You probably know that today is International Plastic Bag-Free Day; and you probably can’t get yourself too worked up about it.
I’ll tell you how you never need to buy one; but first a few facts about plastic bags:
- They take 100-500 years to disintegrate
- Eighty percent of marine litter is plastic
- They are mostly made of petroleum and natural gas – a finite resource
- They get into the food chain
- Future generations will suffer from the pollution caused by them without getting any of the benefits
Quite simply plastic bags blowing around look terrible: Rwanda has banned them, and visitors say it looks beautifully clean compared to the rest of Africa. South Africa looked noticeably better soon after Valli Moosa arranged for major supermarkets to charge for them; but we’ve got lazy since then.
How I get by without buying plastic bags or taking free ones given by supermarkets to pack purchases (USA supermarkets give away free bags):
- I have two big cloth shopping bags from Woolworths (South Africa) that I keep in the boot of my car, and once I have used them I make sure to put them back in the boot
- Quite often I don’t use my car for shopping (I usually use it on the way home from work); when I walk or cycle to the supermarket I put a small backpack on my back
- I keep the few plastic bags that I have, and when I want to make a couple of small purchases I shove one or two in my pockets
- Some people say they need them to line their kitchen refuse bins; I simply put a folded newspaper at the bottom of my bin, and peel vegetables and oranges onto a bread board with a folded newspaper next to it; the bits I don’t want are scraped onto the newspaper and rolled up into a parcel; I shove these parcels into an empty milk carton and when it is full it goes into the bin; this way nothing mucky touches the sides or bottom of the bin
With a bit of ingenuity you too can free yourself from over-use of plastic bags and help save the planet.