Fifty to 80 million of these bags end up as litter on our beaches, streets and in our parks, and plastic litter kills at least a million sea birds, 100,000 marine mammals and untold numbers of fish each year. Whales, turtles and dolphins choke or starve by confusing bags for jellyfish. On land, they block drains and trap birds. It’s time for a change!
MAKE YOUR OWN T-BAG
Take your shopping home in style! Instead of throwing away old t-shirts, transform them into a stylish alternative to plastic bags.
* Turn your previously loved t-shirt inside out. Sew along the bottom opening of the shirt, above the hemline, then repeat to strengthen the stitching. This will form the base of your bag.
- To create the bag handles, use fabric scissors to cut both arms off the t-shirt, so the shirt resembles a tank top. Strengthen the stitching on the handles by sewing over them a couple of times.
- Cut the neck out of the shirt, making sure you’ve created an opening that’s wide enough for your groceries to fit through. Then it’s time to go shopping!
1. Your shopping bag will be the same size as the t-shirt you choose. Men’s small, women’s medium or children’s large shirts work best for groceries.
2. Due to the nature of the t-shirt fabrics, your bag may not be as strong as canvas shopping bags. While it will hold most groceries well, be careful if using it for heavy items like milk bottles or tins.
DON'T TRASH IT!
* Try to keep a reusable bag folded in your handbag or glove box, ready for when you go shopping.
- If you’re caught short at the shop, ask for a cardboard box instead and recycle it. Or transfer groceries straight into the trolley, then into your car.
- Do you have a drawer full of plastic bags? Cut each into three strips and plait together, then use to tie up garden stakes.
- Give plastic bags a second life as bin liners, freezer bags or doggie poo bags; or use them to contain crumbs when smashing biscuits for a sweet pie crust.
n Recycle your stash of plastic bags. Most can’t be put in home recycling bins, but you can take them to participating retailers and some councils for recycling. To find a place near you, visit www.recyclingnearyou.com.au or call 1300 733 712.
- Some retailers, such as Aldi and Target, make compostable bags available to their customers. Use them to line your kitchen scraps bin, then pop them straight into your compost heap.
GOOD ON YA
Onya bags are the fun, convenient, environmentally friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags. Made from 51 per cent recycled drink bottles, the Aussie company says it has helped rid the world of up to 850 million plastic bags so far.
Visit www.onyabags.com.au to find a selection of reusable bags, including backpacks and super-sized bags, from $11.95. They easily stuff into a tiny pouch that you can put on your key ring and take anywhere, but they’re tough enough to hold several kilos of shopping. Recently added to the range are reusable transparent bags for fresh produce, designed so shop assistants can see what’s inside when you go through the checkout. When you get home, you can wash your fruit and veg while still inside the bag.All products are available in a range of colours, and if you’re feeling creative you can customise your own.