It’s official, folks! Single use plastic bags are on the way out from your local supermarket. Coles and Woolworths, amongst others - in a progressive move to prevent these bags making their way into landfill, or worse, into our environment - have voluntarily removed those grey plastic bags from their shelves all across Australia.
Understandably with this change comes a whole bunch of questions. The most common one we hear? “How am I meant to line my bin now?” Even before the ‘bag ban’, it’s been an issue grappled with by many who are trying to make plastic-free living second nature.
Don’t fret! You have plenty of go-to options available. The Second Nature team weighs up the pros and cons of four alternatives for your kitchen rubbish.
Your options (in no particular order):
- Go naked:
You could decide to ditch a single–use bin liner all together. Just place your items directly in your small bin, and walk it out to the household garbage bin once full.
Pros: No need to spend hard-earned cash on liners, or worry about where you’ll get your next bag/liner from.
Cons: May need to rinse your bin more often as food waste can make the bin a bit messy.
Side note: Ordering a worm farm or a compost bin from Compost Revolution is a great way to recycle your food scraps, minimising your landfill waste bin and makes the ‘naked bin’ a much cleaner, less fussy option.
- Reuse packaging
Have a left-over chip packet? Maybe a take-away food paper bag, old bread bag, or a mushroom bag? These items can easily be re-purposed as a bin liner.
Pros: Again – no need to spend your hard earned cash on purchasing liners; really easy to use and these alternatives can fit in your small bin.
Cons: Inconsistent sizes of packaging means these items could fill up more quickly than other bin liner options; this option also sends any recyclable packaging used as a bin liner to landfill instead of recycling.
- Paper bin lining
Try lining your bin with old newspaper as a great plastic free way of taking your rubbish out. Find out how to make this happen here: How to line your rubbish bin without a plastic bag.
Pros: Plastic free; can be a fun crafting exercise to do with children; really great to use if you are composting or have a worm farm already as most of your waste will be dry. Easy to carry outside and tip in your red lidded garbage bin.
Cons: Catered for smaller (~5 Litre) bins; if not recycling your food waste, the paper liner can get wet & messy, meaning you will likely need to rinse the bin often.
- The ‘biodegradable/compostable/plastic” bag
These bags are the most common replacement to the single-use plastic bag, and you can buy them from major supermarkets, from some hardware stores, or online.
Using biodegradable/compostable bags:
Con’s: Tend to be a bit more of an expensive option; need to take out once every ~3 days otherwise bag can start to disintegrate/leak and get holes in it.
Side note: The messaging around compostable bags, biodegradable plastic bags, and just plain biodegradable bags can be very confusing. This 1 Million Women article helps to clear things up about the differences - “Plastic Bags: What’s the difference…?”
While there is no silver bullet solution, you could try each option for a week or two, and see what works best in your home.
Tell us what you think
Have you tried an alternative yet? Have you found a solution that works for you and your household? Join the conversation - send through your tips and suggestions to: Secondnature@waverley.nsw.gov.au