From little things big things grow
Australia’s biggest supermarkets recently stopped supplying their customers with single-use plastic shopping bags, freeof-charge, to carry their purchases.
A strategy for implementing sustainability into everyday Australian lives, Coles and Woolworths have already completed phasing out plastic bags, a transition that began in May.
Supermarkets have taken this initiative to save our environment.
As I have no driver’s licence, I don’t travel to the supermarket as frequently as my Mum.
So I decided to ask her how this action has affected her and her daily shopping routine.
A spontaneous shopper, she explained that although the ban on plastic bags had its positives, you need to be organised and carry bags in your car frequently.
Consumers will have to change the way they shop.
If we really want to make a difference to the environment we will have to be organised and carry sustainable bags to carry our purchases and retailers may have to change the way they market their brand.
Australia consumes about four billion plastic bags a year!
Although it is convenient, plastic bags are in fact deadly to our environment.
Statistics show that it takes between 100 and 500 years for a single-use plastic bag to disintegrate.
As an alternative, Woolworths and Coles will now offer (for 15¢) thick plastic reusable bags.
But environmentalists warn they could cause more damage to the planet if customers start to buy these and continue to throw them out.
So it begs the question — is this good deed all it is cracked up to be?
Australia’s mega-supermarkets hope their customers bring their own bags, preferably canvas or another non-plastic material.
Is this a marketing tool to make more money for charging customers to buy bags to carry their groceries? But what are we going to use for bin liners? Plastic bags are convenient. They are durable and can be used more than once. But although plastic bags are a handy item in our cupboards, they disrupt the environment in serious ways.
They get into soil and slowly release toxic chemicals and eventually break down the soil.
Unfortunately, animals eat these plastic bags, choke and die.
Even in areas where wildlife is relatively scarce, plastic bags cause signiÅcant environmental harm.
Run-off water collects and carries discarded plastic bags and ultimately washes them into storm sewers.
The harmful plastic bags often form clumps with other types of debris once in the sewers, and ultimately block the AEow of water.
This prevents run-off water from properly draining,
Will this change in our shopping save the planet? Well, if not, it is at least a start. It’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to do little things, because lots of little things combined do make a difference.