Mar 10, 2016

FAQ about #SkipTheBag

Thinking about eliminating plastic bags from your life? I bet you have some questions about what that means. Most people present questions as a way of proposing their way of using plastic bags are OK. I recycle them, I reuse them, I need them for dog poop! Well here are some solutions and reasons why that might not be best.

Can’t they be recycled?

Yes, plastic bags can be recycled, or maybe more accurately downcycled.  They are then converted into composite lumber or possibly back into more bags. However they generally aren't accepted as part of curbside recycling so they will have to be taken back to the store.  If you obtain a plastic bag it is best to recycle it, but it’s even better to just #SkipTheBag. Statistics show that only about 14% of plastic bags are recycled. So the argument that they could be recycled doesn't overcome the very real environmental impact the bags do have. 

Great Blue Heron Swallows Fish in Plastic Bag by Andrea Westmoreland

Can I still use them as trash can liners?

Re-using plastic bags is OK. However I urge you to question your dependence on trash can liners. I had been using plastic bags in my bathroom as trash can liners, but I found I didn’t really need them. I would empty them into my trash can weekly and then simply wipe down the trash container. I also took care not to purposely throw away offensive items into my bathroom trash. So it was generally just paper products, tissue, q-tips, feminine supplies and packaging. If you need to keep a liner in there, see if you can reuse it for an extra week or not change it out so frequently. Also with regard to kitchen trash if you are composting you likely won't need a liner either. 

What about dog poop?

This was one that had crossed my mind when the ban bag was started in Hawaii. Thankfully I still had TONS of leftover bags from before the ban. I would collect them to recycle, but just never quite got around to taking them back to the store. However, I didn’t move that bag of plastic bags to Florida with me so it is now more of a concern.

In our own yard we don’t use plastic bags. We have a pooper scooper*  so we can easily go around and pick up the poop. It’s my favorite because there is no risk of my hand accidentally touching the poop or feeling the warmth of fresh excrement (icky!). I'd love to eventually get a pet septic tank*, but we aren't there yet.  Now carrying a huge claw isn’t always practical when going on walks, so in that case we carry plastic produce or bread bags. We occasionally forget our reusable produce bags* when shopping and have yet to start making all of our bread products. Before there were plastic bags, people would use newspaper to pick up excrement.

What questions do you have about #skipthebag?

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