No more plastic shopping bags? No worries, there are better options
Australians’ shopping habits are undergoing a major change. Many supermarkets and other retailers have already stopped handing out single-use plastic bags. For shoppers, it means having other options at hand.
The plastic bag ban is a significant step forward for alleviating the impact of plastic waste, particularly in the oceans. Australian retailers have been giving away close to six billion plastic bags each year, many end up entangling birds and marine life. It’s reported that approximately one million sea birds and at least 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic each year.
Re-usable doesn’t always mean convenient
Of course, major supermarkets are selling reusable plastic bags, canvas bags and chiller bags. These bags are great for when you plan ahead your trip to the supermarket but they have a downside.
Heavier plastic and the so-called ‘green bags’’ tend to be bulky and hard to store. Try scrunching only one up into your handbag or pocket! In addition, their environmental credentials are not necessarily as good as first thought. Researchers estimate heavy plastic bags need to be reused at least five times if they are to be better than a single use bag. You need to use a green bag around 50 times and a cotton bag 173 times for them to be beneficial to the environment.
Many of us drop past the supermarket, butcher’s, grocery store or bread shop on the way home from work or elsewhere. It’s inevitable we’ll find ourselves at the checkout without a previously bought reusable bag at hand. Therefore, we will end up just buying another reusable bag to add to the expanding collection in our cupboards.
Reliable plastic bag alternatives
That’s where a new growing market in easy-to-store and durable multi-use eco-bags are coming to the fore. Australian companies like Onya have been ahead of the game for more than 10 years, producing reusable shopping and storage products. Onya’s lightweight but strong shopping bags scrunch up into a small pouch. They are easy to keep in a handbag or clip onto a backpack so you can always have at least a couple on hand for those impromptu shopping trips.
The Onya range also includes reusable produce bags perfect for carrying fruit and vegetables. The light but strong, mesh bags can hold up to two kilograms of produce but weigh just 10 grams each. And, because they are mesh, you can simply wash your fruit or veges while still in the bag before storing in your pantry or fridge.
While we’re talking about sustainable storage
Another growing trend is to reduce the use of plastic cling wrap. Once regarded as the saviour of cooks looking to store unused food portions, plastic film wrap is now becoming a major contributor to household waste.
Wrapping made from beeswax is a far better option. While the initial cost is higher than your average roll of cling wrap, the long-term benefits are far better. Beeswax wraps can be washed and reused multiple times. If properly cared for and stored, it’s estimated each wrap can last for up to a year. They can then be composted rather than ending up in landfill.
Beeswax wraps such as the Australian-made Apiwraps are great for covering food in fridges or wrapping vegetables in your crisper. You can also use them to store food in your freezer.
The way forward
Darriwill Farm Highton will continue looking out for other products to help you minimise waste. Our shop will also move towards being plastic bag-free over the next 12 months. In the meantime, we encourage our customers to reuse the current Darriwill Farm bags each time you shop with us or elsewhere.