Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Recycling excess plastic shopping bags?

Chris Mordd Richards 13 July 2016 34

plastic-bag-stock

With an election coming up (and the last article on this in 2014 on RA not yielding many decent suggestions) I thought this might be a good time to talk again about plastic bag recycling in the ACT.

A few years ago, we made the move to ban the old style non-decompostable plastic bags and rightly so, and we replaced them with a much better product that doesn’t last as long in the environment, and we coupled this with a 10-15c fee per bag (depending on where you go) so that people would think more about wether they needed it or not. All good so far.

However like many Canberrans, I still forget to take my bags a lot of the time for various reasons, and so over the past few years built up a nice collection of those 10-15c shopping bags in my kitchen.

Finally I decided I needed to do something about the growing pile, but to my dismay there seemed to be no easy way to recycle the bags. So $10 worth of clean, usable shopping bags went in the trash as I had no use for that many, and the local salvos store said they do not accept donations of bags anymore, they have more than enough (which one was of the few try-able suggestions from the 2014 RA article).

Can we not mandate that all supermarkets or large outlet stores (I’m thinking Coles, Woolies, IGA, Aldi, Kmart, Big W, Target, Bunnings, etc.) have compulsory bag collection points for recycling these excess plastic bags? Apparently recycling the modern ones we use now is a lot more doable than with the old ones, so what we seem to be simply lacking is a proper collection scheme so that Canberrans can easily recycle the ones they don’t need.

Can we make this happen in 2016 and finally rest easy that we aren’t still sending plastic bags to landfill for no good reason?


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
34 Responses to Recycling excess plastic shopping bags?
Filter
Order
wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 9:43 pm 10 May 16

gooterz said :

I agree over-packaging is a problem but you can avoid it and make a point. I’ve told the managers in Aldis why I am not buying my fruit and veg there.

Start with not having breakfast in Macdonalds, nor any other meal, any other time.

I will never buy “fresh” fruit or veg from the other supermarkets when Aldi has the same things for a fraction of the price. Even the fresh food markets can’t beat Aldi for a lot of the products we buy. Cost is a big factor for many people and they won’t change to “environmentally friendly” packaged goods because they simply cannot afford to.
In terms of packaging, fast food is pretty good as most of it is cardboard and can be recycled. Were I to make hamburgers at home, there would be un-recyclable plastic from the frozen meat patties, add styrofoam for fresh ones, the cheese wrapping, the glad wrap found on the lebanese variety of cucumbers, the plastic from the bread buns and even the cos lettuce is wrapped in thin plastic. At Maccas you get one cardboard box to throw away, the local takeaways only a paper wrapping.
We had hot dogs last night and had plastic wrappers from the rolls, the sausages and the budget bacon, all destined for landfill because it isn’t recyclable. It isn’t the grocery carry bags that are the problem, it is the stuff around almost every food item you buy.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 11:41 am 10 May 16

Lurker2913 said :

JC said :

As for Maya’s one CT paper of rubbish a week, if you multiply that by 5 you end up with approximately a 56 Litre bin full of waste that cannot be composted, recycled or reused.

My kitchen garbage bin holds about 4 litres (I just went and filled it with water to measure it), so each CT bag holds about that. 4 x 5 is 20 litres.

You should try harder Maya, very unCanberran of you. 😀

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:25 am 10 May 16

JC said :

BTW, try and get a pair of shoes, no matter how expensive, to last on the feet of a teenager for more than a few months. Then multiply that by three and see how many get tossed in the bin in a year.

I agree over-packaging is a problem but you can avoid it and make a point. I’ve told the managers in Aldis why I am not buying my fruit and veg there.

Start with not having breakfast in Macdonalds, nor any other meal, any other time.

Maya123 Maya123 8:40 am 10 May 16

JC said :

As for Maya’s one CT paper of rubbish a week, if you multiply that by 5 you end up with approximately a 56 Litre bin full of waste that cannot be composted, recycled or reused.

My kitchen garbage bin holds about 4 litres (I just went and filled it with water to measure it), so each CT bag holds about that. 4 x 5 is 20 litres.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 6:36 am 10 May 16

A_Cog said :

I think his point is that you shouldn’t put your recycling in plastic bags, but what your rubbish (i.e. destined for the green bin) is wrapped in is none of the recycler’s concern.

Thanks for that, at least somebody here is reading what I am saying instead of skimming over it with their preordained response pulling on the leash waiting to be released.
As for the citrus and onions, yes my compost is a worm farm and housing a large community of the little wrigglers. I am not going to kill them off and certainly not going to start up another heap. Newer Canberra properties are small enough already, so there isn’t a great deal of space to be setting up heaps for different kinds of recycling.
As for Maya’s one CT paper of rubbish a week, if you multiply that by 5 you end up with approximately a 56 Litre bin full of waste that cannot be composted, recycled or reused. Now as I explained, we are a family of 5 and do not have the privilege of abundant land to grow our own produce, so buying food that comes in bulk plastic wrapping is a necessity. Especially with young kids, who are choosy about their culinary tastes, we end up getting as lot of non-fresh produce which is excessively packaged. Very little of our rubbish bin waste can be put to other purposes, as even right now if I look in the bin it is mainly soft plastic packaging which cannot be recycled.
BTW, try and get a pair of shoes, no matter how expensive, to last on the feet of a teenager for more than a few months. Then multiply that by three and see how many get tossed in the bin in a year.

Maya123 Maya123 9:39 pm 09 May 16

Bennop said :

Regarding the compostability of citrus peel and onions, I agree with Maya123 that they compost just fine. When I originally looked for an explanation for the view that they shouldn’t be composted, I found that it was on account of worms not liking them. I figured that since there were no worms in my compost heap anyway it was worth a go. I don’t however, add them to my worm farm.

I do have worms in my compost, and I compost citrus and onion. Not as many as a worm farm would have, but they are there.

Nightshade Nightshade 6:30 pm 09 May 16

Regarding the compostability of citrus peel and onions, I agree with Maya123 that they compost just fine. When I originally looked for an explanation for the view that they shouldn’t be composted, I found that it was on account of worms not liking them. I figured that since there were no worms in my compost heap anyway it was worth a go. I don’t however, add them to my worm farm.

Nightshade Nightshade 6:26 pm 09 May 16

Charlotte Harper said :

HenryBG said :

Maya123 said :

Go ahead. Ignore that the recyclers are begging you NOT to wrap your rubbish in mostly indestructible plastic bags that contrary to popular myth do not break down except to ever smaller pieces of plastic and ultimately end up as straight pollution somewhere and make composting and real recycling almost impossible.

What exactly are you going on about? Recyclers don’t care one iota about what your rubbish is wrapped in

Not according to the lady who gave me a tour of the recycling plant. She said that due to H&S issues, when someone placed their recycling in a bag, because of H&S it was not opened, so its contents were not recycled and instead were sent to landfill.

I think his point is that you shouldn’t put your recycling in plastic bags, but what your rubbish (i.e. destined for the green bin) is wrapped in is none of the recycler’s concern.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:42 am 09 May 16

HenryBG said :

Maya123 said :

Go ahead. Ignore that the recyclers are begging you NOT to wrap your rubbish in mostly indestructible plastic bags that contrary to popular myth do not break down except to ever smaller pieces of plastic and ultimately end up as straight pollution somewhere and make composting and real recycling almost impossible.

What exactly are you going on about? Recyclers don’t care one iota about what your rubbish is wrapped in, landfill items do not affect them.

They are even running ads asking you to not gift wrap your rubbish.

Supermarkets even sell special garbage disposal bags it has got this out of control.

Maya123 Maya123 9:16 am 09 May 16

HenryBG said :

Maya123 said :

Go ahead. Ignore that the recyclers are begging you NOT to wrap your rubbish in mostly indestructible plastic bags that contrary to popular myth do not break down except to ever smaller pieces of plastic and ultimately end up as straight pollution somewhere and make composting and real recycling almost impossible.

What exactly are you going on about? Recyclers don’t care one iota about what your rubbish is wrapped in,]

Not according to the lady who gave me a tour of the recycling plant. She said that due to H&S issues, when someone placed their recycling in a bag, because of H&S it was not opened, so its contents were not recycled and instead were sent to landfill.

dustytrail dustytrail 8:16 am 09 May 16

I have the cloth Woollies green bags that I have used for years. I buy the bags I use for “rubbish” and they go in the garbage bin. What I get annoyed about is all the “packaging” that comes with everything from a packet of biscuits, loaf of bread to the Poly Styrofoam and plastic wrapping that comes with everything you buy! You can’t put that in the recycle bin so it goes to landfill.

Mr Gillespie Mr Gillespie 7:21 am 09 May 16

Instead of continuing down the road of expensive shopping bags like other states seem to be doing now, might I suggest that shoppers no longer be required to pay for plastic bags or whatever else that is used to carry their shopping in?

When I commented on this issue and argued my case, all I got was loads and loads and loads of crap. Nonsense, jokes and a complete mockery. I am hoping to hear more intelligent responses this time, instead of the riff-raff about changing habits, bring your own, side-tracking the issue and all the other silly nonsense and idiocy that was sprouted last time.

Now.

I personally know of only one grocery store in the whole of this Simon Corbell communist establishment otherwise known as the ACT that offers customers a free option to carry their groceries in. The Ainslie IGA offers customers boxes to carry their groceries in. They are not charged for the use of these boxes. No other grocer seems willing or able to offer customers decent sized boxes (if at all) instead continuing to obstinately leave the bagging compartment in the self-serve kiosks bare and empty while the equivalent location in NSW grocery shops have bags.

Is it because grocery shops are addicted to selling customers their own branded shopping bags? Are grocery proprietors not bothered with biodegradeable shopping bags or are these bags more expensive than the ones Simon Corbell banned in 2011?

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 6:41 am 09 May 16

Maya123 said :

Go ahead. Ignore that the recyclers are begging you NOT to wrap your rubbish in mostly indestructible plastic bags that contrary to popular myth do not break down except to ever smaller pieces of plastic and ultimately end up as straight pollution somewhere and make composting and real recycling almost impossible.

What exactly are you going on about? Recyclers don’t care one iota about what your rubbish is wrapped in, landfill items do not affect them. I never said I wrap any recycling in plastic bags, only what is going to landfill in the big green bin. What about that makes recycling or composting impossible? The items that go into it are also not biodegradable, recyclable or suitable for compost. What else do you suggest I and every other Canberran do with the stuff? I do not understand your point whatsoever.
From the Planet ark website – “Soft plastics means more than just plastic shopping bags – anything from bread bags to pasta packets and biscuit trays. These should never go in your home recycling bin, as they can’t be processed though most kerbside recycling collections.”
As for the non-recyclable plastic bags, I have said it before a long time ago, I have witnessed the total destruction of one of these bags in less than 24 hours by a mob of meat ants, after leaving it on the bank of a lake with a pest fish inside. They composted the plastic into such tiny pieces and carried it away so that nothing was left but the bones.
If these bags are such a menace, why have the government not banned the production of them in all states and for all manufacturing purposes, then replaced them with biodegradable alternatives? Until that happens, we have no choice but to buy our products that are double or triple wrapped in this material and send the remains into landfill. What alternative do you suggest? [And no, I am not going to try and buy only products that are wrapped in recyclable materials, because life has already dictated so much of our meal choices by price, public calamity over nut and other allergies and our own taste buds decide what is the best value for money.]

Kalliste Kalliste 9:14 pm 08 May 16

chewy14 said :

Whenever I happen to shop over the border I alway use the self serve checkouts and do one item-one plastic bag and usually try to stuff a dozen or so empty bags in as well just so I can stock up.

You could always just do online shopping where you end up with more bags than you know what to do with.

madelini said :

Paper bags may use more resources but they do decompose.

They also are less convenient (no/crap handles, can’t take as much weight, rip). I don’t know why it’s so hard just to take a re-usable material bag to the shops. I have one stashed in my bag most of the time and rarely ever have to buy plastic ones.

Maya123 Maya123 5:09 pm 08 May 16

I was accused by wildturkeycanoe of not telling the truth. This reply is for wildturkeycanoe. Others can skip reading this. It’s boring.
wildturkeycanoe said, “dismiss your comparison of waste output as total rubbish.”

So since writing my loonnng reply to your loonnng reply, I have been thinking about how often I do a food shop. I don’t want/like to be called a liar. It’s something I generally haven’t thought about. I just go shopping…sometimes. I would maybe only do a major food shop once a fortnight, but I might call in once or twice more a fortnight to get something like milk, if it runs out. Certainly no where like the every day or two you said I must shop. I don’t like shopping enough for that. I do though keep a store of long life milk in the pantry (with other supplies) so rushing out to shop isn’t so urgent. I dispute I lied in my comments, but how often I shop could be a bit more ‘fluffy’ than a once a fortnight claim, as my waffling here shows.

Maya123 Maya123 4:46 pm 08 May 16

Maya123 said :

Richie said :

dungfungus said :

Bring them to my place. We use plastic shopping bags for all kinds of things in our home. Things like spoiled food before dumping into the kitchen tidy bin, wet clothes for kid’s swimming events, for putting fish into on the rare occasion I actually catch something, covering the openings of gumboots in the shed to prevent spiders crawling in and making a home, lining the bins in the bathroom and toilets, to use for rubbish bags when camping and a whole heap more. They aren’t useless items and we use more than my family from N.S.W can provide us with.
Yes they are going to landfill, but they keep the dirty rubbish enclosed till it reaches there. It also saves us a lot of money as we don’t have to go and buy rolls of small bin tidy bags, which I dare say are just as bad for the environment and cost a whole lot more.

Perhaps consider your rubbish consumption. That spoiled food costs you money. If you have food to spoil you are buying excess food just to throw away. Buy only the food you use; not extra food for the bin. Get a compost bin. Bags for covering the openings of gumboots and the like can be used over and over, for years, so don’t need to be replaced very often. When I was a kid I had a cool swimming bag that lasted for years. There was no need for disposable plastic bags for wet swimming costumes. As an adult I wrap the wet clothes in a towel. There is something very extravagant and wasteful about your lifestyle if you produce so much rubbish. It sounds like you hunt and invent ways to use up plastic bags. When I first began to read what you wrote I though you were being sarcastic to have a go at wasteful lifestyles, but as I read on I was agog to realise you were serious. Most weeks I have no more need than one Canberra Times wrapper to hold all that week’s rubbish…and I’m not even trying.

Wow, reprimanded for trying to find ways to make something un-recyclable useful.
The spoiled food scenario – Do you waste time and money going to the shops every day? Every second day? We do a weekly shop to save all that time and fuel. In doing so, inevitably you end up with something that goes off because your weekly plan has changed due to unforeseen circumstance, or something in the fridge gets opened, used once and put back in the corner. Salad dressings, mayonnaise, mustard or tomato paste for example. Other things you might only need a few hundred grams of but they only sell in one kilo bunches.Often you get items that go out of date before the label indicates or before you get to use them, that isn’t necessarily avoidable as you just don’t know how good some products are out of the bag/tin/box.
As for leftovers, we have chickens and a compost heap, both of which get most of the leftovers. Some things you will know yourself, if you do your research, can’t be composted [some fruits like citrus for eg.] and the chooks won’t eat leftover prawns and many other foods.
So you want my kids to carry TWO bags to swimming carnivals, instead of putting the wet stuff in a plastic bag and then into the one backpack? Talk about making things hard for them. That once a year event uses up one plastic bag which goes to landfill. Not exactly a huge concern.
I might look for ways to use plastic bags, but that is not as bad a thing as you make it out to be because they are being made useful before ending up in landfill.
What about the trash going into the Sulo out front, should everyone stop using 58L rubbish bags for the same reasons you say here, because they are wasteful? No way, I am not going to be scrubbing my bin every week to get rid of the gunk in the bottom. Imagine the bin inside the house, without a liner. what a mess it’d be to clean up. Then we end up buying cleaning products, paper towels, scrubbing brushes. Then we waste water by using it to clean out, hose off and rinse the bins and all the cleaning products.
I am sorry, your high horse attitude won’t rock this camp, plastic bags are not the evil force you make them out to be.
I find it hard to believe that you only end up with a Canberra Times wrapper of rubbish at the end of a week. Are you talking only about non-recyclable rubbish or the lot? Does your meat come in a plastic wrap bag, or a styrofoam tray with plastic on top? None of that is recyclable. Does your fruit come in plastic bags, a plastic net, a plastic tray or little plastic tubs? None of these are recyclable. What of your bread loaves, cheese slices, bacon, potatoes, fruit tails, LCM bars, Muesli bars, breakfast cereals, biscuits, yoghurt. Nearly all these items come in non-recyclable plastic wrap, some also inside cardboard boxes too. Our recycle bin is full every fortnight, sometimes not all fits in.
My partner’s Lite-n-easy meals are ALL in bio-degradable plastic bags intended for landfill. Do you want us to dispose of them properly, or toss them to recycling for the government to spend more tax money sorting out the good from the bad?
You may indeed somehow be able to go to the store every day, buy a very select few items that do not come wrapped in anything at all [it’d be a very narrow selection], but feeding a hungry, growing family of five does not leave a newspaper fold of rubbish at the end of the week. One simple barbecue for example, leaves the barbecue wipes [I wouldn’t throw greasy, fat covered wipes into a recycle bin], probably three or four styrofoam trays from the packaged meat, the plastic wrap covering them, The plastic from the bread bag, carrots, lettuce, capsicum and cucumber. The onion peel can’t be composted, the salad dressing will go off before it is used again [some say to consume within 7 days after opening] and eventually you end up with recyclables from the sauce bottles, margarine container, seasoning bottle, and whatever containers your beverages come in. What do you do with your wooden skewers from the kebabs? Recommendations are to wrap them in paper and put them in the trash. Now you’ve just thrown into land-fill a recyclable product as well!
A newspaper fold of rubbish – HA! One meal in most houses would overload your disposal method.
Fine, if you are cooking for one person it might be possible, but more and more wrapping is put around goods these days compared to the past, to the detriment of our waste services.
Are sanitary napkins included in your fold of paper? Makeup removal wipes, used razor blades, used tissues, orange peels, cooked chicken bones, fish bones, old dish cloths, doggy poop bags, nappies, dirty rags from maintaining the car engine, old torn socks, old worn out shoes, bones the dog hasn’t chewed up and the stuff that comes out of your vacuum cleaner bag or the washing machine lint filter?

As for the REDcycle program, I hadn’t heard of it but the nearest bin is over 10km away and not where I usually shop. If we are talking about being environmentally friendly, the damage to the environment by me driving there to drop off a Coles bag full of plastic would negate the savings made from me doing so. Also, do you know if your plastic bag is biodegradable or not? REDcycle cannot reuse biodegradable bags, so then we have the complexities of finding out whether or not our bag goes into REDcycle, recycle or the trash. Determining if a product is or isn’t, leaves you sitting there scratching your head as a lot of it just doesn’t say. The recycle ? symbols with number in the middle make it very confusing unless you’ve researched it. Then you have things like the foil packaging inside Shapes boxes, that house your CCs and Smiths Crisps. They say to “dispose of package thoughtfully” but do not have any recycling marks, so they will end up in landfill. Do these also fit into your newspaper wrapper?

Inevitably there are things you just can’t recycle, compost or toss to the animals. Some people create more, others less. We have a rubbish and separate recycle bin in the kitchen, a bucket for chicken scraps, a bucket for compost materials and then the bins in the bathrooms/toilets. We reduce what we can, but inevitably there is stuff that goes into the landfill bin. Being lambasted for reusing shopping bags as much as possible by a stranger who makes assumptions without any facts is simply an ego trip. I applaud your efforts to minimise, but dismiss your comparison of waste output as total rubbish.

WOW, long reply. I never planned to have to reply to such a lot of comments, but here goes.

wildturkeycanoe said, “Wow, reprimanded for trying to find ways to make something un-recyclable useful.”

Well, you only do that because you bring home something that isn’t needed. Don’t get excess bags (a small change in your lifestyle would almost eliminate them) and you won’t ‘need’ to find ways to use them.

wildturkeycanoe said, “Do you waste time and money going to the shops every day? Every second day? We do a weekly shop to save all that time and fuel.”

Absolutely NOT. Shopping is not one of my favourite activities. Fortnightly maybe, so less often than you do. I admit I do drive sometimes, but other times I catch a bus or walk. Occasionally cycle. I freeze thing like meat to last. Fresh vegetables and fruit I get from the garden and shops. They are mostly stored in the fridge crisper. I also bottle lots of fruit I picked from the garden, or picked growing wild. I don’t buy frozen or tinned vegetables, except out of season for tomatoes to use in pasta dishes. I rarely have any particular recipe in mind. I look what is in the fridge (preference to food that needs using up) and design a meal around that. That mostly eliminates any food wastage. Don’t approach meals with a particular recipe in mind; use the food you have and design a meal around that. In the past when I had a bigger vegetable garden, I never knew what I would have for dinner, until I got home and saw what was available. (I plan to have a bigger garden again, so I can be more independent of shops.)

wildturkeycanoe said, “Some things you will know yourself, if you do your research, can’t be composted [some fruits like citrus for eg.”

Wrong, they compost very well and it is recommended they are composted. The last episode of Gardening Australia I watched recommended just that. You are confused here, as it’s worm farms, not composts, that shouldn’t have citrus (and onions) added. Put them in your compost. They will rot down fine.
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2021035.htm

wildturkeycanoe said, “So you want my kids to carry TWO bags to swimming carnivals, instead of putting the wet stuff in a plastic bag and then into the one backpack? Talk about making things hard for them.”

Oh dear, what can I say here. Agog.

wildturkeycanoe said, “I am not going to be scrubbing my bin every week to get rid of the gunk in the bottom. Imagine the bin inside the house, without a liner. what a mess it’d be to clean up. Then we end up buying cleaning products, paper towels, scrubbing brushes. Then we waste water by using it to clean out, hose off and rinse the bins and all the cleaning products.”

I am getting more amazed as I read this.
I rarely scrub my bin, because it rarely gets gunk at the bottom. I said I use a Canberra Times wrapper to line my kitchen bin. That takes about a week to fill, and as I said I am not trying; ie, being that careful. I just don’t get enough rubbish to fill more. If you get gunk at the bottom of your bin, that means all your talk about composting, is just that, talk. That’s what grots a bin. As I compost, my kitchen bin doesn’t get dirty. I rinse out yoghurt containers and the like before putting them in the recycling bin, although I was told when doing a tour of the recycling plant, most people don’t bother, so I can imagine if you are like most people, your unrinsed yoghurt containers, etc would “grot” your bin.

wildturkeycanoe said, “I am sorry, your high horse attitude won’t rock this camp, plastic bags are not the evil force you make them out to be.”
Listen to yourself!

wildturkeycanoe said, “I find it hard to believe that you only end up with a Canberra Times wrapper of rubbish at the end of a week. Are you talking only about non-recyclable rubbish or the lot? Does your meat come in a plastic wrap bag, or a styrofoam tray with plastic on top? None of that is recyclable. Does your fruit come in plastic bags, a plastic net, a plastic tray or little plastic tubs? None of these are recyclable. What of your bread loaves, cheese slices, bacon, potatoes, fruit tails, LCM bars, Muesli bars, breakfast cereals, biscuits, yoghurt. Nearly all these items come in non-recyclable plastic wrap, some also inside cardboard boxes too. Our recycle bin is full every fortnight, sometimes not all fits in.”

I am talking about non-recyclable. I do recycle too. Why would you think I would put recyclable items in the kitchen bin? (Unless this is normal behaviour for you.) The Saturday CT wrapper; it’s bigger 🙂
I did say most weeks. I occasionally use another wrapper, but not most weeks. Mostly what does fill the kitchen bin is those Styrofoam trays, plastic wrappers, etc, but they pack down. The hard plastic trays are recyclable. I was informed when I visited the recycling plant that all hard plastic should be placed in the recycling bin. (Whether they are fully recycled and re-utilised I don’t know.) I am one person, so if there are more people in your household; that would be one CT wrapper per week per person to make the same amount of rubbish as me. I’m guessing, by the way you talk, you still create (yes create) more rubbish than that. I might also use less meat than you. Often meat in my cooking is more there for flavouring, so I would go through less of those Styrofoam trays. I read of a family of five who only filled one supermarket bag a week with rubbish. Very impressive. I rinse meat trays, but I also wrap them in reused bags like bread and cereal bags to stop the smell. I haven’t bought plastic wrap in maybe 20-30 years.

wildturkeycanoe said, “My partner’s Lite-n-easy meals are ALL in bio-degradable plastic bags intended for landfill.”

Bio-degradable, may not be as biodegradable as you think. I suggest you do some research here. Some take many years to break down in landfill, and when they do it might be into small micro-beads. If you want to use bags that break down, use compostable bags instead.

wildturkeycanoe said, “You may indeed somehow be able to go to the store every day”
Can I? I don’t. You shouldn’t make presumptions like that.

wildturkeycanoe said, “barbecue wipes”
Something not on my shopping list as this is the first I have heard of them. Don’t own a BBQ. Are BBQ wipes paper. If so, they can be composted.

wildturkeycanoe said, The onion peel can’t be composted, the salad dressing will go off before it is used again [some say to consume within 7 days after opening] and eventually you end up with recyclables from the sauce bottles, margarine container, seasoning bottle, and whatever containers your beverages come in.”
Onion peel of course can be composted.
“the salad dressing will go off before it is used again” This gets sillier and sillier. Salad dressing has vinegar in it; a preservative. In the fridge it will last for weeks. NO WONDER, you have so much rubbish. You sound like one of those people who will throw out perfectly good food when it is one day over the use by date. By the way, I have bought salt with a use by date. Would you throw that out when it’s past its use by date? A serious question I would like to hear your answer for.

wildturkeycanoe said “What do you do with your wooden skewers from the kebabs? Recommendations are to wrap them in paper and put them in the trash. Now you’ve just thrown into land-fill a recyclable product as well!”

I wash and reuse mine, and they are many years old. But I haven’t made kebabs for ages, so haven’t needed to use the skewers for awhile. I would consider throwing any broken ones in the chips in the front garden, but they are sharp and would need to be broken up for safety. I add wooden icecream sticks to the chips rather than throw them in the bin. It’s wood after all!

wildturkeycanoe said “Are sanitary napkins included in your fold of paper? Makeup removal wipes, used razor blades, used tissues, orange peels, cooked chicken bones, fish bones, old dish cloths, doggy poop bags, nappies, dirty rags from maintaining the car engine, old torn socks, old worn out shoes, bones the dog hasn’t chewed up and the stuff that comes out of your vacuum cleaner bag or the washing machine lint filter?”
You asked, so answers:
Makeup removal wipes: No, never used them
used razor blades: a disposable razor ever few months. One or two a year maybe.
used tissues: use a handkerchief
orange peels: They are compostable
cooked chicken bones: sometimes
fish bones: they are tiny and get scrapped into the compost with the vegetables
old dish cloths: when they get too daggy for the kitchen they are added to the cloth rag pile
doggy poop bags: no dog
nappies: too old for this, but absolutely not. I would use cloth nappies.
dirty rags from maintaining the car engine: you mean the old dishcloth, now a rag 🙂
old torn socks: if they are beyond mending – usually after many years of use (I have some which have been in regular use for 20 years)…yes.
old worn out shoes: yes, but that would only be one pair every few years. I buy good quality shoes.
bones the dog hasn’t chewed up: no dog
stuff that comes out of your vacuum cleaner bag: sometimes bin, sometimes compost. You made me consider this here. It really is compostable, so I should compost this more. Thank you for bringing this to my conscience.
washing machine lint filter: no lint filter.

“REDcycle program”
I hadn’t heard of them, but there is one at a couple of Coles I sometimes shop at, so it would be no hassle for me to take stuff to be recycled, that can’t go in the recycle bin. I will do more research. Thank you for bringing this program to my attention.

wildturkeycanoe said “Being lambasted for reusing shopping bags as much as possible by a stranger who makes assumptions without any facts is simply an ego trip. I applaud your efforts to minimise, but dismiss your comparison of waste output as total rubbish.”

That’s the same as you saying I must shop every day or two, when I don’t. Without you knowing this. The difference here is that I never gave any indication of how often I shop, but you did give an indication of how many bags you use.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 3:38 pm 08 May 16

Polyethelene is not a good addition to the environment.

http://www.postconsumers.com/education/plastic-bag-environmental-facts/

Paper bags may use more resources but they do decompose.

gooterz gooterz 1:05 pm 08 May 16

“replaced them with a much better product that doesn’t last as long in the environment”

The new bags are thicker so last longer. They last longer in the environment.
Those big green bags last much longer. The only saving is that you might use them more than once. So unless you are reusing them many times we were probably better off with the old style bags.

“However like many Canberrans, I still forget to take my bags a lot of the time for various reasons”
As do many thus making the bag ban somewhat bad for the environment.

“So $10 worth of clean, usable shopping bags went in the trash “

So about 50 of the thicker bags…

Why not just remember to take bags?

At least on the bright side, some researchers have recently found some bacteria that have evolved to eat plastics might be a future there in recycling things that aren’t recyclable now.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:56 am 08 May 16

The only problem plastic bags going to landfill create is the space they use although it takes a lot of empty plastic bags to fill a landfill that is compacted.
At least they do not stink like disposable nappies and they are mostly inert, unlike the toxic and carcinogenous formaldehyde in the thousands of tonnes of flat pack furniture that are being dumped at the Mugga Lane landfill where the “mystery” smells still continue.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:46 am 08 May 16

Maya123 said :

Richie said :

dungfungus said :

Bring them to my place. We use plastic shopping bags for all kinds of things in our home. Things like spoiled food before dumping into the kitchen tidy bin, wet clothes for kid’s swimming events, for putting fish into on the rare occasion I actually catch something, covering the openings of gumboots in the shed to prevent spiders crawling in and making a home, lining the bins in the bathroom and toilets, to use for rubbish bags when camping and a whole heap more. They aren’t useless items and we use more than my family from N.S.W can provide us with.
Yes they are going to landfill, but they keep the dirty rubbish enclosed till it reaches there. It also saves us a lot of money as we don’t have to go and buy rolls of small bin tidy bags, which I dare say are just as bad for the environment and cost a whole lot more.

Perhaps consider your rubbish consumption. That spoiled food costs you money. If you have food to spoil you are buying excess food just to throw away. Buy only the food you use; not extra food for the bin. Get a compost bin. Bags for covering the openings of gumboots and the like can be used over and over, for years, so don’t need to be replaced very often. When I was a kid I had a cool swimming bag that lasted for years. There was no need for disposable plastic bags for wet swimming costumes. As an adult I wrap the wet clothes in a towel. There is something very extravagant and wasteful about your lifestyle if you produce so much rubbish. It sounds like you hunt and invent ways to use up plastic bags. When I first began to read what you wrote I though you were being sarcastic to have a go at wasteful lifestyles, but as I read on I was agog to realise you were serious. Most weeks I have no more need than one Canberra Times wrapper to hold all that week’s rubbish…and I’m not even trying.

Wow, reprimanded for trying to find ways to make something un-recyclable useful.
The spoiled food scenario – Do you waste time and money going to the shops every day? Every second day? We do a weekly shop to save all that time and fuel. In doing so, inevitably you end up with something that goes off because your weekly plan has changed due to unforeseen circumstance, or something in the fridge gets opened, used once and put back in the corner. Salad dressings, mayonnaise, mustard or tomato paste for example. Other things you might only need a few hundred grams of but they only sell in one kilo bunches.Often you get items that go out of date before the label indicates or before you get to use them, that isn’t necessarily avoidable as you just don’t know how good some products are out of the bag/tin/box.
As for leftovers, we have chickens and a compost heap, both of which get most of the leftovers. Some things you will know yourself, if you do your research, can’t be composted [some fruits like citrus for eg.] and the chooks won’t eat leftover prawns and many other foods.
So you want my kids to carry TWO bags to swimming carnivals, instead of putting the wet stuff in a plastic bag and then into the one backpack? Talk about making things hard for them. That once a year event uses up one plastic bag which goes to landfill. Not exactly a huge concern.
I might look for ways to use plastic bags, but that is not as bad a thing as you make it out to be because they are being made useful before ending up in landfill.
What about the trash going into the Sulo out front, should everyone stop using 58L rubbish bags for the same reasons you say here, because they are wasteful? No way, I am not going to be scrubbing my bin every week to get rid of the gunk in the bottom. Imagine the bin inside the house, without a liner. what a mess it’d be to clean up. Then we end up buying cleaning products, paper towels, scrubbing brushes. Then we waste water by using it to clean out, hose off and rinse the bins and all the cleaning products.
I am sorry, your high horse attitude won’t rock this camp, plastic bags are not the evil force you make them out to be.
I find it hard to believe that you only end up with a Canberra Times wrapper of rubbish at the end of a week. Are you talking only about non-recyclable rubbish or the lot? Does your meat come in a plastic wrap bag, or a styrofoam tray with plastic on top? None of that is recyclable. Does your fruit come in plastic bags, a plastic net, a plastic tray or little plastic tubs? None of these are recyclable. What of your bread loaves, cheese slices, bacon, potatoes, fruit tails, LCM bars, Muesli bars, breakfast cereals, biscuits, yoghurt. Nearly all these items come in non-recyclable plastic wrap, some also inside cardboard boxes too. Our recycle bin is full every fortnight, sometimes not all fits in.
My partner’s Lite-n-easy meals are ALL in bio-degradable plastic bags intended for landfill. Do you want us to dispose of them properly, or toss them to recycling for the government to spend more tax money sorting out the good from the bad?
You may indeed somehow be able to go to the store every day, buy a very select few items that do not come wrapped in anything at all [it’d be a very narrow selection], but feeding a hungry, growing family of five does not leave a newspaper fold of rubbish at the end of the week. One simple barbecue for example, leaves the barbecue wipes [I wouldn’t throw greasy, fat covered wipes into a recycle bin], probably three or four styrofoam trays from the packaged meat, the plastic wrap covering them, The plastic from the bread bag, carrots, lettuce, capsicum and cucumber. The onion peel can’t be composted, the salad dressing will go off before it is used again [some say to consume within 7 days after opening] and eventually you end up with recyclables from the sauce bottles, margarine container, seasoning bottle, and whatever containers your beverages come in. What do you do with your wooden skewers from the kebabs? Recommendations are to wrap them in paper and put them in the trash. Now you’ve just thrown into land-fill a recyclable product as well!
A newspaper fold of rubbish – HA! One meal in most houses would overload your disposal method.
Fine, if you are cooking for one person it might be possible, but more and more wrapping is put around goods these days compared to the past, to the detriment of our waste services.
Are sanitary napkins included in your fold of paper? Makeup removal wipes, used razor blades, used tissues, orange peels, cooked chicken bones, fish bones, old dish cloths, doggy poop bags, nappies, dirty rags from maintaining the car engine, old torn socks, old worn out shoes, bones the dog hasn’t chewed up and the stuff that comes out of your vacuum cleaner bag or the washing machine lint filter?

As for the REDcycle program, I hadn’t heard of it but the nearest bin is over 10km away and not where I usually shop. If we are talking about being environmentally friendly, the damage to the environment by me driving there to drop off a Coles bag full of plastic would negate the savings made from me doing so. Also, do you know if your plastic bag is biodegradable or not? REDcycle cannot reuse biodegradable bags, so then we have the complexities of finding out whether or not our bag goes into REDcycle, recycle or the trash. Determining if a product is or isn’t, leaves you sitting there scratching your head as a lot of it just doesn’t say. The recycle ? symbols with number in the middle make it very confusing unless you’ve researched it. Then you have things like the foil packaging inside Shapes boxes, that house your CCs and Smiths Crisps. They say to “dispose of package thoughtfully” but do not have any recycling marks, so they will end up in landfill. Do these also fit into your newspaper wrapper?

Inevitably there are things you just can’t recycle, compost or toss to the animals. Some people create more, others less. We have a rubbish and separate recycle bin in the kitchen, a bucket for chicken scraps, a bucket for compost materials and then the bins in the bathrooms/toilets. We reduce what we can, but inevitably there is stuff that goes into the landfill bin. Being lambasted for reusing shopping bags as much as possible by a stranger who makes assumptions without any facts is simply an ego trip. I applaud your efforts to minimise, but dismiss your comparison of waste output as total rubbish.

Go ahead. Ignore that the recyclers are begging you NOT to wrap your rubbish in mostly indestructible plastic bags that contrary to popular myth do not break down except to ever smaller pieces of plastic and ultimately end up as straight pollution somewhere and make composting and real recycling almost impossible.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2019 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site