Grocers and Biodegradable bags!

It is so nice to see a larger retailer using biodegradable bags again! We all know they cost a bit more so good on you IGA Clontarf, Qld! Not sure if other stores are doing this but sure makes me happy as a consumer that cares.

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Woo hoo! Love it! Good on you, IGA!

Hopefully other stores adopt it too or IGA will have a good case study to show it works and doesn’t impact the business too much. I wouldn’t even mind paying extra to cover the cost of a biodegradable bag - I imagine it’s only a few cents, right? It’s so important to look after our environment! :slight_smile:

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I’ve been having my own ‘war on plastic’, and I can tell you it is definitely not easy. I started with blending my own juice, getting a soda maker, and changing some of my purchasing habits. Side note - I can’t stand when the veggies at the supermarket come wrapped in plastic. Anyone have any other tips for me?

Here’s the official CHOICE word on biodegradable plastic: https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/packaging-labelling-and-advertising/packaging/articles/biodegradable-plastic

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I totally agree with you rachelbee, it is a great case study idea, and one the other Supermarkets should take note of! Hopefully more Grocery Stores will soon follow suit!

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Good on you! I switched my coffee pods to the biodegradable brand and I thought I was doing my bit - but there is so much more I can do! It’s such a good point about paying attention to your habits to really see how you’re consuming things.

I’m quite lucky that my local area is quite eco-friendly. We’ve got a few stores which sell in staples in bulk where you bring your own container. For example, there’s a whole crate of cereal and you just scoop out the amount you need into your own container. I haven’t tried it yet, but perhaps I should now!

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Worth noting, as the investigation into biodegradable plastics @bmays linked to says, that there is a difference between plastic classed as “degradable” and “biodegradable”. Degradable plastic could just break up into tiny pieces and cause more problems for the food chain if they get ingested by small animals and may well be worse than regular plastic bags.

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I buy most of my fruits and veggies from the fresh food market. The only items I buy pre-packaged are potatoes and onions because I buy a big bag. And I take my own cloth bags.

There is so much unnecessary packaging. I used to buy a hair serum that was in a plastic bottle, enclosed in a plastic container, and then in a box.

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I also try to limit the amount of excess plastic that just accumulates or seems part of the purchase (glad-wrapped fruit & veg just make me angry) but somehow - despite good intentions & preparations like to always carry a fold-away bag for spontaneous purchases on me - somehow miraculously I still end up with a lot of plastic bags at home.

They can’t go in the standard recycling but I noticed a dedicated recycling bin at a Coles. But that seems to be the only (small) bin around.

Anyone else seen them & know where else to find them to (at least) recycle plastic bags? Thanks!

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I think planet ark can tell you where to recycle soft plastics in your area. They also have a bunch of other recycling schemes not many people know about - like for toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes,?cosmetic containers etc.?

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Bulk food stores are the best for this. Especially when they let you bring your own containers! They also have the added bonus of allowing you to buy by weight and in small quantities so you can get the exact amount you need and cut back on food wastage. Win Win.

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Unfortunately biodegradable plastic (bags) is greenwash. Biodegradable bags are still plastic and have chemicals added to them so that they break down into smaller particles when exposed to the right environmental conditons (e.g. in anaerobic conditions within a landfill). The real issue is the small plastic particles they break down into in the environment (like nano beads) as they tend to get into everything and won’t disappear in tbe foreseeable future…just becauwe something breaks down so it is less obvious does not mean it is good.

Have a read of this guardian article as it exlains it better and more detail … https://www.theguardian.com/environment/cif-green/2009/jun/18/greenwash-biodegradeable-plastic-bags.

Potentially bags made from plant based oils which have weak polymer/chemical structures mayw be better, but even these ones have some concerns as they don’t disappear quickly either as they have to be stable enough for the intended use.

Maybe Australia should consider a high temperature incinerator to dispose of unrecycable plastics, and create energy as a byproduct?

Avoiding plastic is impossible as everything has plastic components from TVs, cars, building materials, phones etc etc. Minimising is possible through wise product purchase and substitution (cotton shopping bags instead of one use plastic ones).

As a last resort, reusing and recycling is the best option since society can’t removed itself from a plastic addiction.

We also take out own calico bags when grocery shopping and have a small rolled up nylon bag on us at all times (in handbag or in pram) to use when shopping to minimise one use, plastic bag waste. Calico bags and small nylon bags can be purchased very cheaply online and ours currently are about 10 years old (have been washed a few times and maybe saved 1000s of plastic bags as a result)

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@bmays Tip for you. I use the paper mushroom bags to grab small quantities of loose veggies at the supermarket. It’s Plastic Free July and I’m finding reducing my plastic uptake an incredible challenge at the supermarket. Like many I’m choosing to go to the local green grocer instead. I’m dismayed by the individual packages of plastic wrapped vegetables which make up more than 90% of the produce on offer in the big stores these days. I think the Choice community should call the supermarkets out on this relatively recent practice of smothering fresh produce in layers of plastic wrap.

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Good idea, thanks Elise!

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@rachelbee this sounds awesome. Where do you go for this? I often like to buy beans/grains etc. in bigger packets at the supermarket but I place where I could take my own container would be even better.

I do this with spices and teas already, but not others bulk items.

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I’m based in Sydney’s Inner West, so there are around 2 or 3 local co-ops in Newtown that do this. Hopefully you’ve got one in your area!

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Why take disposable bags at all. Think of the water, chemicals, energy, transport that goes into making them. Try always keeping your keys/car keys in your natural fibre carry bag(s).
If you have no money you can’t shop; similarly if you don’t have your carry bags you can’t shop. Next time you won’t forget.
Try this method of byo for take aways, you’ll feel really good about yourself.

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South Australia introduced a ban on lightweight disposable supermarket-type plastic bags in 2009. Everyone here brings their own cotton, canvas, or whatever, bags to the supermarket. You just do it! If you forget your bags, you pay 10c ea for plastic bags. SA also has 10c deposit on drink containers - glass, plastic, paper (eg iced coffee, fruit box, etc) so the streets are not littered with them.

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Fresh and Crisp make a degradable veggie bag, available in Woolies I think, that increases the longevity of veggies in the fridge and I take those to the supermarket with me as well as lightweight draw string tulle bags that are meant to replace plastic when you shop for loose items…I turn them inside out, wash them and hang to dry and reuse next time.
I don’t buy anything wrapped in plastic either, unless I can’t avoid it for some reason. I buy whole cabbage etc, no plastic and it keeps well in those Fresh n Crisp bags for a very long time… There is only (1.5 people in the house)
I also buy loose nuts etc from Coles and use their plastic bags, that you stick the price/weight label to, but I re-use them the next week, sticking the newest label over the top of the old one. I too get very angry at large packaging or over-packaged goods, e.g., some vitamins are in a bottle thats way to large and then boxed…

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Environmentally conscious retailer, credit to management for this initiative instead of only just BIGGER profits !

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@kncdaniels I love those Fresh n Crisp bags. They definitely extend the life of veggies in my fridge and you can re-use them so many times. In saying that I’m also known to wash and re-use ziplock bags, which is cause for lots of loving eye-rolls from my husband.

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