Cleaning Belfast Articles
Pack your bags and save the world
For a long time now we've known about the issues with plastic bags and their disposal. Billions of thin plastic bags are handed out in shops and supermarkets every day, and most of them have an hour or twos use only. After that they are put in the bin or even left to blow away in the wind, snagging on trees or bushes. There is very little effort made in the recycling of bags, but at least many supermarkets are trying to push the " bag for life " concept - a sturdy chargeable item that can be used over and over again as your shopping bag. This is helpful but the thin plastic bags are still available. Whilst some bags do biodegrade, they can take anywhere from 20 to 1000 years to disappear. They tend to break into smaller pieces in the shorter term, and these pieces are often eaten by animals, birds and marine life, mistaking the item for something else. As the product is not digestible it can harm the animal, and the animal has died and decayed the plastic is once again free to float on.
Whilst we are currently doing ok with recycling glass and paper we need to improve our act with plastic bags. If they can be disposed of, recycled or even put to better use, surely this would be of help. Would it even be possible to ban plastic bags and move back to much loved paper bags - whatever happened to them. Yes they may be more expensive, but surely the price would be worth it to use a sustainable and more easily recyclable product - a few pence to save the environment?
Recently I've been packing away some valuables and delicate items, usually I would have used newspaper, but as I seem to have amassed a collection of plastic bags, rather than throw them away, I've been packing with them instead. They are perfect for the job, "scrunchable" and perfect for padding when rolled into a ball.
In the short term until better thought out ideas and policies come into place, if we all tried to make secondary uses out of the bags, it's got to be better than taking billions of them from the supermarket to the landfill. Let us know your thoughts on this, and what uses you put your bags to.