All the big supermarkets are phasing out single-use plastic bags..
This is good news for the environment. But now a solution needs to be found on how to get the groceries from the supermarket, to the Cupboard at home. I must admit that I find the shopping bags very handy. I use them as small garbage bags, and they are easy to store and re-use if needed. But I also know they aren’t great for the environment.
At the current usage rate, we as a planet are discarding over 1 TRILLION plastic bags every year. These bags take over 1000 years to degrade and are releasing chemicals, polluting the environment. And after cigarette butts, plastic bags are the most common waste found in Oceans with an estimated 40,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of the ocean.
The supermarket’s “solution” is a ‘heavier’ style plastic bag that will sting us 15c per use. But what other, more sustainable alternatives to supermarket plastic bags are available? We’ll take you through them:
1. Storage Baskets or Fruit Baskets
Storage baskets are awesome alternatives tbh since they are super handy and can carry a lot. If I have some old storage boxes from my home office and I want to replace them with new ones, I put the old ones in the back of the car and place my shopping directly into those storage baskets. They are hardy and really easy to clean.
2. Cardboard Boxes
Bunnings and IGA have provided the left-over cardboard boxes from products available for customers to use to take their purchases home. And this is a great idea – however, grocery shopping will require far more cardboard boxes than are available. Make sure you check out the front of the Supermarket to see if they have a cardboard box stash – ready for you to help yourself.
So if you can grab them, fantastic. Re-using cardboard boxes is a great idea but note that they don’t have a long life.
3. Picnic Hamper
Another personal favourite of mine is the Picnic Hamper. I’ve converted mine into a shopping container! They’re the best because they can be cleaned easily, are durable and mines come with handles – so make sure to buy a hamper with a handle so you can easily lift it up.
4. Take Your Own Containers to the Supermarket
It is perfectly acceptable to take your own reusable containers from home. The Deli sections at most supermarkets are only too happy to seal your goods in your containers and place their stickers on the top to be processed at the checkout. This can be time-consuming and cumbersome, though and you still need to somehow carry all of those containers from the supermarket to the car. If you have these and an old storage basket omg game changer!
5. Reuseable Shopping Bag
These are currently the most popular option as a replacement for the old fashioned plastic bag. They come in canvas, hemp, jute, or polypropylene. These bags are relatively cheap, lightweight and heavy duty. They are recyclable but are often not biodegradable. These bags are good to carry multiple items and can handle heavy items. Make sure to clean it up well since when these aren’t washed often, they can be carriers of bacteria.
6. Paper Grocery Bags
Paper Grocery Bags are the old fashioned way we carried shopping home – and if you can find them, they are extremely handy and surprisingly strong. Paper bags decompose faster and more efficiently than plastic and are quite often recycled far more than plastic.
7. Mesh Drawstring Bags
Mesh Drawstring Bags are cheap to buy and very handy to carry around groceries, particularly fruit and vegetables. They also don’t take up a lot of room, so you can cram quite a few drawstring bags into a handbag so they are on hand as needed.
BUT if you have wet items, they can leak right through the bag so keep that in mind.
8. DIY Tote Bag (made from old jeans)
Now, I’m adding this here because some of my mum friends swear to use DIY denim bags when going grocery shopping and it has lasted them for months. It’s a really great option if you think about it. Sturdy, stylish ans easy to wash! This one’s for those of you who love doing things DIY. Try it out and let us know how it went for you.
Whatever option you decide to use, finding an alternative to the single-use plastic bag is a good one. Just be mindful of the environment and uses – and remember to take them with you to the supermarket!