Around the home: the plastic bag

When buying your groceries are you one of the “green” bags people or do you use plastic bags (or a combination of both).  I am a green bag user and have a boot full of them.    I like using them, they are easy to pack, carry and to place in the boot of the car—I have many uses for these bags from carrying food to taking parcels to work and storing things in them.
However I do find plastic bags very handy at home—to line my bins, for the kitty litter,  or travelling, carrying items in the car, baby stuff (once upon a time), plus many more uses.  If I don’t have any at home I have to buy plastic bags.

This got me wondering, what did our grandparents do before plastic bags—how did they line their bins, what did they do if they wanted to carry wet /muddy items and so forth.  The reason for asking is we are about to become a region where the grocery plastic bag will be banned from November next year.  This will mean buying plastic to use in the home.

So I went searching for idea and this is what I found—alternatives to the plastic shopping bag: 
  • Take the “sloppy” items straight to the outdoor “wheelie” bin (trash can) or place them in other containers such as cans, old tissue boxes or plastic meat trays that you are throwing away anyway.
  • Recycle plastic bread bags, fruit and veggie plastic bags, cereal boxes or paper bags for rubbish and take out the “wheelie” bin at the end of the evening.
  • Recycle food scrapes in the garden compost.
  • Place rubbish in small bench top bin and wash after each use.
  • Use the re-usable cooler bag for transporting wet items, these bags can be wiped down, hosed out and dried in the sun
Do you have any other suggests? Or hasn’t this become an issue yet.
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  1. Interesting post! What creative ways to use your plastic bags!

  2. People used to use paper sacks in times past, I believe. I use old cans or disposable containers (like aktavite or milo tins) for sloppy trash from the kitchen. Can you still buy bin liners and big black garbage bags in your area?

    If people can't have plastic bags, the environmentalists might find they get a bit of a problem with people littering more because they have no handy place to store their trash while out and about in places where no bins are handy...

    I think a bigger problem than plastic bags would have to be the fact that so many items in this world are made to be disposable rather than being made to last... If more things lasted, we would have less non-degradeable trash around.

  3. Great ideas there Jo! We re-use plastic bags for rubbish bins and newspaper for the sloppy stuff. Some say the new 'green' bags are not as environmentaly friendly as we've been told. Thinking back to when I started working in baby shops 40 years ago, we used to wrap most things in paper and tie them with string or ribbon or stickt-tape the parcel. Customers usually had cloth or string bags to hold everything. Big plastic bags with company names became trendy as they told the world where you shopped and if you had expensive taste lol !! Growing up, we used to give our scraps to the chooks and burn rubbish in the backyard incinerator and save any clean paper for crafts or present wrapping. To get a huge sheet of white butcher's paper was like Christmas to us kids :-) We can all do something to care more and be frugal, that for sure. blessings..Trish

  4. South Australia has been plastic bag free for quite a while now, and yes that means I need to buy plastic bags to line my garbage bin. In reality the heavier plastic bags from stores are still in use e.g. Myers, David Jones, shoe shops etc. The butcher and greengrocer I use still provide plastic bags, but they are boigradable ones. If you forget green bags in the supermarket you can buy either green bags or plastic bags. (The plastic bags are about 10 cents compared to green bags being about $1.00 -1.50.)
    In reality all South Australia has done is impose green bags on people, made them buy garbage bags while retaining all the plastic on food packaging. Next time you are in the supermarket observe all the plastic we use, especailly in the meat, vegie, fridge, freezer and bread sections. Does not using plastic bags, which were recycled, make a huge difference to our world?

  5. Hi Jo,

    I have quite a few of those green bags, but I should leave them in the car... because I often forget them. eek! lol

  6. Jo,

    The alternative you researched for using other items besides plastic bags to store waste are good, since I would personally not like buying extra plastic bags.

    I don't use the "green bags" yet, but I should. I am still using the plastic bags, but the problem arises when I end-up with too many of them in the house, and then I have to throw them out. Sigh! Maybe one day, I'll achieve a balance?


    -Lady Rose

  7. I have loads of those "green bags". However, I have them folded neatly in my kitchen and forget to use them. I re-use the plastic bags I receive in the stores like you to line my waste baskets at home.

    What? Plastic bags banned? Wow...

  8. Sydney/Amanda - I am in the habit now of never leaving my car without a green bag as I prefer to carry them to the plastic ones 9they don't hurt the hand if full of food). Once they come into the house, I park them near the front door to take back out to the car. I have even trained my son to use them and he is very good. He carries all his work things and takes the bag to the gym.

  9. Anonymous - we will still be able to use plastic bags that you get from clothes and shoe shops ect.. but I don't like using them for rubbish as they are often too large or made of that really stiff plastic. We won't be able to buy plastic bags, only green bags from the supermarket.

    If governments really wanted to reduce our plastic use they would reduce the amount of packaging on foods that we buy and offer alternatives to the fruit/veg bags.

    It will be interesting next November when it commences.

  10. This plastic free issue really irritates me. I understand that plastic bags are a problem, and I commend 'them' for taking action, however to me banning them entirely is crazy when people need to purchase plastic bags to perform the function that recycled bags were doing. After all, the bags our supermarket uses are biodegradable whereas the bags you purchase are not!!

    In our region rubbish must be placed in bags before it is put in the green bin, and so you are left with no alternative than to purchase exactly what they've banned in the first place!!

    Off my hobby horse now. Phew!

  11. Jo - Sadly - I dont think I could manage my life without plastic bags. I use them all the time - especially to wrap my lunch when I take it to work! I do use the green tote bags - and like you, I have several - but those plastic bags are still a BIG part of my life!


  12. I remember when I was young that there were mainly only paper bags around the house. And yet, plastic seems to have infiltrated, and I don't know when or how. In our home, we use a combination of re-usable shopping bags (our car trunk is full of them, too), and plastic, which we like to use for garbage. We do try to recycle, but could do much better, I'm sure.


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