Think outside the bag

This year I’ve embarked on a low-plastic waste challenge for my family. Every fortnight I’ll be posting a low-plastic WIN that I’ve had in Alice Springs. Please email me at Rachel.oleary@alec.org.au if you have any good ideas you’d like to share! 

Solution: Think outside the bag

Whilst I think that the ‘Ban the plastic bag’ policy in the NT is a positive step, I don’t think we are quite there yet. Many of the reusable shopping bags sold by Coles and Woolworths are made out of polypropylene - a synthetic plastic - which is not biodegradable. Whilst you can reuse them up to 100 times, when they are finished with they degrade into tiny fragments in the sunlight leaving a major molecular plastic mess. Sometimes this just sticks to my hands or blows away in the wind. Overall this type of bag is not well suited to survive the harsh Central Australian climate. 

So, what to do? Fear not, when buying a ‘reusable’ shopping bag, opt for the 100% cotton/jute bags which the supermarkets also sell, or make your own out of cotton or hemp. What happens if you are like me and shop spontaneously sometimes without being organised? Just grab a couple of cardboard boxes lying around the supermarket (or ask the fruit and vegie attendants if you get stuck). Boxes are biodegradable and also recyclable at the Alice Springs Regional Waste Management Facility. I’ve even seen one friend just opt for no bags at all, just wheeling their goods straight from the supermarket to the boot of the car, then home again.

Happy shopping! 

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