I recently read a Letter to the Editor in my local newspaper from a person who was outraged about the possibility of a ban on plastic shopping bags because it meant he’d have to buy plastic bags to line his rubbish bin, rather than reuse a shopping bag. So I thought I’d explain why you don’t need a plastic bin liner at all.
Let’s think about the reason people want to line their bin with a plastic bag. It’s to contain the wet stuff and make it easier to clean the bin, right? What if I told you there were some easy ways to eliminate the wet stuff from your bin? Crazy idea but it’s possible.
Now, let’s think about what the wet stuff actually is. I’m thinking it could include:
- Food waste
- Other kitchen waste like old sponges and baking paper
- Tampons and pads
- Disposable nappies
The rest is recycled and a few items go to landfill but they’re not wet and don’t require a bin liner (recyclables should be given a little rinse if they are dirty). In fact, using plastic bags in your recycle bin is a big no-no, don’t do it!
Okay, here’s how to deal with this wet stuff:
- Compost the food waste. Do this and you will reduce the volume in your bin by 40%. Bonus, you won’t have to take the bin out as often. There is a way to compost for every situation and you really should be doing it to reduce pressure on landfill sites and to reduce generation of greenhouse gases.
- Make sure you use biodegradable sponges, baking paper and other products so that you can add them to your compost too.
- Use reusable menstrual products, there’s quite a few modern options out there.
- Use reusable nappies and wipes (and biodegradable for extra points).
Yippee, not only can you feel great about not using plastic shopping bags but you’ve also significantly reduced your environmental footprint through excellent waste management practices in your home. Go you eco warrior!
But if these steps are too big for you, just reuse something you already have in your rubbish bin like a bread bag (until you’ve eliminated those too), or use newspaper to wrap the wet stuff in or line the whole bin. Come on, it’s time to act.
Sweeping lifestyle change is key to solving the climate crisis. Collectively we are the game changers, if enough of us act to live with the least impact on the planet. – Natalie Isaacs, 1 Million Women Founder.