Plastic bags – whether grocery, trash, garment, or clothing store – are made of polyethylene. This is produced when ethylene, or ethene, is polymerized. While all plastic bags may be made of polyethylene, there are different types. Three of the basic types include high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). Microbes do not, however, recognize polyethylene. That being said, it can take up to 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down. Trash bags are typically thicker than grocery bags, so it may take longer for them to break down. In either case, it will take an extremely long time.
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