News

'You don’t actually need a plastic bin liner'

Many of us use plastic bags to line the bin. Apparently we're not supposed to.
Many of us use plastic bags to line the bin. Apparently we're not supposed to. Contributed

NOW that Coles and Woolies have scrapped plastic bags, what are we supposed to use to line our bins? Certainly not bin liners.

News that Australia's two largest supermarkets were completely phasing out single-use plastic bags was met with praise from environmental groups on Friday.

The move will affect shoppers in NSW, Victoria and WA, bringing them into line with South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, which already have statewide bans on plastic bags. From next year, shoppers will have to pay 15 cents each for heavier, reusable plastic bags.

Jon Dee, managing director of environmental lobby group Do Something and founder of the National Plastic Bag Campaign, called on the federal government to institute a nationwide ban. "Such a national ban would reduce Australia's plastic bag use by at an estimated six billion bags a year," he said.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the supermarket handed out more than 3.2 billion plastic bags a year and "hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage".

"Today's commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously," he said.

The problem with scrapping plastic bags, however, is it increases use of bin liners.

In 2012, a review of South Australia's bag ban found just 15 per cent of consumers purchased bin liners before the ban, compared with 80 per cent after, "increasing some scepticism about the broader environmental benefit".

The review suggested that "any future initiatives should include a focus on changing household bin liner behaviour". That's because bin liners "do not break down well in modern, highly compacted landfills", a 2014 WA government study noted.

In 2011, a report by the UK Environment Agency found single-use plastic bags actually had the lowest overall environmental impact in eight out of nine categories compared with heavier options, when the entire production and transport life cycle was taken into account.

A paper bag would have to be reused seven times to have the same "global warming potential" as a traditional plastic bag used as a bin liner, a heavy-duty plastic bag nine times, a tote bag 26 times and a cotton bag 327 times.

That study calculated that just over four in 10 of all lightweight plastic bags were reused in the place of heavier bin liners.

With 90 per cent of households using either bin liners or plastic bags to line their bins, plastic bags being phased out and bin liners discouraged, the natural question becomes - what exactly are you meant to use?

Well, ideally you shouldn't put anything in your bin except rubbish.

The "practical solutions" to the bin problem floated in the 2014 study include "reusing or composting leftover food", "wrapping food scraps in sheets of newspaper prior to disposal (if this is done properly, the waste will not 'sweat' and begin to smell as it does in plastic bags)", "lining bins with several layers of newspaper" and "freezing food scraps prior to the scheduled collection day".

"I haven't used a plastic bin liner in 25 years," said Mr Dee. "The simple fact is you don't actually need to have a plastic bin liner in order to put your rubbish out. Every four to six weeks rinse out the bin and empty it on the grass.

"The first thing you should do is look at what shouldn't be in your bin. Any food or compostable items should go in the compost, and recyclables should go in the recycling. If you do that you find the bin smell is significantly reduced."

For people living in apartments, many councils now run composting schemes for food scraps. To find out if your apartment has a food waste recycling bin, go to RecyclingNearYou.com.au and type in your postcode.

Mr Dee said if compost wasn't available, the other option was the newspaper trick. "There are a lot of free community newspapers," he said. "Once you finish reading, spread them out flat on your kitchen bench top, put any food waste in and wrap it up like your grandmother used to, roll it up like fish and chips."

News Corp Australia

Topics:  ban bin liners editors picks plastic bag


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

NCEIA Dolphin Awards looking for the best of 2017

NEVER TOO LATE: Ivan Perger, 66, received his first NCEIA Dolphin Award in the folk category in 2014.

Entries to the North Coast music awards are now open

CWA amenities clean, safe space for mothers

GOING STRONG: Acting president of Lismore CWA Jan Clifford OAM and secretary Janet Henderson outside the CWA rooms in Spinks Park.

Lismore rooms have welcomed nursing mums and bubs since 1928

All hail Super Minister Peter Dutton

Why does the PM want a super ministry?

Local Partners

Camphor Laurel loss threatens fruit dove

The rose-crowned fruit dove is listed as vulnerable in NSW due to habitat loss from the clearing of rainforest and the removal of camphor laurel trees

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

VIDEO: Girls can feel safe at Splendour

Punters at Splendour in the Grass 2016 at Byron Bay.

High visibility police will be among the crowd at all times

The Block's family home rescue mission

RENO show's new concept – relocating and restoring crumbling heritage homes – proves its biggest challenge to date.

Angelina Jolie 4.0: Is anyone buying this?

Angelina Jolie, master media manipulator, is back.

Love The Bachelor and a feminist? Sorry, you can't be both

These 22 women trying to win Matty's heart... but at what cost? (Pic: Channel 10)

Tans will be sprayed. Roses will be distributed. Tears will be shed.

George RR Martin: Sixth book won't be out this year

Emilia Clarke returns as Daenerys Targaryen in the seventh season of Game of Thrones, which premieres only on Foxtel on July 17.

“I am still working on it, I am still months away..."

Mum spotted on Google Earth 18 months after death

A woman has spotted her mother on Google Earth - she died in 2015

What's on the big screen this week

A scene from the movie War for the Planet of the Apes.

AN ACTION franchise comes to its epic conclusion.

The Bachelor: Will farting be the key to Matty J's heart?

I don’t know what emotion this is.

MATTY J’s return as The Bachelor was sullied on the first night.

Hearty food for cold nights

Boneless lamb shoulder roast with crushed kipflers.

RECIPES: Two tasty lamb dishes to try this winter

How one man made more than $20m in a land deal

Varsity Lakes

Sale, with GST added, shows as a $26.4 million transaction

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!