December 28, 2016

Bin liners and the alternatives to your used plastic bag

Starting on September 1, 2011 the official single use plastic bag ban has begun in the Northern Territory. Some peole are cheering and happy but others are now scratching their heads… what do we now use to line our rubbish bin?

For clarification, the new ban will prohibit retailers from selling or giving away lightweight, ‘checkout’ style plastic bags designed for single use.

The Territory has followed a similar approach to South Australia. Northern Territory legislation prohibits the supply by retailers of plastic bags with handles that are made of polyethylene polymer less than 35 microns thick. Retailers should check with their supplier if they are unsure about the composition or thickness of the bags they are supplying.

The following bags are not banned:

  • Reusable ‘Green bags’ (heavy polypropylene plastic bags designed to be reused over 100 times).
  • Recycled bags you bring along yourself.
  • Heavier retail (or boutique) bags, typically used by clothing and department stores.
  • Biodegradable bags that state they meet the Australian Standard AS 4736-2006.
  • Barrier bags, the type dispensed from a roll, typically for items such as loose fruit and vegetables.

Now a lot of people use their plastic shopping bags as their bin liners, but since the bags won’t be so readily available there will be less of the around. With all big changes comes a period of relearning and finding alternatives, so My Green Australia is here to help!

Alternatives to Plastic Bag Bin Liners!

  1. You could buy regular bin bags. This is often the first thought of people, and in South Australia the sales of bin bags have doubled! (See related article: “Adelaide Now: Bin line sales double nation average after plastic bag ban“). This isn’t necessarily the answer but it will be for a lot of people.
  2. Use newspaper. Most bins are tall and cube shape, so a newspaper can easily be folded, origami style, into the bin to line the bottom and the sides.
  3. Or you could use the origami bin all on its own. See instructions here on how to make the origami bin liner
  4. Use Nothing at all. This is probably the best alternative. Simply not line your bins. The rubbish ends up in your larger bin that the council will pick up but just leave it all lose. The only things that should be going into your bins is waste that cannot be recylced, composted, or reused somewhere else. Wrap your meat bones and scraps into paper before putting in the bin to help eliminate pests and animals jumping in!

Take the time to think about your waste in your home.

Find out how much waste your family produces in one week and look at different ways to cut this down. Remove certain foods from your diet if it comes wrapped in plastic. Buy potatoes loose instead of in a 1kg bag. Avoid heavily wrapped items. Be more mindful in what you are buying and why you are buying it and how you will eventually throw some of it away.

A simple tip to keep in mind is avoid plastic to begin with, avoid rubbish that can’t be recycled or composted and watch what you bring into your home.

Making these changes in our home can be a struggle at first, but we all have to do it, so lets do it together!

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