We’ve come to the end of another successful Plastic-free July. This movement started 7 years ago here in Western Australia and has now spread across the globe encouraging everyone to ‘choose to refuse single-use plastic for the month of July’. This year it coincided with the banning ‘single use plastic bags’ in many states in Australia…. finally!
Many of us have already made the change to reusable shopping bags, but now its kinda next level in that if you forget you really do get left high and dry or paying for thicker plastic bags (which we know are not really any better for the environment)
The second series of ABC’s War on Waste has started airing, airing our dirty waste secrets. All these facts about plastic pollution, and the rate at which we Australian’s produce it is staggering. Is anyone else feeling overwhelmed by all this?
Ok so lets breathe, take moment and work out what simple steps we can each take to reduce our plastic waste.
Step 1: NOTICE
Yup, simply start to notice how much plastic is coming into your home or life. Are you still being given plastic bags on those trips to the bakery or butcher or even when you pick up Thai take-away for dinner?
Step 2: Bring out YOUR bags
Walk through your house, look in the kitchen pantry, in the car, in your wardrobe and gather together all the possible reuseable bags you already have. You might be surprised to find a calico bag from that conference you attended, or a handy bag provided when you bought new clothes. Most likely you will have some of those ‘green bags’ from the supermarket too. (** side note these bags are not ‘environmentally green’ as they contain polypropylene (plastic number 5) and tend to break apart! So please avoid purchasing more)
Step 3: Bags of Bags
Then you might like to sort through these bags and decide which ones are useful for grocery shopping, or for your fruit & veggies, trips to the library, sports bags, bread bags. As you can see I have a wide variety of bags. The “green” ones will continue to be used for packing groceries, the large Calico bag is for my loose fruit & Veg, I also have an Insulated bag for my meat. The aim here is to use what you’ve got – even if it is plastic…..the resources have already been consumed in making these products, so lets use them until they break, then try to recycle them.
Step 4: Put it where you need it
Grab the set of bags for your regular grocery shop and PUT THEM IN YOUR CAR! Yup, mine live in the boot of my car. The folded floral bag is my Library bag, the handy pocket holds our library cards! It lives in the hallway by the front door. My floral roll up bags – like the 2 above, are in my handbag ready for emergencies.
Still forgetting your bags……
Step 5: Reminders
Stick a post it note on your steering wheel to help you remember when you get out of the car. Or add it to the top of your grocery list. If you are permanently attached to your phone – then use it to set reminders to take you bags to the shops, your coffee cup to work, and your water bottle too!
So I’ve been mindful of my use of plastic bags for a long while now. I’m not perfect but I have been paying attention to how all this plastic is creeping into my home and trying to reduce it. I will continue to write about it over a series of ‘Plastic Free Living’ posts.
Are you remembering to have reusable bags on hand whenever you shop?
Do you Love or Loathe those ubiquitous ‘green bags’?