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# Ban The Bag: Skip the Plastic - Be Fantastic

29 August 2017

3.2 billion plastic bags a year in Woolworths alone. 10 million new bags each day. First baby steps are happening here in Down Under, whilst Europe is already on a zero-waste-hunt. Come on, Australia - Let’s do this in a proper, clean way...

#BanTheBag is an initiative that draws attention to the over-excessive use of single-use plastic bags in Australia’s grocery stores. The ocean will thank you for picking up on sustainable shopping as it involuntary absorbs over 8.6 billion kilograms of plastic waste. The last three federal states to follow the movement are NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. However, it is not the government taking action, but the retailers. Coles and Woolworths have committed to ban their lovely - free of charge - plastic companion within the next 12 months. But oh, dear plastic bag you need not fear, #BanTheBag only exiles single use plastic bags. The happy shoppers still have the option to buy “reusable” plastic bags for just 11 cents per gem. 

Offering “more durable, reusable” plastic bags is very much a knock-off approach of Europe in the 2000s. Back in green-old Austria the zero waste movement is on the rise. Retailers made a bold move and banished single use plastic bags years ago. Discounters like Hofer and Lidl offer ecologically friendly, compostable bags for those who have not jumped on the reusable-bag-movement. Na-Ku and WeforYou are Austrian based companies specialized in making CO2 friendly, decomposable, bio-based bags that keep the groceries fresh as the texture of the material is breathable. Grocery stores like Spar and MPreis frantically encourage their customers to bring their own. Both take it one step further, offering cotton shopping bags. Spar rewards the pioneers who dare to bring their own gear (containers, shopping bags etc) with discounts on their organic food label. MPreis raised awareness with a design competition for their future cotton-fair-trade shopping bags. 

Though plastic bags form one part of the axis of evil, plastic wrapping is definitely the other. This is why Spar and Hofer increasingly use compostable, bio-based wrapping made of vegetable oil or cellulose. Another approach heavily supported by the government is the zero-waste-movement. From Austrian bloggers to small shops and even school-initiatives , it seems that everyone raises plastic-awareness. Austrian companies join that movement. again & a-gain produces small bags with big impact. Their product line consists of nets for veggies and fruits, bags for bread and normal shopping bags. Another big topic is the Jaus’n Wrap , a cloth covered in Jojoba oil and bee wax that substitutes glide wrap. It is reusable, washable, comes in different sizes and keeps the produces fresh. Additionally it is made out of regional, biological resources.

Life in plastic – it’s fantastic! Not nowadays. There are so many options out there, grab the opportunity, jump on the wagon. Let’s do this Australia #BanThePlasticBags

By Tanja Gruber