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



Weird world of coffee

SEEDS, NOT BEANS: Coffee beans are actually the seeds of berries from coffee trees, like this one.

I love my cuppa but I'm not a fan of these weird facts.

Drug related matters made multiple appearances in Gympie Magistrates Court

Drug cases in Gympie Magistrates Court

Drug related matters rated some mentions in Gympie Magistrates Court

Fine for mouthy mum - 'Not in front of kids,' says court

ROAD RAGE OUTRAGE: School parking lot no place for swearing, says court.

"She was one so I said it,” says mum outside primary school

Local Partners

Tributes paid to key player who fought Traveston Dam

A FAMILY synonymous with the Sunshine Coast is mourning the death of a man who played an understated but vital role in saving Mary Valley from the Traveston Dam


Submissions to soon close on 2017 Heart of Gold

CALLING ALL FILMMAKERS: Heart of Gold Artistic Director Emily Avila encourages filmmakers to get their entries in for this year's international short film festival.

Film makers only have weeks left to submit

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.

How many triangles are in this picture?

The simple illustration has been shared thousands of times on Facebook after leaving viewers scratching their heads.

VIDEO: The 'Disco Boob' trend at Splendour

Rachael Millen, of Newcastle, sporting the fashionable chest peace of glitter at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

VIDEO: Festival organisers forced to clarify policy on nudity.

Bieber quit tour to set up his own church?

Justin Bieber on stage during his concert at ANZ Stadium in Homebush.

Bieber is calling it quits on the rest of his Purpose World Tour

Bachelor hopeful ‘didn’t realise how naked she was’

The Bachelor Australia‘s Leah

Her dress was certainly daring, but she wasn't aware by just how much

Phelps shredded over shark race fiasco

"Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White," with Phelps testing his speed against that of a great white shark.

People are genuinely upset at the way the race was run

Film boss marvels at Sunshine State

FOR REVIEW AND PREVIEW PURPOSES ONLY. Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth in a scene from the movie Thor: Ragnarok. Supplied by Marvel.

Thor: Ragnarok success may mean more Marvel movies for Queensland.

ABC's Q&A: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

Opposition Health Minister Catherine King on the Q & A panel, left, and right, Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

But there was one thing the students weren't discussing.

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.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home