Recycling plastic bags is probably one of the easiest ways we can help our environment stay clean. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is the contemporary catch phrase used to encourage more people to think about the environment and how they use everyday items. Perhaps the other word belonging to this group is re-educate, as the message may be a little slow to impact on people. Most people would quote the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle if you asked them how we can deal with excess plastics and landfill usage in our society. You may be a little more hard-pressed to get actual details about how they are doing this.
Australia is looking to solve this plastic bag excess use problem by promoting the use of the green NWPP (non woven polypropylene) bag as a reusable and recyclable alternative.
Indeed the handy green bags have been adopted by many people, but there has been some debate over how environmentally friendly they are. Regardless of this the bags do reduce the amount of single use plastics bags by a large amount, which is the first important choice to make, how to reduce our use of plastics.
Did You Know Those Plastic Fence Posts Are Recycled Shopping Bags?
It’s true and there is a wide range of products now made completely from recycled plastics, including plastic bags. The reusable green bags can be deposited in supermarkets for recycling, so ask at your local shops about accessing the bag-recycling program.
Here are some more ways recycled plastic is used:
- Garden edging
- Plastic stakes
- Outdoor seating
- Play equipment
- Round Plastic Bollards
The most important parts of the recycling process are ending the cycle by returning used plastic for recycling and purchasing recycled products. When products are sold it then creates demand for more to be made and therefore more waste plastic needed.
Considering the amount of plastics coming through to consumers and business there is relatively little proactive effort in the presenting of green bags for recycling. The bags are being used quite extensively across Australia, but it would seem that taking bags back in to be processed isn’t happening as much as it could.
If these bags made of plastic as well end up in landfill it can almost defeat the purpose of using them in the first place. Try and return as many as possible of those no longer in good condition for shopping.
Remember Your Green Bags When You Go Shopping
The next problem has happened to everyone at some stage, get to the checkout and the bags are at home or in the car. What choices are there? Buy more green bags, or use the single use bags at the checkout. Best case scenario is to remember your green shopping bags every time you go into a shop.
- Here are some ways you can make sure you get your reusable bags to the supermarket every time:
- Keep them in the car – a dash to the car may be possible
- Keep them in a bag that you take with you every time you shop
- Buy compact fold away alternatives for your handbag
- Make that the first thing written on your shopping list
Ask your family to help remind you – make a reward game out of the person who asks you if you have them before you leave home.
Once you form the habit of using the bags it will never be problem.
Why Recycle Plastic Shopping Bags?
Any way that Reduce, Reuse and recycle can be applied helps to reduce landfill and lessens the greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Reducing is a great way to start. Identify ways you can just use less plastic in your daily life. Small day to day efforts will add up to a major change:
- Use multi-use shopping bags
- Choose items without plastic, or with the least amount of plastic packaging
- Buy items made from recycled plastic
- Find alternatives for using plastic ‘cling’ wrap, freezer bags, and other single use plastics
- Clean and recycle all the plastic you can
Reusing is the next most important. Whatever you can reuse instead of throwing away is good. If you can wash and reuse then do that for as many times as possible. When you can’t reuse then recycle as much as possible.
Recycling can sometimes be counterproductive when it comes to the process of recycling. But if we then buy the products to reuse like garden furniture, fence posts, and play equipment then we have made that process worthwhile.
Let’s do our best to get those bags and plastic into the recycling bin, remember to take our green bags into the supermarket, and help to lower the carbon footprint left by each of us.