In Australia (for those who are unaware) we have recently had the plastic bag banned. Well, sort of. Major supermarkets have phased them out and as a result when you head to the checkout you have to (remember to) bring your own bags. This has already been in place in other parts of the world however in my city it received very mixed feedback in deed. Yet, you can still buy plastic bags…
Politics aside, one of the major arguments against the bag ban was consumers coming out and saying that instead of using the free single use grocery bags to throw their rubbish away in, they would now have to buy plastic bags instead. Now as a minimalist and someone who tries to live quite frugally, the thought of buying bags in order to facilitate throwing away rubbish seemed like a bizarre idea. My family always used our supermarket bags to throw rubbish away in (yes we were those people). Which seems terrible when you really think about it as they are so bad for the environment (single use plastic bags that is).
All this talk recently of single use plastic has helped make me a far more conscious consumer. Not only now do I recycle all my soft plastics at my local supermarket, but prior to the plastic bag ban (yes, prior) I made a switch. I started lining the humble kitchen bin with newspaper. Yes you read that correctly, newspaper. The local rag we receive in our mailbox makes for a great bin liner. It’s far more environmentally friendly and I’m not spending money on something I don’t actually need. It’s freeeee!
I’ll be honest though, I did get the structure of it wrong once. But after that, never again! You learn pretty quickly to make it work for you after the first (and only) time you spill old rice all over the kitchen floor. It’s simple enough, just use several layers (I normally use about five sheets at a time) and once it gets full just wrap it up in itself and throw it into the outside bin-carefully.
By doing this I am saving money, helping the environment and not storing plastic bags I don’t need. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they used to do this back in the day? When did plastic bags become essential to throw away what is (for most people) mostly food waste? When did we start turning our money into garbage bags? But more to the point I don’t know who thought this was a good idea!
How have you made your home more environmentally minimalist?