(From my other blog, but because it’s relevant everywhere, also reposted here :) )
Let’s talk about plastic bags. I know it’s a thrilling topic and who doesn’t enjoy a little chat about them? Even if you don’t, I feel like we need this little chat. I’m not initiating this chat to have a go at anyone, I’m writing about this, because I feel that if I can just get a couple more people to think about how many (unnecessary) plastic bags they use and get them to take their own bag more often, it’d be a good thing.
Let me start by telling you that I’m aware, there’s many many things out there that you can and should do, and I’m only starting to try to learn more about this myself, I’m trying to educate myself and to implement at least some small changes. I’m not saying this is the single most important thing to think about, I’m just saying this is something that won’t be intrusive to your daily life (not to say that we shouldn’t make intrusive changes too), but that can actually make somewhat of a change. To be honest, I think it’s frightening to consider the impact we’re having on this planet, but baby steps people, baby steps.
Plastic bags are made from petroleum, you know that stuff we’re all so concerned about because it’s scarce? Yeah that. In Germany, every single year 5,000,000,000 plastic bags are used, which if they were stacked on top each other is apparently 30 times as high as the Mount Everest. In England it’s over 6 billion, each of which is used for an average of only 20 minutes and the majority of which ends up in a landfill, where it supposedly takes over 1000 years to rot (click). And I’m sure you’ve all seen the images of how they end up in the sea and on beaches where they are dangerous for animals (click)
Anyway, I don’t want to go on, I’m pretty sure everyone knows that plastic is pretty bad and I definitely don’t know it all! What I do know is that it’s pretty easy to cut back on how many you use, like SO easy:
♣ Don’t get a bag when you’re only buying one single item! This drives me absolutely mad! Why would you need a bag when it’s only one or two items? You’ll still need to carry the bag, so why not just carry that one greeting card/bottle of water you bought? And if there’s anyone working at checkouts? I don’t know if the supermarkets make you offer them to customers, but why not just stop offering if it looks like the customer could very easily carry the items they bought? They’d ask for one if they really needed one.
♣ Take big bags from home when you’re doing a big shop (like Ikea bags, or the big Tesco ones). I see so many people who get 8-10 bags when they’re doing their weekly shop and I think it’s terrible. Not only is it obviously bad for the environment, but it’s also a lot more hassle to carry them inside.
♣ Get an eco-friendly, foldable bag to always have in your purse. My nan sent me one of those a couple of months ago, and I don’t think I got any plastic bags since. They’re so tiny they’ll fit into every handbag (don’t kid yourself, if you have space for all the stuff you’ve got in there already, you’ll have space for these, + they’re super light). They’re for the times, when you didn’t plan a big shops and want to just quickly pop into Tesco to get some bread, and end up getting milk, cheese and some delicious cinnamon swirls as well. With these, you’ll have your bag with you.
♣ If you have a compost, that’s great. Did you know that there’s compostable bin bags as well? Maybe use those :)
That’s it, as far as what I can think of to reduce your usage of them. If you do these things, you’ll use so many less, if not no more plastic bags, and I think that’s a nice little contribution you can make to not litter our planet, without being too intrusive in your everyday life.