For many reasons, people these days seem to prefer having their goods packed in plastic bags rather than paper bags, when checking out items at a store. There are good reasons for this too. Plastic seems to be much more durable, it does not come apart nor does it disintegrate if it happens to become damp.
Most likely, at least if you are similar to most people, you probably give a second thought before answering the checkout person’s question. It is not a topic that people tend to dwell on, unless you yourself are producing them for retail, however they do have a history.
You will probably find that the most common type of bag used when checking out items you have bought are plastic t shirt bags; so named because of their resemblance, somewhat, to a t-shirt.
Up until the 1970’s paper bags were the only types of shopping or carrying bags available to customers. The actual t shirt bag design was not introduced until the early 1980’s, however. While some people deem plastic bags to be detrimental to the environment, others point out that less energy is used in their production and they also protect the forests; unlike paper bags, trees are not needed for their production.
Most plastic t shirt bags used as shopping bags are made from high density plastic, which is actually very strong. While plastic bags do not readily break down very quickly, because of their durability they are perfectly suited for recycling. Many homes and businesses hold onto the plastic bags they get while shopping and reuse them again for many different purposes.
As far as cutting back on the amount of waste produced by disposing of plastic t shirt bags, most countries encourage recycling and as such many bags are now specifically produced with this in mind. Other countries require customers to pay for plastic bags while shopping; this has a twofold reaction. Many shoppers bring their bags with them while shopping, others tend to reuse them many more times than they would have otherwise.