Remember how rubbish used to be wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper, lunches in grease-proof paper and bread was sold in paper bags and stored in bread bins?
Then, almost overnight, everything changed, as synthetics invaded and plastic took over.
It revolutionised the way we did things. Tupperware, Gladwrap, sandwich bags, bread in plastic bags – suddenly everything was so much easier, so much more convenient.
But all this plastic and convenience has come at a cost. Unlike natural materials like cotton, plastic doesn’t break down and most of it ends up in landfill, unless it is one of those lightweight biodegradable bags that are in the minority.
It has become an epidemic, no a pandemic. An estimated 1 trillion bags are used and discarded world-wide every year, of which Australians use 3.92 billion plastic bags a year, with most of those bags ending up in landfill.
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Thankfully, Australia is doing something to curtail the use of plastic bags, with various state governments banning retail outlets like supermarkets using the “plastic menace”, although at least one state government backflipped on a promise to do so because of a fear of voter backlash. Many other stores are also doing their bit by introducing a charge and encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags with them.
In the UK, the government has finally taken action, earlier this month making in compulsory for larger stores to charge 5p a bag.
But is it enough, or a case of too little, too late?
Let’s talk: What do you think? Would you like to see a ban on plastic bags, and a return to a more natural world?