We are all very aware that plastic bags are bad for the environment as they do not degrade and can break down into micro-plastics which are now all to prevalent throughout our environment and food chains.
Apethy and excuses
This new year 2020 I have decided that ranting at the nice cashiers about stopping offering plastic bags to each and every customer as an automatic part of a transaction and exasperating my friends with my fustration at widespread apethy, I have to approach my fustration and deal with the plastic bug that is in my head in a pro-active way.
Shops give away plastic bags prolifically, often they are only used once then either thrown away to go to landfill or incineration, stuffed into the used bag recepticle in the home, or worse, disgarded or as a rubbish escapee ending up littering our environment.
It is estimated that the world produces 5 trillion single use plastic bags annually, each of which take over 1000 years to break down, increasing the levels of micro plastics in our environment. Over 170 countries currently have policies on reducing single use plastic bags, from taxes, charges, limited bans and promote stronger reusable bags (which are often not reused and take even longer to break down , and do not solve the problem!). Only a few cities have taken the plunge and actually banned plastic bags outright, San Francisco being the first city in the US to ban plastic bags in 2007.
Why are we so slow to ban plastic bags in this country?
We should be ashamed of ourselves!
We all need to change our habits and show policy makers and industry that we will no longer accept their slow and lax policies towards the use of plastic bags.
Fed up with all the excuses, there are none that I have heard that come close to being reasonable:
"I didn't bring a bag, I wasn't planning to go shopping."
- Always carry spare tote or fabric bags with you. Fabric bags are durable, washable, mendable, come in a variety of sizes and can be a permanant fixture in your normal day bag.
"It's unhygenic to re-use bags."
- You can was tote bags and even bags for life in the washing machine. Most of the products that we buy, especially those from the Supermarket are already packaged, often in plastic so that there is no chance of any contamination. Also loose food items such as vegetables can be washed once home.
"I have more shopping that I have bags for!"
- Most of us know roughly how much shopping that we do at each place each week, take ample bags with you when you shop, too many is better than too few!
"Extra bags won't fit in my regular bag!"
- Get a bigger bag!! you can get tote bags and carry bags made from a variety of materials that fold or scrunch up really small and can live in your regular bag.
"It's raining, I need to keep my shopping dry."
- If you do need to keep items dry in your bag, then ensure you use a bag made from thicker or water resistant fabric. If you do have to wrap your items in plastic, make sure that you re-use an old polythene bag rather than get a new one. If your tote or fabric bag gets wet, just hang it up to dry ready to use again next time!
Also, so much of what we buy comes already wrapped in plastic, in which case it does not matter that the bag you carry it in becomes wet!
- It seems that some people do not like paying for them at the supermarket and ask for multiple bags from local businesses that by law do not have to charge for polythene bags as bigger employers do. Not only is this an unfair expectation of local traders to supply plastic bags at their own cost, I think this is rubbish and time for change. If all local shops only offered paper bags and/or more expensive fabric bags, people would soon change their habits.
"People will never stop using plastic bags until it is law."
We can't wait for the law to change to make us act when we know something is wrong. We all
need to take a moral responsibility and change out habits, by everyone changing their habits and taking responsibility for their actions, we can show that we want
change and if that means applying the law or just changing consumer demands and expectations, we can make a big difference to our environment and all our futures.
What alternatives are available?
There are alternatives to polythene bags, paper bags in varying strengths and thicknesses, with and without handles, and fully compostable starch based bags which fully compost within weeks in that environment. These highlighted links will take you to some companies that offer alternative solutions to plastic bags.
What can we all do?
If everyone just thinks and behaves differently in small ways, we can all make a difference and break our addiction with plastic bags.
Share this graphic with all your emails and social media to spread the message.
Say 'No thank you' when you are offered a plastic bag when you buy your goods, 'I brought my own' - maybe other people in the queue will hear you and make changes the next time they shop.
Encourage your local shops and market stalls to stop offering plastic bags and offer paper bags as well as alternative fabric bags.
Compostable plastic bags are not very durable and still take a long time to bio degrade, they may be useful for putting your compost in as a re-use though.
Write to your local council. Let the people use their voice and demand legistative change banning all establishments from selling plastic bags.
Love your bags! Bags can be very personal, different sizes, functions, fabric and designs, embrace your bag collection!
The goal is to have all boroughs and Councils be Plastic Bag Free ASAP
To increase everyone's awareness of their plastic consumption.
To demand that all supermarkets and food producers find alternatives to plastic packaging where ever possible
That by promoting new habits, we can all reduce our reliance on plastic bags and help create a better environment for all living things.
Help to reduce our dependance on Plastic bags, respect the environment and change our living habits for good.
Download these files and print your own to put in your home, local shops and businesses.
Although this version looks weird on screen, when downloaded and printed it prints with the standard CMYK Profile and looks the same as the main Graphic colours!