How to negotiate the plastic bag ban (like a boss)
It’s such a massive win for the planet that single-use plastic shopping bags are going to be banned in QLD, WA and Victoria in the next few months!
Plastic bags cause lot of trouble with our sea life and of course plastic never breaks down so we are just constantly adding to landfill.
Major supermarkets are phasing out those horrible grey plastic bags but are introducing thicker plastic bags at a cost of 15c each. Instead of using that option, I think it’s such a great opportunity to make a real difference and start using more eco-friendly bags.
I can remember my grandparents using boxes, paper bags and food wrapped in brown paper, so it’s not that many generations ago that we all got by perfectly well without plastic.
Some of you have already been using your own shopping bags for years – go you!
If you haven’t, take the next few weeks to get prepared. Here are some tips to get you ready for ban the bag!
What exactly is being banned?
Check with your state government websites for more specific information but basically single-use, lightweight, plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness are banned. You will still be able to get thicker plastic shopping bags, nappy bags, dog-poo bags, bin liners and plastic produce bags.
Choose a better quality bag
The best sort of bag for the environment is one that can be reused many times and will then break down naturally at the end of it’s life.
I broke up with green bags some time ago as they are also made of plastic. Your most eco-friendly option are bags made from natural, biodegradable materials like plant fibres, cotton and jute.
In my handbag, I keep a fold up lightweight bag that I have had for over ten years! It’s still going strong.
For the weekly shop, I use an eclectic mix of jute bags, cotton bags and smaller fabric produce bags. Most have been sourced from op shops, some have upcycled from old pillowcases and some have been purchased.
I find them really sturdy and easy to use and you can fit a lot more into each bag. So instead of 2o plastic bags, I might only have four or five fabric bags.
I make sure I wash them every few weeks in a hot wash with a few drops of eucyalptus oil. This keeps them clean and hygienic. Trust me, the checkout operators will thank you for not giving them a dose of E.Coli !
This organic cotton shopping bag from Green Essentials is a great size and has several different compartments and reinforced stitching for extra durability. Get it here.
Find other alternatives
Do you even need a bag? We seem to have just been in the habit of accepting things in a plastic bag.
Pop your shopping in your handbag, backpack or pram or carry things with your hands. This is where taking the kids shopping can come in handy!
You could also use cardboard boxes too – many places will give you one. Are you a farmers’ market shopper? Invest in a gorgeous big basket or cart.
These shopping baskets with leather handles are so stylish and durable! Find them here.
If you are handy, you can make your own bags! Sew yourself fabric shopping bags – there are loads of free patterns on the internet! You could also upcycle old pillowcases or t-shirts.
How do you remember your bags?
The secret to remembering your bags is just making it a habit.
After unpacking my shopping, I fold the bags up and put them in one larger bag and then pop them by the door to go back in the car. It really does become part of your routine and I very rarely forget them. I am still working on getting the rest of the family into a regular habit though!
You can also set up little reminders like writing ‘bags’ on your shopping list, leaving the bags near your car keys, leaving the bags on the front seat of your car, writing yourself reminder notes or set phone alerts. Find something that works for you.
If you do forget your bags, have a look around for a Boomerang Bag– you can borrow a reusable one!
What about lining my bin?
I know! A lot of people do use their single use plastic grocery bags for lining their bin. You can still buy bin liners but you can also see it as an opportunity to do something different.
You can just put rubbish straight into your bin and then wash after use. Wrap anything really gross in newspaper!
You can use newspaper to line your bin.
Starting a compost bin will help you get rid of a lot of the smellier garbage. You can get these awesome compostable plastic bags for food waste that will completely break down in your compost.
You could also use any plastic bags you end up with – produce bags, the thicker shopping bags or even bread bags!
Of course, recycling reduces a lot of rubbish we put in the regular bin as well. Did you know you can recycle soft, crushable plastics now?
Some savings for you:
20% off Envirosax reusable bags here.
40% off White Magic market carts here.
What do you use? I would love to know how you navigate plastic-free shopping!