Banning the Bag: Surviving The Plastic Bag Ban
With the plastic bag ban coming into full swing in Western Australia and Queensland in the last few weeks, Australian consumers have been struggling to change their plastic habits. While the ‘ban the bag’ campaign is a positive movement towards a healthier environment, its implementation has caused much confusion and outrage across the 2 states. With such an imminent worldwide threat to wildlife and the environment, any plastic reduction is a step in the right direction. Steve Irwin would be proud.
However, many consumers have voiced their concerns about the ban on single-use plastic bags. These concerns include the fact that consumers will now have to pay for bin liners rather than using the free bags and that they have to pay for the reusable bags in general, so heres some ways to help save on your overall food bill. Now, it’s a small price to pay in an effort to help save the environment. However, the initial stages of the ban the bag campaign has been, well, a bit of a shemozzle.
So, what’s the deal with the ban the bag campaign?
In a very brief nutshell, the Queensland and Western Australian Governments have passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill which forbids retailers from providing or selling single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags after the start of this month. With the plastic bag ban QLD and WA, the only plastic that the bag ban currently applies to is the grey plastic bags you get at the checkout of big supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles. You can still get the plastic bags that you wrap your fruit and veg in. As well as the bags that your meat gets wrapped in before it’s wrapped for the second time in paper.
Both Coles and Woolworths had to backtrack on their ban the bag campaigns slightly due to outrage and confusion from customers. They began offering free ‘reusable’ plastic bags for anyone who forgot to bring theirs. Otherwise, those same bags can be purchased for 15 cents. Or you can buy an actual reusable canvas bag for 99 cents.
Where is the ban the bag movement currently in place?
As of July 1 of this year, we have the plastic bag ban QLD and WA. South Australia, Tasmania, The Australian Capital Territory and The Northern Territory all made their move a few years ago. Then, the plastic bag ban Victoria has been announced, however, is not yet in place. NSW is yet to jump on. Therefore, if the plastic bag ban Australia is just a little too much to handle, perhaps a move to NSW could be on the cards? We do help those in neighbor states too!
If packing up and moving seems a little far-fetched just to avoid having to remember your sturdy and conveniently sized canvas bags everytime you go to the supermarket, then keep reading as we have put together the ultimate guide to surviving the plastic bag ban Australia.
Your guide to surviving the ban the bag movement
Accept that change is upon us
We know that, as humans, we’re basically genetically programmed to reject change. However, in this case, we kind of don’t have a choice. Therefore, it’s best to just accept that we can no longer get single-use plastic bags from the supermarkets. So, educate yourself on why we should ban plastic bags, and stock up on those colourful and sturdy reusable bags!
Stock up on your canvas bags
Our advice here is to steer clear of the larger ‘reusable’ plastic bags that cost 15 cents. We know 15 cents is a small price to pay. But if you’re going to commit to no plastic bags then why not commit all the way? Plus it’s likely you won’t reuse those bags as much as you would a canvas one, anyway. So, best to be forward thinking and consider your dollar per use.
Even if you have some tote bags lying around the house that you never use. They could easily become your multi-purpose shopping bags to avoid paying 99 cents for new ones. Otherwise, we recommended heading to your local Aldi and stocking up on their massive canvas shopping bags. They do cost 99 cents but they’re much bigger than the ones you get from Coles and Woolworths and will mean you don’t have to carry as many with you when you do your big shop.
Think outside the bag
Along with the stylish material bags, you can get from the supermarkets, there are other various options for housing your groceries in a convenient manner. One of those options is a fancy trolley bag set. It’s basically a set of bags that you can line your trolley with and then place directly into your car.
Another option is to get yourself one of those trendy grocery carts you see the old ladies wheeling around the fruit market on a Sunday morning. Think what you may about them but they are probably the most convenient out of the 3 options based on the fact that you can just wheel your grocery behind you. These are perfect for those big shops where you have to lug 10 different bags to your car. Or if you live in walking distance to the supermarket and you’re sick of lugging your bags home, a grocery cart is perfect!
Order your groceries online
If finding a suitable alternative to single-use plastic bags and then having to remember it every time you go to the shops, why not order your groceries online? Coles and Woolworths both have online shopping services where you can select all the groceries you want and then either pick them up or get them delivered. If you opt to pick them up, you may still have to use your bags to get them in and out of the car. However, if you choose to have your groceries delivered, you could avoid bagging them up at all!
Now, once you have figured out which convenient alternative to single-use plastic bags you’re going to go with, the trick is to remember to bring them when you go to the supermarket.
Ban the bag: How to remember your reusable bags
Changing your habits after years of knowing one thing can prove to be very difficult as many Australians have now realised. How many of you have, in the past few weeks, walked into the supermarket and thought “damn, I forgot my bags”? It’s because, on the one time that you manage to remember your bags, you take them into the house to unpack them and then forget to put them back in your car. It’s a very likely story.
So, how do we suddenly change our habits to suit the ban the bag campaign? We get how hard it is to adopt a new habit and so we’re here to aid in your efforts to do exactly that.
Tips to remember your bags
- Post reminders at the exit locations of your house, such as the front door or garage. This will hopefully trigger your memory every time you leave the house to grab your bags.
- Leave several bags where you keep your keys. You could even buy reusable folding bags that have keyring attachments (if you want to be super trendy).
- Add ‘bags’ to the ‘phone, keys, wallet’ check you do (or should do) whenever leaving the house.
- Keep a bunch of foldable bags in your handbag or man satchel (also known as a matchel).
- Set a reminder on your phone every morning to remind you to grab your bags.
- Be diligent with putting your bags back in the boot of the car after unloading your groceries.
- Be sure to always have a few more bags than what you think you need so you can ensure there are always a couple left in the car or at the front door ready to go.
- Put ‘bring bags’ on the top of your grocery list.
- Remember that whenever you forget to bring your bags, it’s going to cost you upwards of 15 cents. Unless you’re willing to stuff as many things into your clothing as possible to avoid buying a new bag.
- Get bags that are cool looking and use them as a fashion statement as well as a grocery carrier.
Why did we ban the bag in the first place?
It hurts the animals
It’s no secret that single-use plastic bag, and any plastic in general, is an enemy to the environment. Every time we leave a plastic bag lying around, or sometimes even when we throw them out, they end up in landfill. Which then ends up in the ocean, which then ends up around some poor turtle’s neck. Over 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds die every year from ingestion or entanglement in plastic litter.
When it comes to plastic bags, they are used for an average of 12 minutes. But a single plastic bag has a life expectancy of up to 1,000 years. Australians alone used around 4 billion plastic bags just last year. Only 3% of those are recycled. Therefore, plastic has remained the most common category of rubbish to be picked up on Clean up Australia Day over the last 20 years.
It hurts the environment
Not only do plastic bags hurt the wildlife, they also have a dramatic effect on the environment. Bags that end up in the landfill get into the soil and slowly release toxic chemicals. Not only that, but animals then eat that soil and often choke and die.
It hurts our sewers
Plastic bags also get washed into our sewerage system when they for clumps with other types of debris and ultimately block the water flow. The prevents runoff water from properly draining which often inconveniences people living or working in the area. For example, roads often flood if the sewers become blocked which leads to road closures and even further inconvenience. Blocked sewer pipes can also starve local wetlands, creeks and streams of the water they require. This can lead to massive die-offs and in some cases, total collapse.
It hurts our look
Plastic litter also has a factor of aesthetic deterioration which decreases the benefits of natural landscapes. It is a proven scientific fact that natural habitats, green spaces and other aesthetically pleasing environments offer a wealth of benefits to human health, culture and economy. However, when these habitats are littered with plastic bags, those benefits are reduced.
So, the bottom line, we guess, is that plastic bags are bad. They’re ugly and harmful to many aspects of our environment. Therefore, we think making a move to ban the bag and reduce our plastic usage is long overdue. Once consumers get the hang of using their own bags and remembering to take them to the shop, we’ll sink into that habit and everything will be right with the world again.
Then again, if none of these solutions tickles your fancy and you’re currently packing your bags for a big move to NSW, perhaps one of our secured loans can help with your moving expenses?
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