The Best Alternatives to Plastic bags
In terms of the materials we encounter every day, plastic is an ever-present substance. It’s everywhere, in the majority of the items we regularly use in our life. The most common form of plastics is containers and bags. Whether in a supermarket or a grocery shop, we walk out with our foods mostly in a plastic bag.
While a portion of those plastics can be recycled, and the fact that giant supermarkets in Australia like Coles and Woolworths have banned single-use plastic bags from their shops, there’s still a lot that ends up in our landfills and goes on to pollute the environment. The oceans suffer the most, as plastic pollution winds up in the water and endangers marine life.
We hope you’re looking for solutions by now. Because in this article, we’re going to share some of the best alternatives to plastic bags and how to make use of them. They’re considered better choices because most of them are recyclable or degradable and therefore, have the slightest impact on our environment.
Plastic Bag Alternatives:
➊ Paper bags
Paper bags are 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and reusable, which makes them ideal alternatives to plastic bags. While paper bags are environment-friendly, they are also useful when it comes to shopping for groceries, carrying your lunch to work, or even distributing light business products such as clothes.
➋ Jute and hemp tote bags
Although they are two different materials, jute and hemp both are extremely durable when it comes to making bags and using them. Jute or hessian bags are made from naturally biodegradable corps fiber, and it’s a renewable asset. The same goes for hemp tote bags; they have strong fiber that makes them good alternatives to single-use plastic bags. You can use jute and hemp tote bags for a long time, and when it’s not usable anymore, they can be composted for recycling.
➌ Cotton and canvas bags
Cotton bags are most common and a lot more beneficial to the environment due to their biodegradability and reusability. Natural resources are used to make cotton bags, mostly farming cotton, so they are environment-friendly by origin. They are durable and easily cleaned; you can just wash them like your clothes and dry them to reuse.
Canvas bags are relatively similar to cotton bags because they’re actually made of durable cotton to make them convenient, lightweight, and cheap. These bags can also be washed and reused as many times as you want until they become obsolete. You can make them in your home with some DIY techniques and give them different shapes and sizes. Canvas bags are also biodegradable and compostable after their use and therefore, do not pollute the environment.
➍ Basket bags
Basket bags, which can also be referred to as hampers, are another option that can replace plastic bags. They’re a bit rustic, but that’s the advantage of having a different look. Basket bags are easily washable and reusable for a long time, making them a better choice than other types.
➎ Reusable net bags
Net bags are cheap and extremely handy to use on a daily basis. They can stretch to a certain point so you can fit just about anything into it. Other than that, net bags are reusable and washable with ease. You can put groceries inside, especially fruits and vegetables. Remember not to put anything wet, as they’ll surely leak right through the bag.
Net bags take close to no space when tucked in, so you can keep a few of them in your bag for convenience. They are also eco-friendly, making them a very good alternative to plastic bags altogether.
➏ DIY denim bags
DIY denim bags can be made from old jeans, denim shirts you no longer have any use for. They’re easy to put together to create a stylish, strong, and fashionable appearance whenever you’re going out. They are pretty easy to use as well and can be cleaned repeatedly. Because of denim bags’ sturdy nature, they’ll last for a long time, making sure you don’t need plastic bags to replace them!
➐ Carry basket or boxes
Since we have covered all these kinds of options you can use instead of plastic-made bags; alternatively, you can also carry baskets or cardboard boxes to the supermarket for convenience. That way, you don’t have to worry about the replacement for plastic bags, just take reusable cardboard boxes from nearby stores.
➑ Carry own containers
Instead of plastic bags or boxes, you have the option to carry your own containers to supermarkets and grocery stores. They’re great for reusing, easily washable, keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for the time being. You don’t have to buy or create anything to replace the plastic bags, just use the existing home materials and get along easily.
Plastic Bags Policy in Australia
According to recent research conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by the year 2050, the oceans could have more plastics than fishes if we don’t act instantly. As easy as it is to read it in one sentence, the real picture is seriously alarming. Already the ocean is filled with around 165 million tonnes of plastics. The use of plastics has increased in recent years, but the reusing and recycling rate has not shifted accordingly. This is why the majority of the plastics end up in our landfills and goes on to pollute the ocean, endangering marine life in the process.
National Waste Report of Australia suggests that Australians produce about 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste a year, making it 103 kg of plastics per capita. Only 12% of the total plastic waste is recycled, 1% is used for energy resources, and the rest 87% is sent to landfills. Our oceans are getting filled with plastic waste if we don’t do something about it.
Thankfully, after the supermarkets took the initiative to ban single-use plastic bags from their shops, gradually all of the states government in Australia have banned the use of plastic bags as well.
The policy states that single-use, lightweight polyethylene plastic bags that are less than 35 microns, are prohibited from using and providing for any retailers. This includes degradable plastic bags, as opposed to biodegradable and compostable bags which are allowed to use as of now.
Plastics are alarming to our environment and marine life to a serious extent, and it is high time we take measures. As our government has taken necessary steps to reduce plastic pollution, it’s up to us to cut out the use of plastic bags and materials. We have shared the best possible alternatives to plastic bags, now it’s up to you to make use of them, alarm your friends and family and if possible, find more convenient ways to replace plastic bag use.