How the Thulin Plastic Bag Went Astray - Finance and Markets

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The story:

Gustaf Thulin is a Swedish engineer with a vision. The waste and inefficiency of paper bags dumbfounded him. He thought he could come up with a better bag with the Thulin plastic bag.

Until then, attempts at creating a better bag than traditional brown paper bags failed.

They all relied on expensive composite materials or had their handles attached. The composites were worse for the environment than cutting down trees. The handles usually fell off, and both were expensive.

Mr. Thulin’s plastic bag is revolutionary. It’s cut from a single piece of plastic and folded in half. When the two sides weld together, voila, you get the Thulin Plastic Bags.

There are many advantages to Thulin Plastic Bag. They are lightweight, easy to make and transport, have a high carrying capacity, and cheap to make.

By 1965, the Celloplast corporation patented Gustaf Thulin’s idea and operating commenced.

The design is so good it remained the same until 1992. That’s when the “self-opening polyethylene bag-stack” was invented. Since then, their use has exploded.

The fatal flaw in the idea is how easy and cheap Thulin plastic bags are to make. Mr. Thulin’s intent is for the bags to be reused repeatedly, saving the planet from waste. He would carry bags in his pocket and get dozens of uses from each.

Too bad for him; humans are lazy. Instead of reusing the bags, we instead throw them away, one after another.

Sadly, plastic bags are now a leading source of trash worldwide.

Each year, we use around 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags. Scientists estimate it takes an average of 500 to 1000 years for one bag to break down. The average lifespan of use is only 12 minutes. Let that sink in.

The takeaway for investors is this:

Even the best-laid plans can and will often go astray. If an investment or strategy isn’t working or stops producing the desired results, it’s time to adjust. One of the worst mistakes you can make with an account is to let a small mistake grow into a big mistake just like Thulin plastic bags.

Image: Google