“Reuse, Reduce and Recycle” is a mantra we have all become familiar with over the past few years, but when it comes to recycling our plastic carrier bags, the options and choices available to the public are unclear and somewhat limited.
Recycling Carrier Bags as Bin Liners
Many environmentalists, green parties, and government agencies tell us to reuse our plastic bags as much as possible before finally using them as a bin liner, but a recent report out of the Philippines shows that unless our carrier bag bin liners are disposed of correctly, they can lead to blocked waterways and floods. So is this really a good option?
Disposing of unwanted Carrier Bags in Recycle Bins
Once your plastic carrier bag has fulfilled its role in transporting your goods from the supermarket, the smart thing to do is reuse it (for your kids PE kit, packed lunch or as a peg bag) and then deposit it into a plastic recycling bin – right? Well, apparently not! Many of the single-use plastic carrier bags handed out by retailers are designed to biodegrade at the landfill, not to recycle, and by placing our bags in the wrong recycle bins; we can do more damage than good.
Return your Single-Use Plastic Carrier Bags to the Supermarket
Many of the UK’s leading supermarket chains such as Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s offer carrier bag recycling facilities at their larger stores, and if you really want to dispose of your unwanted plastic bags in an eco-friendly way, this might be the best option. However, if you decide to do a spot of shopping while you are there, you may find yourself carrying away more plastic carrier bags than you have just recycled!
While carrier bag taxes, levies and bans may lead us to believe that our environmental agencies are trying to save the planet from plastic waste, we should not forget that plastic bags take up less than 1% of landfill, and maybe we should be concentrating our energies on the other 99%!