What to use instead of plastic bags?

Plastic bags are one of the easiest things to refuse when you start your zero waste journey. In this post, I would like to share several options that I use for my shopping instead of a plastic bag.

It is very easy to spot plastic bag around our living area because it is among the most common items found in the environment and every beach clean-up. It is a cheap plastic material that some of us have a stash of it in one of our drawers. However, do you know that the average time for us to use a plastic bag is 12 minutes?? With its short lifespan, plastic bags can stay in the environment between 15-100 years before it gets degraded (depend on the conditions in its surrounding).

1. Reusable bag

You can use a reusable bag. I usually use my reusable bag made from cotton. Some of you might wonder if canvas bag is more sustainable than a plastic bag. The answer depends on how many times you use it. You will have to use the bag many times (around 100 times) to make it more sustainable than single-use plastic bag. However, I believe that you will do so if you have a reusable bag, right?

2. Cotton bag or kilo bag

When I started zero waste, I find it difficult to say no to the plastic wrapped around the bread and stuff that you buy per kilo. But then I found a solution. My first solution was to use an old pillow case. However, you can also make your own kilo bag with the same fabric as your own pillow case. With a modification such as a strap around the opening, you can have your own reusable bread bag.

Read my story with bakkerij het Stoepje and how do they start to be open with a reusable bread bag.

I use bread bag for many purposes such as, for buying bread and buying a fruit and vegetables that I have to weight. These bags are handy and should be the ‘must have item’ for your zero waste journey! Once you are done with the bag, you can wash it, and it is ready for the next round of shopping.

3. Air tight container

Air tight container or box is very useful when you want to buy things that might leaked out. I usually bought my tofu in this container. As you can see, my container made of plastic. I had this container for 5 years and I kept using it because zero waste is not about buying new cool sustainable items, it is about using your resources to its most potentials.

4. Glass Jar/bottle

Besides reusable container, you can also use a glass jar to buy stuff with liquid. Jars are very handy because they usually airtight, strong, made of glass and you can put hot stuff in it too. I use jars for many purposes. Sometimes for a cup of tea, sometimes for soup that I bought, or just for pickled stuff.

5. Beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps are very useful to replace plastic cling wrapping. It is convenient and washable. It is made of a combination of beeswax and cotton. You can wrap your cheese in it or simply wrapped your bread and pre-cut fruits with it. It has the same function as the regular plastic cling that you had but without any waste as the bonus!

So those are things that you can use instead of plastic bags. I hope that you find the tips useful and I hope you can give a try to change your plastic bags with the options above for your groceries! Good luck and you can comment below if you have any other options and ideas 🙂


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