A week of plastic bags

Energy & Sustainability Home

The people of Sustainable Duxbury was looking for a way to raise awareness about plastic bags, so they figured that gathering up the bags people put aside as they did their recycling would give a good visualization.

They got more than they bargained for…Janna ran some numbers:

Here are my calculations of the square area Duxbury could cover with plastic grocery bags. I measured the length and width of a Shaw’s bag. It varies in width from top to bottom, but is roughly (conservatively) 1′ x 1′. Based on that rough calculation, here’s what I found:

In one weekend, Duxbury residents throw away enough plastic grocery bags at the transfer station to cover:

  • 24,000 square feet OR
  • .41 (nearly half) a football field OR
  • .55 (just over half) an acre

That means that roughly speaking, Duxbury residents throw away enough plastic grocery bags at the transfer station in one year of weekends to cover 28 acres, or 21 football fields

Here are the conversions I used:

  • A football field =57,600 square feet
  • An acre=43,560 square feet

If anyone wants to figure out how long it would take for us to cover the land area of Duxbury, here are some more conversions:

  • A square mile=27,878,400 square feet
  • Duxbury covers 24 square miles (per encyclopedia Britannica online)

Do you have any events to raise awareness about waste and what to do with it? Where does it go when you throw it away?

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Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

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