We’ve all got used to taking our reusable bags to the shop, but how about that collection of single-use plastic bags we still have stashed in the kitchen drawer? The ban on disposable shopping bags starts on 1 July, so check out our simple alternatives for the other common single-use bags in your life: produce bags, bin liners and dog poo bags.

Sign up for Plastic Free July and #choosetorefuse single-use plastic bags

Produce bags

Produce bags for your fruit and vegetables will still be given away in supermarkets. Here are some tips to rid your life of plastic produce bags forever:

  • Do you even need a bag? Single items such as broccoli or a banana bunch can go straight in the trolley.
  • Pop your fruit and veggies straight into one of your reusable shopping bags already in the trolley.
  • Smaller netting or fabric drawstring bags can be washed and re-used. Just remember to pop them back in the car once the fruit and vege is unpacked.
  • Avoid the pre-packaged produce and pick your own nude carrots and potatoes from the shelf. This way you take only what you need and avoid creating food waste too. Make sure you give all your fruit and veg a wash when you get home.
  • Reuse your old rolled oats bag or bread bag. They may still be plastic, but if you already have them you may as well reuse them as many times as possible before throwing them out.

Bin liners

With no more shopping bags to line our rubbish bins, some people are spending money on buying plastic bin liners. Eeek! Decide whether you really need a bin liner at all (the answer is probably no!). The key to living without plastic bin liners is separating your wet food scraps from your other rubbish. The remainder of the rubbish in your kitchen bin will be dry and non-smelly. You can separate your wet food waste by:

  • putting it in the kerbside food scraps collection if you have one
  • arranging a private collection if the service is available in your area
  • composting your food waste or putting it in a bokashi system or worm farm (and helping to restore our degrading soils)
  • using an old chip packet or bread bag to collect food scraps in separately before adding to your wheelie bin outside
  • collecting food scraps in a container on your bench, wrapping it up on newspaper and adding it to the wheelie bin on rubbish day.

 Tip: If you have space, store your food scraps in the freezer or fridge so they don’t smell.

Once you’ve separated out your food waste, you can either:

  • go bag free completely and just wash out your bin when you empty it, or
  • make your own bin liner out of old newspapers. You can use the origami method of paper folding or grab a glue stick.

Other useful tips

  • For your bathroom rubbish bin, empty it out just before a shower, then wash it out while you wait for the water to heat up.
  • Oil and fat: pour into an empty glass jar and store it for next time, or use the solidified fat to make a bird feeder, or place the hardened fat into the chip bag of your foodscraps to be placed in your wheelie bin on collection day.

Dog poo bags

Under the new plastic bag phase-out, dog poo bags will still be sold. But it is possible to go dog poo bag free!

To deal with dog poo you need something to pick it up with and something to carry it home in.

  • Collect poo using old tongs, a shovel, pooper-scooper or make your own out of an old bottle.
  • Cut cardboard cereal boxes in half and use them as compostable single-use scoops.
  • Use a glass jar or reusable small plastic container (you can use the lid as a scoop) or wrap the dog poo in old newspaper or in a pre-used bag. If using a container make sure to wash it thoroughly in hot soapy water after each use.

If you are up for composting dog poo, great advice on how to compost dog poo can be found here.

So take the Plastic Free July challenge and #choosetorefuse all these bags this July!