Development of the Plastic Carrier Bag

Development of the Plastic Carrier Bag

October 14, 2015 2:13 pm Published by

The Development of the Plastic Carrier Bag By Wyatt & Ackerman

Both American and European patent applications regarding the production of plastic shopping bags can be found from the early 1950’s. However these represent a much different design we are now used to, as these patents were for a design that required handles, much like some “Bags For Life’ as they do offer a sturdier bag than the composite bags we are used to now.

Wyatt and Ackerman are the UK’s best branded carrier bag supplier. We are based in Bristol but supply companies with branded packaging materials, including shopping bags, all over the world. Call today on 0117 966 1675

The version of the plastic shopping bag we are used to was invented by a Swedish engineer, Sten Gustaf Thulin, as he developed a method of forming a folding bag that was made from a single piece of plastic, made with common manufacturing processes like folding, heat welding and die cutting the bulk material. This design was created by a company called Celloplast, which saw great merit in a design like this as it was easy to mass produce, giving a great temporary carrying solution as the design had a high load capacity with a tiny cost. This design had so much potential that Celloplast Patented the concept worldwide in 1965.

Celloplast was a well-known producer of cellulose film, as its main product line was based of plastics and it’s further processing into other products. With the plastic bag patent, it gave them a control over the production of this design. Celloplast subsequently opened manufacturing plants across Europe and the US, giving them great distribution aspects. This attracted much attention from other companies, as this had the potential to become a huge market. The US company Mobil overturned Celloplast’s US patent in 1977, giving them the respective right to produce the plastic carrier bag we know today for the American domestic market.

The Dixie Bag Company owned by Jack Mcbride, was one of the first companies to exploit this newfound opportunity as they now had free reign over the US production of plastic shopping bags. They began to produce these bags which led to the eventual refinement and introduction of them into the domestic market, with Krogers, a state based grocery store chain employing the plastic bags over paper shopping bags, with it’s competitors soon following as they all saw it’s validity within the convenience market.

Without its reign over the design within the US market, Celloplasts business went into decline, resulting in the splitting up of the company during the 1990s. They still have sites that process and produce plastics, however it is now the headquarters for a manufacturer of recycled waste sacks, re-purposed from used polyethylene.

Since the 1980’s and onwards, plastic bags have become the norm for carrying groceries as the decline of the use of paper bags happened once they were introduced into the domestic market. This was the start of a conflict of materials, as companies began to integrate plastic into all packaging items. This became the corner stone for many health and environment related media stories as the introduction of more and more plastic in our everyday lives had many people worried about the chance of poisoning or effecting our health in many other manners that a huge amount of people were worried about.

To this day, many contemplate the environmental harm plastic bags may cause if they aren’t disposed of properly, but in terms of the commercial aspect of the carrier bags, it can offer business’s great advertising from a item that would be so easily forgotten if they weren’t capitalised on.

For more information visit the Wyatt & Ackerman website at or telephone 0117 966 1675

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This post was written by Sarah Wirth

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