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



CHARITY THIEVES: Donated items stolen from local garage sale

DISAPPOINTED: Robyn Moody president of Blue Care Auxiliary with some of the items for sale at their regular garage sales.

Thieves stoop to stealing from charity.

'Not holding my breath': Optus newst fails to assure local

Generic picture of mobile phone tower. 4G tower, mobile black spots on October 7.

Optus is building a new mobile site at Boyne.

WATCHFUL EYE: Gladstone Police given more body worn cameras

Frontline police equipped with Body Worn Cameras (BWCs). Photo: Contributed

Police officers in Gladstone and Tannum Sands to be better protected

Local Partners

SQUAD GOALDS: Under 13s dominate their netball division

Gladstone's under-13 netball team have returned from the recent State Age Championship as Division 5 winners.


Your Chance to Win

A Holiday to Kingfisher Bay!
Learn More

Working class? Man, Gympie's got the show for you

Jimmy Barnes

Aussie rock icons coming to Gympie for 150th celebrations.

Tables turn as rescue crew takes on gruelling mountain

EPIC CHALLENGE: Hundreds of runners will tackle the 4.2km run from the heart of Pomona to the top of Mt Cooroora and back on Sunday.

They are usually the people coming to the rescue of adventurers

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

OJ Simpson loses cool as he begs to go free

OJ SIMPSON has been allowed to go free from jail, despite his parole hearing turning tense when he took exception to a line of questioning.

Lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, dies age 41

Coroner spokesman Brian Elias says they are investigating Bennington's death as an apparent suicide but no additional details are available.

Chester Bennington's body was found in LA at 9am local time.

Chester Bennington’s tragic Chris Cornell connection

Bennington sings at Chris Cornell’s funeral on May 26 in Los Angeles. Picture: AP

Bennington reportedly godfather of one of Cornell’s three children

Holy schnit: This steak's the size of a small child

WHAT A STEAK: Sarah Atkins was amazed to see the Pinnacle Pub crumbed steak was bigger than one of her four-month-old twin daughters, Jorja.

It's not every day you get served a steak as big as a baby

Tamara's bittersweet MasterChef exit (take two)

Mackay's Tamara Graffen has already gained valuable work experience since her elimination from MasterChef.

MACKAY cook's heartwarming send-off from finals week.

Why Sleeping Duck turned down a $500,000 offer on Shark Tank

Sleeping Duck founders Selvam Sinnappan, left, and Winston Wijeyeratne.Source:Supplied

Melbourne university mates turn down hug Shark Tank ffer

Lisa Wilkinson portrait wins Packer Room Prize

A portrait of Lisa Wilkinson by artist Peter Smeeth has taken out this year's Packer Room Prize.

"The winning of this award is 99 per cent due to Lisa."

Locky eyes next 'series' win

WINNING COMBINATION: Rugby league great Darren Lockyer is to launch his collection of house designs with Ausmar on Saturday at Caloundra.

NRL legend Darren Lockyer in Sunshine Coast partnership

Charming west Gladstone Queenslander with local history for sale

BEAUTIFUL: This unique Queenslander at 44 Charles St is for sale in Gladstone.

IF YOU want to invest in local history, this house is for you.

Alex beach or bluff at your front door

ALEX LIVING: 9/252 Alexandra Pde, Alexandra Headland.

Beachfront unit among the picks of this week's auction line-up

Open for inspection homes 20 - 26 July

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.