How to Test Carrier Bags

Written by michael roennevig Google
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How to Test Carrier Bags
A strong plastic bag can be used again. (Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Consumers are more conscious than ever of the damage plastic carrier bags cause to the environment. The U.S. gets through a staggering 100 billion plastic carrier bags a year, which has prompted green campaigners to ask shoppers to reuse their bags instead of asking for new ones on each trip to the shops. If your conscience dictates where you do your grocery shopping, you can carry out your own test on carrier bags to work out which is the strongest. The stronger the bag, the more reuse you'll be able to get from it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Selection of used plastic carrier bags from different retailers
  • One pound weights

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    Maximum Load

  1. 1

    Inspect your plastic carrier bags to make sure none of them are damaged

  2. 2

    Hang one of the bags on a solid coat hanger and start to gradually add one pound weights. Continue to do so until the bag breaks. Observe whether the handle snaps or the bottom of the bag buckles.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process three times for each retailer's plastic carrier bag, and work out the mean maximum load by adding your results and dividing them by three.

    Stress Test

  1. 1

    Add 90 per cent of the maximum weight you reached in the maximum load test to each retailer's plastic bag and place on a hard floor.

  2. 2

    Repeatedly lift each bag one meter off the ground at a uniform speed and then place back on the ground.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process 20 times to test each bag's ability to withstand continual use. Record where any of the bags break.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process three times for each retailer's bag.

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