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The Aisle to Less Plastic Bags
Project Name : The Aisle to Less Plastic Bags
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What is the title of your report?
The Aisle to Less Plastic Bags
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"Less Impact" Project

A) We are observing if the amount of people who use plastic bags and the amount of people who use reusable bags have any correlation with gender at local organic markets in the city of Corona. We are going to conduct this study by standing outside of three grocery stores and observing how many people use plastic or paper bags opposed to reusable bags. The three grocery stores used in this study will be Sprouts, Fresh and Easy, and Trader Joes because all of these markets are organic or farmers markets. We will then observe the first 30 females and the first 30 males who come out of each grocery store. We will write down whether they are using a plastic/paper bag or a reusable bag. We will have the data be separated into two categories per store - reusable and non-reusable (paper/plastic) and then have the sub categories of male and female under each of the two categories above. We will then be able to clearly determine if more men or more women use reusable bags which is an apropriate conclusion for our test in which the independent variable is gender.

B) The environmental impact would be significant if grocery stores in the United States stopped using plastic bags and started using reusable bags. The constant use of plastic bags are devestating to the environment. There are over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistaken plastic bags for food.(3)  Most plastic bags take over 400 years to biodegrade and there are hundred of thousands of plastic bags that are littered every year. There are up to a trillion plastic bags used each year worldwide.(3) The U.S consumes about 70 million plastic bags each year.(4) The population of the United States is 313,649,658. (5) The carbon footprint of plastic is 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic.(2) If you know the weight of your plastic bag, you can multiply it by the number of plastic bags you use per year to find your carbon footprint. 

C) The average weight of a typical plastic bag in the United States is 32.5g. In order to find the carbon footprint, you convert the weight into kilograms and multiply weight by 6. This would equal , 0.195 kg CO2 per kg of plastic. Now, take the number of plastic bags used each by the U.S. and divide it by the population of the U.S. This will equal the amount of plastic bags each person in the United States uses of the 70 million plastic bags, which equals 0.2232. Multiply 0.195 by 0.2232 and then multiply the product of that by the U.S. population. THIS WILL FIND THE CARBON FOOTPRINT THE U.S. HAS ON THE ENVIRONMENT WHEN USING PLASTIC BAGS. The consumption of plastic bags by itself by the U.S ends up being 13,651,287.7 kg CO2.

D) The study/observation we conducted to test the use of plastic bags and reusable bags in relation to gender is outlined in part A. We, again, are comparing the use of reuable versus plastic/paper bags at three different organic grocery stores and our independent variable is gender. The problem for this test is will people at organic grocery stores use reusable bags more than plastic/paper bags and will there be a correlation with gender? Our hypothesis is that more people in general will use non-reusable bags than reusable bags at all three grocery stores even though they are organic and supposedly more sustainable. In relation to gender, we hypothesize that females will use reusable bags more often than males will. Our method for this test is to observe the first 30 males and the first 30 females who walk out of each of the three grocery stores and record whether they are using a reusable bag or a non-reusable bag. There are no materials needed for this test except a paper and pen. There are no interviews or questionnaires needed for this test.

Data:  Fresh and Easy Trader Joe's Sprouts

Male Female Male Female Male Female
Reusable 6 10 9 12 5 10
Non-reusable 24 20 21 18 25 20

E)



As you can see from the data, more people in general use plastic/paper bags than people use reusable cloth bags when grocery shopping. However, when you compare genders, more females use reusable shopping bags than males for all three grocery stores. Sprouts and Fresh and Easy have very similar numbers for the data with 10 of the 30 females using reusable bags for both of those stores and only 5 males using reusable bags for Sprouts and 6 males for Fresh and Easy. The gap between males and females in Trader Joe's is less significant than the gap between males and females in the other stores with 9 males and 12 females. 

F) We can conclude from this study that not enough people use reusable bags in comparison to paper and plastic bags. The initial fee of buying the bag and just having the hassle to bring it the next time they go grocery shopping just makes them not want to buy it. But when comparing the use of reusable bags among females and males, females generally use them more. 

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