plastic bags are creepy little f*ckers!
Have you ever said “No thanks, I don’t need a plastic bag”? Because that is the only way to stop plastic bags creeping into your life – it’s a hard habit to break!
Learning to say no to plastic bags was a habit I had to teach myself. If you don’t say something, next thing you know your sushi has been put in a plastic bag with a serviette and chopsticks and if you’re going back home or to the office, you don’t even need it!
What’s so wrong with plastic bags? I don’t think many people need convincing that plastic bags are bad. Google “plastic bag damage” and you’ll see some pretty awful images. Now think about how many plastic bags you can consume a week – takeaway lunch, new clothes, and groceries – now times that by 52 weeks and you can see how much of an impact you alone can make in a year.
In 2006 Australians used a phenomenal 6 billion plastic bags most of which end up in landfill. Then we saw the introduction of the reusable ‘green bags’ which were stocked and promoted by big chain supermarkets. It can’t be a coincidence that in 2007 Australians had reduced their usage from 6 billion to 3.9 billion plastic bags. We made a huge environmental difference by just changing one of our bad habits. *
Step one : buy an eco bag
For me it started when I bought an Envirosax bag – the kind that rolls up into a small bundle so you can keep it handy, and unrolls when you need a carry bag. I’ve been carrying this around in my handbag for years.
I also bought a large stash of the green shopping bags, which all fold up and sit in one main bag – which is easy to carry with me to the shops.
put all your ‘green bags’ into one for an easy ‘pick up and go’
There are so many eco bags available these days that you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. Eco bags can be found at gift stores, eco stores and online. Green shopping bags are always available at the supermarket right next to the checkout. I’ve had both types of bags for five years and they’re all still in good condition – so they’re definitely a worthwhile investment.
Step two : remember to use it
This is the hardest step.
I think the first important thing is that you have to care. I think I felt guilty every time I used a plastic bag, I imagined the environmental impact a plastic bag can make and that was enough for me to remember to pull out my eco bag. I even use it when buying clothes (I don’t care about fashion label carry bags) it’s even useful to carry a load of things home if I’ve got too much to carry.
my Envirosax bag rolls up small so I can leave it in my handbag
The shopping bags can be a bit harder – in the beginning it’s usually when you pull your full trolley up to the checkout that you realise you forgot them. Do whatever you need to do to remember them – like keep your shopping list pinned to the bag, keeping the bags in the car or even setting a mobile alarm to remind you. Eventually it will become second nature. If all else fails you can always ask for a box when you’re at the checkout, most supermarkets will be happy to get rid of them.
Step three : wear it proud
I love surprising people when I pull out my eco bag and shun the offer of a plastic bag. You’d be surprised the kinds of reactions I get, most of the time it’s a “good on you!” look I get from the shopkeeper or a “why didn’t I think of that?” look from other customers. I don’t really care what the others think because I know it’s a sustainable habit that makes a difference.
* Facts from http://www.environment.gov.au