Monday, April 12, 2010

BAGS ! Not so fab plastics ....

Plastic, plastic everywhere, but if you look and stare, it stays the same.....look and stare.....

Ok, I admit I have seen a little too much playschool, the above an adapted tune from music time.
Major stores in Australia have introduced a fee for shoppers to take home a plastic bag, but is this really making a big difference ?  Perhaps it would make people feel more encouraged to know that using alternatives to plastic bags is great for human health as well as the health of the environment and in some cases aids the financial health of small underprivileged international communities where bag products are made in countries such as India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Alternatives to plastic bags use more material and energy to make than plastic bags. Research at RMIT University found that a reusable (green shopper bag) is only more environmentally friendly than a plastic bag when it is used more than 100 times. I recently read in an inflight magazine that Philip R Rozenski, a director at US based Hilex Poly Co (largest plastic bag recycling plant), claims that reusable bags are used on average less than eight times before being thrown out.

So it is not very helpful for us to get a momentary urge to buy reusable bags and then leave them in the cupboard or the car. We need to buy quality reusable bags,  use them often, look after them and get longevity from the products we buy. Owning reusable bags and not using them equates to excessive energy consumptions and contribution to waste.

The Good news is that reusable natural fiber bags made from Jute are not toxic to the environment, not toxic to food, do not emit toxic VOCs and can be put into the compost bin when you are finished with them.