Australia goes through 3.92 billion bags per year. I repeat, 3.92 BILLION bags per year. On a world scale, humans use approximately 1 trillion bags per year (stats from Clean Up Australia).
Using trendy environmental bags are probably the easiest practice to reduce plastic use. Yet us Australians still use 10,000 plastic bags per day.
About 4 years ago, South Australia brought in a plastic bag cost to all major shops. While of course there was complaint to begin with, it did not take long until many shoppers had their cars loaded with green heshen totes to fill with their groceries. It became common practice – no one wanted to pay 10c for a plastic bag.
But when I moved to Queensland over a year ago, I got quite an unimpressed shock with the bad habits lingering in the sunshine state. For a place that should be the most eco-conscious advocates in protection of the Great Barrier Reef, they still have some cleaning up to do. When I head to the shops in Townsville loaded with my eco bags, I am saddened with the amount of people all going home with hundreds of grey plastic bags.
Sure, you might think “but I reuse them for bin bags” or “we use reuse them for other things”. But do you really use all of them? And is this even any much more environmentally better? In my old share-house of four, there were hundreds of bags of plastic bags that continued to accumulate. In the end I would have to throw most of them out…. yet I hardly ever contributed to this pile.
Let’s also point out that not only will you direct a huge amount of plastic away from landfill and the ocean, but carrying trendy reusable bags looks so much more attractive than ugly plastic bags. There are so many different tote designs now available that you can match them to your style.
With all this said, I know it is hard to change old habbits. But it is too easy to keep using the excuse that “I can never rememeber to take the bags with me”. After reading this, go and put some bags in your car, put some by the door, or even write a note to put on your car’s sun visor saying “have I got my bags with me?”. Trust me, it will not take long before you are strutting the grocery isles with eco-pride and encouraging others to do it too.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my day two daily tip that will even save you money!
Visit www.plasticfreejuly.org for more information and tips.