This year, New Zealand is saying goodbye to plastic bags and hello to being the clean green country we know and love. That’s right, on the 10th of August, 2018, Jacinda Arden officially announced that over the next 12 months, plastic bags will be phased out and banned completely. What an epic moment!
Even though this is an incredible step towards protecting and preserving our planet, losing a product we’ve relied on for years, has its difficulties.
What will I line my rubbish bin with? How will I collect my dog poo?
Don’t worry, it’s not all over. We’ve lived without plastic before, and we can do it again. We will do it again.
^^And after those 500 Years it's still on Earth, just as microplastics. It never goes away!
With plastic bags gone from our system and out of temptations way, focusing on the positive impact (saving our oceans and planet), will make the switch a breeze. In a few years’ time the mention of a plastic bag will be a reminiscing thought. The next generation will be saying ‘a plastic what?’
If you’re feeling like a fish out of water and don’t know how to handle a plastic bag free world, follow our simple tips for plastic bag swaps:
Sort your waste properly
The usual excuse for using a plastic bag: “but I use it to line my rubbish bin!” Here’s a mind-blowing revelation: rubbish bins were designed and made to contain your rubbish. Why do we need to put another object to contain rubbish inside of it?
If you sort your waste responsibly, the icky feeling of emptying your naked kitchen bin into the curbside wheelie bin or bag, will be non-existent.
- Recycling ---- Clean and separate it
- Soft plastics ---- Clean, dry, and take these to collection points. Collection points are found in supermarkets NZ wide including Countdown, Pack N Save and New World. Check out our blog on Soft Plastics.
- Wet waste ---- Put vegetable scraps in the compost, meat and dairy scraps in a bokashi bin, and make use of your dog. If you don’t have a bokashi bin or a dog, and have no way of disposing of your meat and food waste, freeze it until rubbish day to reduce smells in your home.
If you get this right, there will hardly be anything left!
Rinse out your kitchen rubbish bins regularly, and blast your curb side bin every few weeks with the hose if it starts to get smelly. Attempting the newspaper bin liner is also a possibility.
FUN FACT: A council bag can fit 8 supermarket bags of rubbish. If you’re putting your rubbish straight into the council bag instead, you’re already saving 8 plastic bags from existing!
Dog poo solutions:
If you’re a proud pooch owner who responsibly picks up their dog’s doo-doo, you’ll be sweating at the thought of a plastic bag free world. We get it!
Fortunately, we’ve got options for you!
- Pooper scooper and bucket/container
Find a scoop that will comfortably pick up your dog’s poo, without getting your hands soiled. Carry a scoop and bucket/container with you on your beach walks, and take it home with you. A separate dog poo compost can be the answer to a flourishing garden, or a hole in the ground works too.
- Compostable dog poo bags
Swapping your plastic bags for compostable bags, means your habits can stay the same, but you place the poo in your compost, rather than the bin. Watch out for the word ‘biodegradable’ and make sure the bags say ‘home compostable’.
- Newspaper wrap
If you don’t have a scoop and can’t compost in your home, pick up the dog poo with newspaper and place it in your rubbish bin. Although this isn’t the ideal place for it to end up, it’s better than plastic!
Plastic bag bans are incredibly important. Without them the 'more fish in the ocean than plastic by 2050' will without question become reality. New Zealand is joining 40 other countries around the world who have banned these environmental monsters, and we couldn’t be more stoked.
At the moment, kiwis use around 1.6 billion bags a year. The plastic bag ban will remove billions of bags from circulation, not to mention start the momentum for other plastics disappearing from our lives. This ban is a gateway for change, the start of a nationwide revolution, and the beginning of New Zealand stepping up to its ‘clean and green’ reputation.
To take it a step further than plastic bags, check out our plastic-free swap guide here.