Easy Ways to Reduce the Amount of Plastic in Landfill

There is no argument that plastic bags have revolutionised the packaging industry, and made life easier for consumers and suppliers alike. So popular did they become that they proliferated in their hundreds of millions until the general public became aware of their devastating effect on the environment. Indiscriminate disposal of plastic bags caused them to clog our waterways and kill marine life, and when used to contain the millions of tonnes of waste humans generate every year, they ended up in landfill where they can take hundreds of years to break down and be absorbed by the earth.

Since becoming aware of these serious issues, environmentalists and earth scientists have worked to minimise the effect of plastic bags and reduce their carbon footprint. Much research is taking place and it is quite likely that future generations will find a solution, while still using plastic and enjoying its excellent features. In the meantime, we all can do our part as individuals to reduce the number of bags in circulation, by recycling them as much as possible.

There are as many ways to do this as there are ideas in the minds of humans, some much more obvious and commonplace than others. For example, instead of buying purpose-designed plastic garbage bin liners, other plastic bags, such as those supplied by clothing shops could be used. While they may not fit the bin exactly, as long as they contain the household refuse and can be tied at the top to seal in the contents, they do the job. It is this type of thinking that can extend the life of any plastic bag, and keep it out of landfill for as long as possible.

Conscientious consumers who take their own supply of plastic bags when shopping may look a little strange at first, handing them over to retail assistants when they make a purchase, but a quick explanation may result in another convert to the recycling cause. If the inside of the carry on bags are clean, there is no reason why a DVD, some books, a pair of shoes or any other consumer item, for that matter, can’t be dropped in there after purchase, saving the retail outlet from supplying another plastic bag.

Thick wads of supermarket plastic bags are suitable for use as packing material. For unwanted items being prepared for storage, or when packing household items into boxes in preparation for moving from one residence to the other, placing a layer of old plastic bags between breakable items, or just as a cushion to break any shock or fall, is every bit as effective as newspaper or polystyrene.

By using our plastic bags as many times as possible before they tear or break, we are each doing our part in reducing the number of bags in circulation. Eventually science will find a plastic that will break down quickly but until then, the recycling possibilities are only limited by our imagination.