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What did the people do before plastic bags were made?

In 1933, a chemical plant in Northwich, England, inadvertently developed the most commonly used plastic, polyethylene. Although polyethylene had been produced on a small scale before, this was the first time an industrially practical compound material had been synthesized and then secretly used by the British military during World War II.

In 1965, the one-piece polyethylene shopping bag was patented by the Swedish company Celloplast. The plastic bag, designed by engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin, quickly replaced cloth and paper bags in Europe.

In 2011, 1 million plastic bags were consumed every minute globally.

Present day, our lives are completely inseparable from plastic bags, everywhere we look, there are plastic and plastic bags. We can say that we are born, grow, old and dying in plastic pile. one can't help but wonder how people lived in the days before plastic bags were made.

So, What did the people do before plastic bags were made?


If you take a long-term view backwards, I mean, a really long-term, in the early stages of civilization, people learned to weave cloth from the fibers of the flax plant. They used large fish bones or small animal shin bones to make bone needles, then the flax plant is soaked in muddy water to rot, and finally pure plant fibers are obtained, and these fibers are woven into cloth with bone needles. In addition to making ropes and shoes, these earliest cloth are also used for another important purpose - packing and carrying a variety of foods and materials.

Yes, this is the first packaging material we started to use, and it has been used almost throughout entire human history, until today, we are still using these linen materials for packaging or making clothing and various household fabrics, the earliest available history proves that it may have originated in ancient Egypt, 8000 BC, these early burlaps were not suitable for clothing. It was generally used to make bags or ropes. After that, the rich class began to appear, and the poor began to use it as a clothing material. Then the Egyptians found that it was also very useful in water, so It was also used as boat cables and sails until the age of geographic discovery, when people began to grow cotton on a large scale, and it returned to being used as a packaging material.

Until today, people have found that if these hemp materials are added to the water milling stage during the processing and mixed with cotton, it can also be comfortable and warm. It provides a texture completely different from pure cotton fabrics and has a longer lifespan. So now People began to use linen for clothing and bedding, don't forget that bread was first made in the Middle East, especially in ancient Egypt. It was invented in the same era as linen, so you see a poster of a linen bag with bread in a bakery, 10,000 years ago, there is a possibility, the world's earliest bread, is also packed in the world's earliest burlap bags.There's nothing new under the sun, right?


Compared with cloth, the era of paper appeared much later. paper is believed to be first invented in China, 200 BC, after the appearance of paper, it was an expensive thing for a long time, specially used for writing, yes, we know you'd say Egyptian papyrus was made around 3000 BC, so we're wrong, right? But unfortunately, papyrus and modern paper are not the same thing, and they have no inheritance, It actually takes many, many years for paper to be used for packaging. In fact, it has a lot to do with the emergence of newspapers. In the era of geographical discovery, the emergence of a large number of newspapers has made civilians have surplus paper. They use these The newspapers that have been read are packed with food and brought home. The bakery noticed this and began to order paper to wrap the freshly baked bread. This is the earliest paper bag.

Early paper bags - Or let's call it paper more properly, it's just a piece of paper - have many defects. First of all, they are very rough in texture. If you pack bread or cakes with high oil content such as butter bread, it will absorb these oils and become dirty and cannot be used again. Secondly, this kind of rough paper There was a rather unpleasant smell, and in the end the paper was completely unable to resist moisture, so this paper bag was only used for dry bread at first, It was until the invention of plastics that people began to add plastic to pulp or cover plastic films in paper bags, which greatly enhanced the strength and moisture resistance of these paper bags, and paper bags were widely used. Now, it is not only used for food packaging industry, It also includes the transportation industry, the medical industry and other industries, of course, all for packaging.


In fact, the history of using pottery as a packaging container is quite long. In modern times, there are many plastic packaging for liquids, and various bottles and flexible packaging are widely used in various industries. But in the era when civilization was just beginning, if you were looking for a packaging that could hold liquids, you could only use pottery.

The earliest pottery container dates back to 20000 BC, in China, it was generally used as cooking utensils at that time, and pottery for commercial use may be traced back to ancient Egypt, and there are records showing that they filled the pottery with beer as wages pay to the workers who building pyramids.

However, pottery can be spread all over the world, mainly relying on the wine trade. The Middle East where wine was first started, whether it is Egypt or Persia, there are no oak trees in that place, and no oak barrels can be made. People use pottery for fermentation and Packing and shipping, For example, the Romans who were the most passionate about red wine, who knows how many clay pots they made, these things are all over the Mediterranean now, and you can walk into any local museum and you will see a bunch of them.

But the history of using pottery as a packaging container is not too long. It has too many defects, is fragile, and is too heavy. After the appearance of wooden and metal containers, it basically said goodbye to the packaging industry. Now it used as a cooker or as a flower pot.

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