Plastic Bag Collecting.
By JCP

The plastic bag was introduced in 1977 to supermarkets to replace paper sacks.
They started off as dull one colored pieces of plastic but quickly evolved to a delightful rainbow of colors and shapes.
In 1990, plastic bag recycling began and many bags began to disappear instead of rotting in the landfills.
What this meant was that now many bags were doomed to be forgotten forever.
For those who delight in the plastic bag, this couldn't continue and collections began.
Swap meets for plastic bags can now be found across the globe and many websites linked online.
For those of you interested in collecting but weren't sure how to start... this should help you out

 

 

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good handle

 

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worn handle

Proper Care Of Your Collection
To keep your bags clean and safe, be sure to get yourself a sturdy garbage bag to store your collection in.  Keep your bags flat by stacking them together and placing a large flat object on them.  Your bags should be kept in a dry cool place.  Remember, bags left out in the sun will fade.  To clean your collection, use a damp cloth and only lightly touch the bag so you don't damage the bag in any way.

 

Handles - The handles are important for bag collectors.  The best bags have sturdy handles that aren't stretched.
Sometimes older bags do have some damage or wear but can still be worth collecting.

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stretched handle
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broken handle

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stretched bag     bag with hole
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perfect condition

Body - The body of the bag needs to be examined for holes, stretching and quality of manufacturing.
Stretching is fairly easy to spot, even for the novice.  Stretching can be caused by having heavy objects in the bag, as well as holding the bag over someone's head to suffocate them.  If you are going to do either of those things, make sure you're using a bag that you don't want to keep.
Holes drastically reduce the value of your plastic bag, so be sure not to jab at them with knives or other sharp objects. 

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faux bag                  paper bag

Faux bags & imposters - Although the first is a plastic bag, it doesn't count as a plastic shopping bag.   The second bag is a paper bag, which you can tell by the texture.  
Beware of plastic bag dealers who try to rip you off.  Be sure to do research before collecting and know the difference between plastic and paper.

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variety of logo-free bags

Logo Free Bags - Some companies choose not to have their logos etc put on their bags, as it is cheaper not to pay anyone to stamp their logo on it.
These logo-free bags are popular among amateur collectors for their variety of colors.  While we only have a few of these bags, we are keeping our eyes out for some more.
Many collectors keep these logo-free bags for framing and decorating their home with.  The rare colors to find are red, dark blue and black.
While logo bags may triple in value, the logo-free bag does not have that sort of value to it.

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three common bag sizes

Sizes - Bags come in many different sizes and colors.  Many stores have a variety of bags available for their customers to accommodate different sized objects they are selling.
Bigger isn't always better in the bag collecting world.  Some of the rarest and most valuable bags are smaller then the average grocery bag.
The thickness of the plastic bag is something to take note of.  The thicker the bag, the longer it will last and the stronger it is. Thicker bags are usually worth more then their thinner counterparts.

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draw string handle     specialty bag

Specialty Plastic Bags - As you can see by the close up on the drawstring, this bag obviously comes from a store that takes pride in its plastic bags.  
The draw string adds a touch of class and since it's in perfect condition, it is among our favorites in the collection

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dilbert makes a guest appearance!

Guest Appearances - Cartoon characters can sometimes be seen on plastic bags. Depending on the popularity of the character and the amount of bags printed, these guest appearance bag prices can soar.  For instance, a shopping bag with a peanuts character from the 80s can be sold at a pretty impressive price.  The dilbert bag pictured here is now worth double it's original value!

Sample Collection
Here are a variety of everyday plastic bags that cover the basics of bag collecting.
Collected from a variety of businesses, each bag is is good condition with bright coloring.
Some of them are from local businesses, so you may have never seen a bag like it before.
Others are larger corporations but perhaps their Canadian version of their bag is slightly different then another country's. 
The collection shown here displays the variety of colors and shapes that plastic bags are known for.
Some are worth twice as much as others, but for those who love to collect, they're ALL worth hanging onto.

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Multi-colored
Many bags feature two colors,
but others like the 7eleven have 3 or more colors.  The more colors on the bag, the higher their value.

 

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