Thursday, October 12, 2006

Coles green bags to replace plastic bags...

...not such a good idea?

I recently found out that the green bags that Coles is pushing to reduce the need for plastic bags are NOT BIODEGRADABLE. Gaaaah! They will hang around the environment for far longer than plastic bags, unless you recycle them, and goodness knows how much energy will be used up then. Polypropylene is a fossil-fuel based plastic, it is the same thing that indestructible wheelie bins are made from.

Some links that have more information about this:

How green is your bag? - SMH, 25 April 2005
Plastic bagging - The Australian, 2 October 2006
Nice chart from Burwood Council showing environmental impact of different types of bag materials.

This isn't limited to Coles, a lot of clothing companies like Cotton On, Body and Soul, and Supre etc give them out free, and you can also buy them at Bunnings. They are everywhere. Sigh.

Another alternative is cotton/calico bags, but apparently, although cotton degrades fairly quickly, it is very resource-intensive in terms of production, even more so than polypropylene. But at least it actually does degrade!

I don't often lug cardboard boxes around, and paper is too weak, so hemp seems like a good option, and I've found a supply right here in Western Australia.

The Margaret River Hemp Company sells some nice hemp shopping bags for $4.95. A reasonable price, considering other Australian companies are selling similar bags for around $12.00. ($12.00 for a shopping bag, I ask you! Luckily my brainmeats are strong from eating meat, so I said "Phooey to you! I shall use the Internet to find myself a better deal!" $12.00 indeed mutter mutter...)

They have a shop on Market Street in Fremantle, so next time I'm there I shall look for some . I'll probably use them myself or give them to people as presents. Yay!