So you’ve heard the great news? Major supermarkets have banned plastic bags and there’s currently a Senate inquiry looking to instate a national single-use plastic ban in five years time. That means the trend is here to stay and it’s for good reason.
According to the Plastic Bag Free NSW Campaign, a plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to break down, with existing bags in the wild posing a choking and suffocation hazard for animals and creatures in our oceans. Statistics further indicate that Australians throw out more than 7000 bags per minute.
Luckily, we can all do our part to change our habits to environmentally friendlier ones and it all starts in the home. From switching to biodegradable or household goods made from recyclable materials, to being more aware of our landfill footprint, all it takes is a few simple switches.
Here are some ways you can reduce the usage of plastic bags at home:
Upgrade your bin liners.
Even if you’re scrupulous about bringing your enviro-bags and canvas bags to the supermarket, there’s one place in your home that’s going to miss your plastic bag stash and that’s the rubbish bin. However, products like biodegradable bin liners (like Multix Greener’s Compostable Bags) offer an easy solution.
Unlike their landfill occupying counterparts, these plant-based alternatives break down after you're done with them, meaning your rubbish footprint is drastically reduced. According to Planet Ark, this process takes around six months, compared to the thousand years it takes conventional plastic bags to break down, making it an easy switch that does great things for the environment.
Take advantage of personal reminders.
Most of us are used to having plastic bags available at the supermarket checkout, so there's no doubt the switch will take time to get used to. Organisations like Plastic Free NSW offer free 'door hanger reminders' that you can download, print out and hang on your front or garage door to remind you not to forget your reusable bag before you head out.
If you do your grocery shopping at a set time each week, remind yourself with an alarm on your phone, and of course, stash a few canvas bags in your car or by your door as well. The less barriers you have, the more likely you are to remember your plastic bag alternatives and avoid getting caught out at the checkout!
Switch your household products with environmentally friendly alternatives.
Being more environmentally friendly doesn't mean you have to go from zero to 100 in the space of a weekend. Small actions all add up and one of them is switching your everyday household products to environmentally friendly alternatives.
For example, regular foil can be switched out with Multix Greener's Recycled Alfoil which is made from 100 percent recycled aluminium and takes less energy and raw resources to produce.
Similarly, putting more thought into where and how your household goods are produced will reduce your environmental impact too. For example, Multix Greener's Brown Baking Paper is bleach and chlorine-free and sourced from European plantation forests and not native forests, which is a more sustainable option that helps fight deforestation.
Reduce your use of other single-use plastics.
It's important to note that reducing your use of other single use plastics doesn't have to involve buying new products. It means simply coming up with creative solutions with what you already have at home.
For example, you can eliminate your reliance on plastic cutlery when eating out by wrapping a cloth napkin around a fork, knife and spoon to create your own compact cutlery set. By adding a container to your list of handbag essentials when you eat out at cafes and restaurants, it means you can take home any leftovers without the need for a plastic takeaway container.
Dispose of existing plastics responsibly.
Although it's great that we're making sustainable and environmentally friendly switches, it's also important to make sure your existing plastics don't end up in landfill for centuries too.
Certain hard plastics like drink bottles and shampoo containers can go in your normal recycling bin where they'll be given a second life, while programs like Redcycle work to transform soft plastics like bread bags, bubble wrap and confectionery bags into new products. All you have to do is drop them off at your nearest Redcycle bin, which you can find through their website.
Keep yourself in check by tracking your progress.
In 2012, New York resident, Lauren Singer, participated in an experiment to live completely Zero Waste.
Six years on and she's now documenting her process on her Instagram, @trashisfortossers. Lauren can fit all her rubbish into one tiny mason jar. Yes... that's all.
For us mere mortals, an alternative version might be keeping a logbook or a star chart that documents every time you make a 'greener' switch. Another option is to keep a monthly tally of the non-recycled or single-use plastics you've used in that month so you can try to reduce this number in the following month.
The goal doesn't have to be to get to 'zero-waste' in a week. Instead, we should gradually lessen our impact by using sustainable practices that we'll keep up for good.
After all, the age-old saying is true, a little does indeed go a long way.
What are your favourite tips for curbing your use of plastic bags? Tell us in the comments section below.
This content was created with our brand partner, Multix Greener.
Multix Greener range includes compostable tidy bags, brown baking paper and recycled alfoil. Each product effectively works to reduce the impact on the environment. By making a simple switch in the grocery aisle and choosing Greener by Multix for your household needs, you’ll be doing your part for a sustainable future.