Go plastic bag free for one month. Pretty please?

Plastic free march

A friend told me recently she couldn’t live my life. What is my life? I make bread, I recycle stuff, I try not to drive much, I source stuff locally. That is my life. And it’s really not that hard, I swear.

I realise not everyone is up for cloth nappies and breaking up with the supermarkets, but if I could ask everyone to make just one little change, this would be it: ditch the plastic bags.

That’s it. If everyone I knew promised to never use a single-use plastic bag again, I would shut down this blog and go do something else with my life because the impact of that single change would be far-reaching enough for me to feel my work here is done.

The case for going plastic bag free

  • Australians use almost 4 billion single-use plastic bags. Most of these go to landfill instead of being recycled. There, they take hundreds of years to break down.
  • 50 million plastic bags end up as litter every year. They accumulate rapidly – each of us can immediately think of a place where plastic bags go to hang out.
  • Plastic bags are made from non-renewable oil and gas; the embodied energy of 9 plastic bags would drive a car 1 kilometre.
  • Every year, over six million tonnes of rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans.  Plastic accounts for 80% of debris found in the world’s oceans. Of this, 10% is plastic bags. (Note that this comparison is by weight, 10% is a massive amount considering the light weight of plastic bags.)
  • Plastic in the ocean kills over one million sea birds and 100,000 sea mammals annually.
    Ingested marine debris was responsible for killing about a third of turtles found dead in Moreton Bay, which is on my doorstep.
  • They’re not free! Supermarkets and shops factor the costs of all those bags into your groceries, and councils spend millions of dollars picking up our rubbish, which increases taxes.

Plastic bag free March: you can do it!

Queensland Conservation is calling on all Australians to go plastic-bag free for the month of March. Queensland is the wort-performing state when it comes to litter and our government could not give a rat’s razoo about the environment, so it’s up to us as individuals to make a change.

Even if you’re not in the Sunshine State, you can still get involved. You simply have to register and then avoid single-use plastic bags for the month of March.

That means taking reusable bags when you go shopping – and reusable produce bags if you want a gold star – and saying no to any single-use plastic bags that come your way.

Here are some tips on how to remember your reusable bags, and I’ll be posting plenty of reminders and tips throughout the month of March of Facebook.

So… Are you with me? If not, what’s stopping you?


  1. Eliza says

    We have been saying no to plastic bags (except produce bags, which I am weaning off now) for a while now. One thing I’m finding hard to ditch is the garbage bag. How do you get around that? We are reducing our waste every week, but I don’t think we’re going to get down to zero waste (well, this year, anyway). We only use one garbage bag in the bin because our council requires garbage to be enclosed to avoid it flying out of the truck etc. What do you use?
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    • (dt)em says

      That’s a shame about the rubbish having to be enclosed. I use an old yoghurt pot for our rubbish, which I tip straight into the wheelie bin; we don’t have much wet or stinky rubbish because it all goes to the compost, worms, chooks, dog!
      Here’s a guide to lining your bin with paper: http://treadingmyownpath.com/2013/04/20/how-toline-your-rubbish-bin-without-a-plastic-bag/
      Or you could be cheeky and put your rubbish in packaging waste such as chip or cereal bags (although I’m doubting you have many of these lying around!). It seems a bit mad to buy plastic bin-bags when you’re trying to avoid plastic bags, but there are some options, like Compost-a-pack. Make sure they are biodegradable, not just degradable as that is a massive marketing spin. x

  2. Verity says

    I’m in Jo, sounds great to me! The only hard bit is the loose produce bags, but I’ll check out your links to see if I can resolve that one. We hardly ever use plastic bags as it is (walking everywhere means that it is easier to just fill the basket of the pram), but occasionally we do slip up. Here’s to a great month! Cheers
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  3. Bek @ Just For Daisy says

    We are generally good at being plastic bag free but this is definitely a great reminder to be more strict! We will be in for March too – and hopefully beyond!
    We have been recycling all of our soft plastics at Coles’ bin since you posted about that initiative and I cannot believe the amount of plastic that would’ve previously made it’s way into our garbage bin!
    I have an old muslin wrap here that I have had on my sewing table forever to make my own produce bags…. will have to get onto that one now too! :)
    Thanks once again for your passion and inspiration Jo! x
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    • (dt)em says

      I’m lucky, my friend made me some from a fine mesh. I just keep them in the bag of green bags, that way I have them when I need them x

  4. Jonathan says

    Here in Wales, there’s been a 5p charge for all single use bags in shops for a few years and a similar system in Ireland for over a decade. It seems to have made a real difference to people’s behaviour. We always try to keep a load of re-usable bags in our car so we’ve got some ready whenever we need to go to the shops.
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