Here in Victoria the two major supermarkets and a number of other major stores are finally going plastic bag free. It’s an excellent change, but one that might be a tad challenging for some people. Never fear, I’m here to help with some tips to help you prepare for plastic bag free shopping!
Organise your alternatives
The first step to prepare for plastic bag free shopping is to figure out what you want to use instead. The most obvious alternative to plastic bags are of course reusable bags, and there is a huge range of options to suit everyone’s taste. Personally, I have a few of the bags in little pouches or that roll up that I keep in my handbag at all times, so I have a bag with me at all times.
You don’t have to go with a like-for-like switch though, maybe now is an excellent time to try a whole new way of carrying your shopping home! If you tend to drive to the shops, then some large tubs that live in your car boot that you can pack items in to directly might be a good option. Or, if you’re like me and walk to the shops, I find an upright trolley an excellent option instead of bags. I can easily pack a week’s worth of fruit, veggies and anything else I need in it, and it’s much easier to walk home with than lots of bags – reusable or otherwise!
It’s not just about the carry bags
Whilst the focus is mostly on plastic carry bags, it is likely that plastic produce bags will be also removed, or at the very least become more scarce. Whilst the paper mushroom bags are useful for smaller quantities of light produce, they’re not as good for heavier items or multiple uses. I love my mesh reusable produce bags – I have two sets and have been using them constantly for a few years now. I pop them in the wash when needed and they are still as good as new. Well worth the investment!
These days you can also get reusable bags for all kinds of items – bread, bulk nuts or flours, you name it. If you’re just starting out on your plastic free shopping adventures don’t feel like you need to go all out and buy lots of alternatives straight away. See what you have at home that might work, trying making your own and over time you’ll figure out exactly what you’ll need for the things you buy regularly.
Find ways to remember your alternatives
There’s nothing worse than getting to the shops and realising you don’t have any way of getting your purchases home. I shared a whole post on tips for remembering your reusable bags a little while back, but in summary:
- leave yourself visual reminders in places you can’t miss them
- try setting electronic reminders
- leave them somewhere you can see them
- put them back when you’re done
Don’t beat yourself up if you forget sometimes
None of us are perfect, so there will be times you head to the shops without enough – or any – alternatives to plastic bags. Do what you can in that situation, maybe buy a good quality reusable bag while you’re there or carry what you can manage, and put the whole thing down to a learning experience.