Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Permaculture and plastics

I noticed for the first time when we went shopping this weekend that more and more shops are now charging for plastic bags.  Target sells compostable plastic bags.

I must admit have been a bit lax in the plastic bag department. Some reasons: (excuses, if you like!)

1. We re-use the supermarket bags in our little kitchen garbage bin.
2. I keep forgetting my green bags in the car and only remember when I get to the checkout.
3. I have a very cute little storage bag for used plastic bags in the kitchen.
4.  We never throw them out or re-cycle them, every one of them is re-used.
5.  I actually thought they were all now compostable!

So I have decided to be a little more pro-active and in response to the above excuses will take the following steps:

1.  All of the veggie peelings and messy stuff goes into the compost, tins and bottles go into the re-cycling, so really the rubbish can just go straight into the bin and then get thrown into the large wheelie bin.  Maybe we will pick up a few cardboard boxes to keep the wheelie bin clean, or wrap messy stuff in newspaper.
2.  I found a cute design for roll up tote bags and will make some of those that fit into a small area so that I can easily carry them with me - no excuses  anymore! 
3.  Maybe I can use that bag for cloth rags instead.  we never buy paper towels anymore so use cloth rags!
4.  In actual fact if they are used to throw out the rubbish we are throwing them into the landfill!
5.  Just goes to show I need to be more informed!

I have already made some little cotton veggie bags to store veggies in the fridge and they do work better than plastic.  I just need to remember to take them in to the store so that I don't even put the veggies into plastic at the store end.
There is so much information out there, and a lot of it is trying to sell a product, so is skewed in that direction.
The green bags that everyone thinks are the answer are manufactured overseas, so there goes the buying local theory.   Looks like I will get out the sewing machine and use up all my scraps to make some re-usable grocery bags.   They will then also be made of cotton and not the polypropylene that the supermarket green bags are made of.
There is talk of re-using bags without washing between uses to be unsanitary.  I will use the plastic lined bags for meat, and those can be washed each time (or wiped down with a light bleach solution.)
So it seems that this simple shift in thinking has opened a can of worms. 
What does everyone else do?  any ideas or suggestions to make this path of ours easier?  What are your thoughts?

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your resolve to go 'green'.

    When I was young plastic bags were not as common as paper bags. Now plastic containers are littered everywhere in the Philippines.

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  2. Have been facing the plastic-bag-in-kitchen-bin dilemma. Gonna try lining the bin with newspaper and see if that work. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  3. Good resolutions. :) I have been guilty with all the excuses you mentioned too. But have been making effort to reuse and recycle. In my opinion, one of the best thing to do is to reduce purchases.

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  4. I do like both paper AND plastic, but not those reusable bags, for all the reasons you mention...unsanitary, have to remember them, etc. The paper bags work great on top of beds in the garden before throwing mulch, compost, or leaves down. I cannot ever get enough paper, even though I beg, borrow and steal newspapers from people I know. Problem is, only certain grocery stores carry paper anymore, and groceries are more expensive at those stores than at Wal-Mart. We use the plastic bags for lining our small trash cans and for doggie walks, if you know what I mean. I have a cute little sack for holding them as well. The bags are free and handy. Some stores here provide their empty cardboard shipping boxes for loading groceries. That is the only thing my mother ever uses. Those can be recycled into the garden as well. : )

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  5. Solutide Rising,
    Yes I also notice more plastic on the beaches, specifically plastic drinking water bottles though....
    Mo,
    great idea, but we dont get that many newspapers!
    One,
    very true!
    Floridagirl,
    Sounds as though you use up all the bags, and thats exactly what I was thinking.... they do say though that so much energy is used to produce all those paper bags. cardboard and paper are great in the compost or the garden. I picked up some wet cardboard in the garden path the other day and there were 2 earthworms under it :)

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