A Food & Travel Blog

You CAN Make a Difference – Break up With the Bag on World Environment Day

05/06/2018 | By

‘Break Up With The Bag’ – a community project to reduce plastic bag use in the Adelaide Central Markets by using plastic free alternatives like BioBags.

Break up With the Bag, beach litter

Image from Wikimedia

By now we all know just how damaging to our environment plastic bags are – we’ve seen the plastic island floating in the pacific, we’ve seen the plastic litter lining our beaches and the images of birds stuck in plastic bags, turtles wrapped in them and whales dying from ingesting them are burned on our eyes. 

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re trying to do your bit – taking your own bags when shopping, using a re-usable coffee cup, providing your own containers when buying some of your fresh produce. But it’s hard to break up with the bag, particularly when it comes to household rubbish disposal.

Banning single-use plastic bags doesn’t stop plastic use – research shows people simply buy thicker plastic shopping bags and bin liners instead. In fact, even though we’ve had a ban in South Australia on single-use plastic bags since 2009, many are still using plastic bags, and fresh produce bags are still available in supermarkets.

jemma, break up with the bag

Jemma from Break up With the Bag

In fact, bin liner sales increased by 80 percent after South Australia banned single use shopping bags in 2009 and 9 out of 10 households continued to line their bins with plastic bags, according to a 2012 review into the Plastic Shopping Bags Act 2008.

‘Break Up With The Bag’ is a sustainable community project by Adelaide-based Jemma van den Bos and her team participating in the City of Adelaide Community Leaders in Sustainability program.

“Our team’s vision is to reduce plastic bag use in the Adelaide Central Markets by educating shoppers and stall holders on plastic free alternatives such as calico carry bags and compostable produce bags made by BioBag” says Jemma. The focus of the project at the Adelaide Central Markets was to see if raising consumer awareness about replacing plastic bags with more environmentally friendly alternatives would lead to a consumer-driven campaign.

break up with the bag at House of Health

The House of Health at the Adelaide Central Market is trialling BioBags

I’m a recent convert to BioBags, the certified, genuinely compostable bags which are made from renewable organic matter. They make a range of products, including bin liners, carry bags, doggie poop bags and re-usable food storage bags which are competitively priced, GMO-free, palm oil-free and available online.

Honestly, compostable is the best end of life option for a bin liner, ziplock bag, dog poo bag or carry bag because it breaks down into organic matter without toxic residues.

The bin liners are slightly less robust than the heavy duty bags, but the BioBag folk are working on strengthening the product all the time – and, in reality, the bag only has to make it from the kitchen to your bin. Guys, seriously.

break up with the bag on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Major Peter Clements and Eco-Action Kangaroo Island group members want compostable bags to replace plastic on the island.

You CAN make a difference, both with your own personal choice and by lobbying your local stores to start offering a greener alternative.

So – break up with the bag, start making smarter, greener choices today, World Environment Day, and start a new habit for Plastic Free July and your new plastic-free household. 

This is NOT a sponsored post.



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  1. Kathy Inverarity

    Thank you Amanda for this. Meat sold by butchers in single use plastic bags is my main beef (!!) -a seemingly endless stream of them! I remember butcher’s paper that wrapped all meat adequately – before prepped in wet marinades, etc. Butchers in the past have refused my proffered reusable plastic containers on “H &S grounds”! Should I try again??

  2. Amanda

    I have a running discussion with my butcher about the bags. They put the meat in a small bag, then in a carry bag! Drives me crazy and I always ask for the paper bags that I know they also have.

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    We haven’t taken bags from the supermarket for years but I do seem to have amassed an alarmingly large recycle bag collection. So much so that I had to recycle them and bring them to the ASRC where they were needed.

  4. Krista Bjorn

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. Just this week I was thinking, there’s GOT to be a better option! And there is. I will look for these asap. 🙂