Reusing plastic bags

We hear a lot about plastic waste, and I am evolving strategies for reusing all kinds of plastic bags and wrappers to limit the quantity of small plastic particles that end up seeping into the environment.

At the kitchen sink, I have a small bowl which I line with a thin plastic bag, the sort that is used to wrap bananas or bread from the supermarket. Ideally, of course, we should do without this plastic wrap altogether, and I’m working on it. Meantime, I put single use plastic wrappers to good use by re-deploying them to collect small and friable plastic pieces – tags from clothing, crisp packets, the wrap from supermarket meat packets, the plastic netting around satsumas…– that would otherwise leach into the environment and be especially hard to recover. Having a small tub on the kitchen counter next to the sink also means I’m not constantly having to go beneath the counter into the main dustbin.

There are supermarkets that now sell products without plastic: we can take our shampoo bottles and detergent bottles and obtain refills of the main eco brands. We have three such retailers in the neighbourhood – within five miles of our home – and while I have only explored one, I do intend to visit the others. I don’t rush this process of conversion from single, repeated purchase to re-use, partly because it takes time to organise it and assimilate, and also because I’m aware that conspicuous buying is not really the idea.

For example, I do love the idea of spreadable butter, but dislike the idea of having to buy a new plastic pot every time. So now I wash the pot – actually, it’s best to wash it twice, because butter products can otherwise go rancid quite quickly – and reuse the pot with a pack of standard butter, which can stay out of the fridge.

Thanks for listening.

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