  9. wholesales handbags says:

    It was wax coated so it was water proof and it would break down if you buried it. Someone should see how long paper wrapers with wax take to break down also.

  10. sb says:

    Oh man this really gives some thinking of the way plastic bags can be harmfull to the enviroment. I wonder if it makes any difference at the junkyard if I use paper bags cause all my plastic bags go to the junkyard with trash.

  11. Permanent Hair Removal says:

    In my opinion, burning of plastic bags are harmful to the environment. I’ve seen cases where people collect used plastic bags and recycle them. This is much better than dumping them. There should be “plastic collection zones” where people can dispose used plastic materials for recycling.

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