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Ask G: What to do with plastic bags

We all know the problems with plastic bags, but what can we do with the ones floating around our house?

I would like to stop using plastic bags completely, but I currently depend upon them as garbage bags in the kitchen. What do people do if they don't put their rubbish in a plastic bag?

What do we do with plastic bags so they don't fly away?

What do we do with plastic bags so they don't fly away?

Credit: iSotckphoto

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Our grandparents lined their kitchen tidy bins with a few sheets of newspaper before the advent of plastic bags. If it worked for them, it can work for us.

There is also an Australian innovation called Recyclit, which is like a laundry chute for household waste and recycling. It has a stainless steel flip door fitted to the interior kitchen wall. This is connected to a steel chute that passes through the wall to an outside hood designed to be fitted to council–provided wheelie bins.

Many houses get two (or more) Recyclits fitted side–by–side; one for recycling and one for garbage. These neatly bypass the need for kitchen tidy bins and bin liners, are very convenient and look great in a stainless steel kitchen.

You may see biodegradable or degradable plastic bin liners offered as an eco-alternative at the supermarket. A report to the federal Department of the Environment and Water Resources investigated the environmental impacts of these plastics and found that “the advantages of degradable polymers in landfill are questionable,” mainly due to the fact that the plastics need water or microbes to help them degrade, and these are often lacking in landfills. Having said that, there is some benefit in using plastics made from renewable plant starch rather than non-renewable oil stocks.

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