The Oil Myth
Fiction: Plastic shopping bags used in Canada are made from oil, and are a waste of a non-renewable resource.
Fact: In Canada, plastic shopping bags are primarily made from a by-product of natural gas production, ethane.
- Polyethylene bags are made out of ethane, a component of natural gas. Ethane is extracted to lower the BTU value of the gas in order to meet pipeline and gas utility specifications and so that the natural gas doesn’t burn too hot when used as fuel in our homes or businesses. The ethane is converted, and its BTU value is “frozen” into a solid form (polyethylene) using a catalytic process to make a plastic shopping bag.
- Plastic bags were introduced as a replacement for paper grocery bags, to protect our forests from the needless cutting of trees.