As most people will know, a ban on lightweight plastic bags came into force in Victoria on November 1.
A number of the large supermarkets and hardware stores stopped using the lightweight bags some time ago. Consequently, the biggest impact will be on smaller retailers, takeaway shops and so on.
It has been interesting to see that many stores have already stopped using those bags and are now advising customers of alternatives or even no bag.
I was reminded the other day when I was shopping in a local supermarket that there are, or at least should be other alternatives for people.
Some supermarkets will be providing boxes that much of the supermarket's produce is delivered in to be used by customers
Of course, we have been pushing, prodding and nudging people to BYO bags for more than a decade now.
We have been promoting Boomerang Bags groups - where local people get together to sew bags for use at local shops and can be returned when not required.
Whatever alternative - people will be encouraged to BYO a bit more now.
The challenge is how to remember those bags. Some helpful tips for remembering those bags:
- Always start your shopping list with 'bags' so you remember to bring them with you when you shop
- Put your reusable bags back in your car or bag after you unpack your shopping so they are ready for next time
- Hang them somewhere convenient, like your key hook or near your front door
If it helps, Sustainability Victoria has released an earworm jingle to help you remember - the music of "head, shoulders, knees and toes", except that the lyrics are now "bag, wallets, keys and phone". Hum that to yourself and you are bound to remember your bags.
It should be noted that this ban will not affect lightweight bags like produce bags or bags to put meat or smallgoods into. Finally, the really big question - what do people do about plastic bin liners?
We know a lot of people use the plastic shopping bags put their rubbish into - and unfortunately their recycling as well in some cases - making it one of the main contaminants in our recycling bins.
The simple fact is you don't actually need to have a plastic bin liner in order to put your rubbish out.
The first thing you should do is look at what shouldn't be in your bin.
Any food or compostable items should go in the compost, and recyclables should go in the recycling.
If you do that you find the bin smell is significantly reduced.