Why are plastic bags still around?

Why do we still use plastic bags?

We know about the huge detrimental effect these cause to marine life, the environment and nature Plus they are a massive waste of resources, space and time. an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are still being used worldwide every year!

PIcnic scene // Madmen


Plus it's so easy to stop using them. It's definitely not a necessity. It's convenience. I have seen customers buy 1 or 2 items and get a plastic bag. The single plastic bag then gets carried to our car, removed at home then binned or stored in your cupboard for months on end. 

It is an issue that has been around for years. I remember my mum buying big baskets from the supermarket back when I was 10 years old to pack her shopping in to take home.  It was was issue then, and still an issue 19 years on, and globally. What can we do?

There are countries making big efforts in reducing plastic bags, but applying a high tax rate on using plastic bags and passing them onto the customer DOES NOT WORK! Everyone can freely afford 3 pence or 5 cents for a plastic bag and won't think twice to pick one up - The only easy is to stop using plastic bags.  

I do not like single use plastic and actively trying my best to remove all plastic from my life. It is still so hard, especially as a lot of  shops and restaurants just dish them out, no hesitation or thought. DO THESE COMPANIES ACTUALLY CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?


But what can you do when your out shopping?
Its all about preparation and before you know it, it becomes a routine like walking the dog or brushing your teeth.

I'm slowly but surely building a nice little pack of ethical, reusable household items that remove quite a few plastic day to day items that would otherwise be scrapped.

Here’s how we are doing it, maybe you can give it try or if you have any ideas then get in touch and spread the word. 

1. Plastic Bags
Stop using plastic bags immediately and buy a decent Jute / Canvas Shopping Bag to keep in the car or with you. I use our LIAR Beachbag, for shopping and not to mention also carrying my entire life in it. another good option is The Source Bulk Food Jute Bag at $10 a pop for bigger, heavier food shops.


2. Plastic Straws
These are awful and mostly an unnecessary addition to your drink. But I get it, best to drink lemon water through a straw to avoid breaking down your teeth enamel. I got a couple of awesome stainless steel straws from the Pantry29 in Bangalow for this very reason.

If I am out and about, I choose not to use a straw… you don’t need it if it’s going to be chucked out after you use it.


3. Coffee Cups
If I need a coffee pick me up, I take my reusable tea and coffee cup from KeepCup – Check out the cork, glass and black one we got. They come in heaps of colours and will save on a paper cup and the single use plastic lid.

If you forget yours (We are human) then go topless and ask for your lovely barista for your coffee without the plastic lid.

Byron Bay community markets have proper mugs that you can pick up and use whilst you wander the markets. Borrow and Return – Genius, simple and no waste! 


4. Gladwrap / Clingfilm / Clingwrap?
so many names for this sliver of plastic that you coat your food in.

Use brown paper sandwich bags for your lunch and snacks or buy these awesome Honeybee Wraps. Based in Byron Bay they make 100% Organic Cotton Wraps that are coated in a special anti-bacterial beeswax blend.

Amazing for covering lunch, snacks, bowls, and flowers and hand washable :)


5. Cutlery
It seems weird that plastic cutlery are the bane of takeaway food eats but are still going strong. They bend, snap and are generally pretty shitty before you even finish using them! So why are they still being manufactured? No evolution there because they are not meant to be around.  

BYO : Instead of using these ugly things, why not keep a set of your kitchen cutlery wrapped up in your bag? It’s free, pretty decent quality and doesn’t cost the earth as you already own them.

Bakey’s : I’ve only heard about Bakey’s this year. They have created edible spoons in different flavours. Seems like a pretty genius idea where you eat them after use, or dispose of them in a green bin to decompose. Not sure how they stand whilst eating and if they breakdown but I am keen to give them a go and report back.


6. BYO
Remember back in the day when you took a picnic set with you on your road trip or day out? I reckon we should go back to basics and take what you have a home. BYO cups, cutlery, Tupperware, plates, lunchboxes ;)

There's more options out there to reduce plastic, but i hope that gives a brief motivational idea for you guys too ... just start with banning the major plastic bag use in your life. 

If you want to help out more we also support the greenpeace campaign "ban the bag" here in Australia, many towns have already banned the bag, but australia is still falling behind many other countries including south africa, UK AND EVEN Bangladesh! ... lets make the change happen.


Video to aiding in a bag ban in California... Made by passionate volunteers on a super tiny budget, on the behalf of Green Sangha! www.GreenSangha.org/lastics-campaign/


I’ll be continuing to find more easy ways to reduce my waste and to live a minimal life… will post again soon.  

Help Support a Plastic Free Lifestyle and Sign this petition to ban the plastic bag in Australia.


Follow @plasticfreemermaid on her plastic free ventures, super inspiring and great tips.