How Many Reusable Plastic Bags Have You Bought?

A bit over a year since the shopping market stop giving single use bags.

Wondering how effective is this to the environment as opposed to their revenue.

I myself have used over 100 reusable bags, many because I forgot to bring one, and many because they break after 3 or 4 times, and many because we are out of bin liners.

How many have you spend?

Poll Options

  • 180
    More than 100
  • 36
    Between 51 and 100
  • 34
    Between 31 and 50
  • 125
    Between 10 to 30
  • 332
    Less than 10

Comments

  • +44 votes

    i just roll the trolley back to the car and make the kids hold on to the groceries in their car seats for the 10 minute drive home… they hate holding the ice cream in winter

  • +20 votes

    I'll be honest and say that I get a new one (or two) every single time.
    I only decide whether I need to buy stuff or not during my walk home from work. I have enough shit in my pockets and I refuse to carry plastic bags in my pockets or whatever just in case.

    Every single one that I've brought home has then been reused as a rubbish bag.

    It's really no different from before, except these bags are thicker and I need to pay $0.15 for them (the cost of which I don't care). If I didnt buy these bags, I'd then need to buy separate garbage bags anyway.

    • +43 votes

      The thicker bags cost more to environment and cost more to landfill. So you have done worse to environment, which is why I am creating this thread.

      I am also costing more to environment, as I also still need bin liners and bought the cheapest kind.

      I am not resistant to this change. No, I am not. I am critical to how the change is made, why not introduce a composable bags, or paper bags?

      All because their greed to earn more money using environment as an excuse.

      The banks also did the same thing when they reduce paper statements. All for 'good' cause.

      • +33 votes

        The banks also did the same thing when they reduce paper statements. All for 'good' cause.

        Except that's a win for everyone; the bank saves money not having to print statements (and gains money from people unable to adapt to change), AusPost wastes less time delivering letters and I get less clutter in my mailbox (and an easily search able archive of statements).

        •  

          On the front of the envelope for a Credit Card Statement, Westpac prints this message -

          Did you know?
          74%* of customers who experienced identity theft received paper statements.
          Keep your statements safe with eStatements.

          Not sure if this is to help customers or would be mail thieves.

      • +10 votes

        One person doing worse doesn't make a difference when 80% of people are doing better. No one needs as many bin liners as they need shopping bags, unless your groceries INCREASE in volume as you use them.

        This is a change costing supermarkets money due to reduced spending. They fought it hard.

        Paper statements saved them money, this isn't anything like that. You don't buy more if you get a paper statement, as evidenced by multiple people here, they buy less if they don't have bags with them!

        • -5 votes

          "This is a change costing supermarkets money due to reduced spending."

          Then why did Woolworths profit "soars 56 per cent to $2.7 billion" over the same period?

          https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/woolworths-s...

          You fell for a marketing trick, its green-washing. They now make a nice profit from the plastic bags for zero environmental benefit.

          • +10 votes

            @field1985: You think that they saved more than a billion dollars in 1c plastic bags? Seriously? Or do you think people bought more other goods as a result of not having free plastic bags?

            Anyway from the article you linked, which you seem not to have read:

            Chief executive Brad Banducci said Woolworths had managed to turnaround a weak result in the first half of the financial year when its results were rocked by the controversy surrounding the removal of single-use plastic bags, volatile weather and the success of Coles’ Little Shop campaign.

            This ascendancy over its rival appears to have continued in the first eight weeks of FY20 thanks to the success of its own Ooshies collectables promotion, with comparable sales growth lifting to 7.5 per cent across its 1000-plus network of supermarkets.

            So they stopped giving out free plastic, their results tanked, and they started giving out free plastic and their results turned around!!!

            • -4 votes

              @jkart: I read the article, but I don't believe "Chief executive Brad Banducci" for a second.

              Especially in light of todays news of $300,000,000 in wage theft by his organisation.

              https://www.afr.com/companies/retail/woolworths-underpayment...

              • +3 votes

                @field1985: If you don't believe him, why did you link to the article? Maybe the 'profit soars' has more to do with the wage theft and the sale of assets?

                Think of the poor person that introduced giving away free plastic bags, it was such a terribly unprofitable idea that no one else copied them and they were absolutely forced to keep leaving money on the table by continuing to give them away for free due to that really strict law that forced them to….

        • +1 vote

          I use more bin liners than I get in shopping, easily.

          • +2 votes

            @upsidedownlemon: Get in shopping or got in shopping?

            Your waste has more volume than your groceries? You're producing waste from scratch? Or you just don't get new bags every shop?

            • +2 votes

              @jkart: I have a fair bit of junk that I’m slowly going through, and getting rid of it. Plus all my purchases online brings in quite a bit of rubbish.

              In fact, my waste from my groceries would fill a 15c bag every 2ish months I would guess.

      • -2 votes

        This has nothing to do with the environment. It is a profit making exercise for Colesworthless.

        The bags would cost maybe 1.5c to produce, but they charge 15c making at least 10x profit.

        Customers think they are doing something, when in fact its worse then nothing, they now pay to do more environmental damage (heavier plastic bags) then they previously did with lightweight bags that used 80-90% less plastic.

        The stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me…

        • +2 votes

          Do you think those calico bags would have been better? I have an IGA one and much prefer it over the reusable plastic ones, it's tougher and lasts longer. Would cost more but I don't think people would like to use them as bin liners and being made of cotton, would be better for the environment too?

          • +1 vote

            @snackerjoe: Cotton uses a bunch of water and energy to make compared with plastic, but when it finally degrades enough you stop using it, it's going to eventually degrade safely in landfill. If you used a new one each time you'd be doing a different kind of environmental impact.

            • +1 vote

              @jkart: I doubt that people would buy as many cotton bags as the plastic bags. The cotton ones surely costs a lot more n hence people look after and keep them.

              I agree with snackerjoe, this would have been a better outcome than selling 15c plastic.

              • +1 vote

                @Bimo: Yeah, it would have been better, there's been a heap of articles pointing out the energy costs of the cotton bags though, just heading that argument off in advance.

                It's bizarre the people who have the most problem with the plastic bag change seem to be the ones who insist on actually buying the 15c ones, and as many as they can!

                Meanwhile it cost me $20 nearly a decade ago from eBay to have bags that are WAY more comfortable to hold and haven't split open on me from being over packed like the old ones used to sometimes! I've not given a cent to a supermarket for plastic.

        • +2 votes

          The stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me…

          The previous plastic bags used about 2/3 less plastic, but the ban has seen an 80% drop in bag consumption nationwide. Heavier plastic also doesn't mean more environmental damage either, the lighter ones did more damage due to their weight and propensity to end up blowing further and so being less likely to make it to landfill rather than water. Less is better, even if they did use more plastic, which overall, they don't!

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-03/supermarket-ban-sees-...

          In any case, there's no reason anyone needs to give even a cent to the supermarkets, I've never paid them a cent for a bag and no one has to either!

          • +2 votes

            @jkart: Is that 80% includes the bin liners and other kinds of plastic bags? Link please.

            While you are correct, the amount that comes out as shopping bags may be reduced 80%, but not the amount of bags that end up in the landfill.

            • +1 vote

              @Bimo: Even if you do use a bin liner, which you don't have to, one large bin bag is way less plastic than the same volume capacity of the single use bags, and even when single use bags were free, no one used more than a small fraction of them as bin bags, because the volume of waste is always going to be less than the volume of groceries.

              There's a heap of wiggle room between 80% and 0%. If you think it's 0% then you have view that isn't going to be altered by any facts.

              Bin liners are pretty cheap, because they're a large volume they're much more space efficient, you're wasting money if you're buying the 15c bags to use as bin liners, because that's an expensive way to do it. If you want to not forget other bags, keep extras in your car, and put a spare or two in your work bag. After a while of forming the habit you're no more likely to forget them than your wallet or phone.

        • +1 vote

          The bags would cost maybe 1.5c to produce, but they charge 15c making at least 10x profit.

          And this is supposed to encourage people to keep using them for shopping and not for lining their bin. Obviously old habits die hard and 15c isn't enough to dissuade them.

      •  

        The thicker bags cost more to environment and cost more to landfill. So you have done worse to environment, which is why I am creating this thread.

        I know that. Woolies doesn't really care either. The truth is, they've come up with strategy to pretend to please the tree huggers and make more profit.

        They're not giving me much choice.

      • +1 vote

        My take on the whole situation is that nothing was done to encourage a change in consumer behaviour and thinking.

        I don't remember the exact stat, but it was something like a reusable bag needs to be reused 100-odd times to offset its impact on the environment. Ironically, the single use ones seem to be 'frindlier' to the environment when consumers haven't formed a habit of reuse.

        A few years back I lived in a city where it was the norm to charge 5-10c for a single use bag. They were always there if you needed them, but it made you conscious of the fact that a reusable bag was not only good for the environment, but would save you from buying a bag that you're using for all of maybe 5 mins from the shop to the car, then into your house.

        IMO this is a way better approach than 'plastic bags are bad, your options are now preparedness, or screw the environment more'.

        If big business actually cared, there'd be more focus on effectively changing behaviour. But that doesn't correlate to a direct ROI, and you'll never find an executive who will buy into an initiative just because it's feelgood

      • +1 vote

        Woolies fruit and veg bags are free, and they're the right size for small bins.

      • +1 vote

        I have heard these bags are also not made in Australia.

    •  

      Same here - I don't think I have ever actually re-used one of these bags other than as a bin liner.

    • +2 votes

      I only decide whether I need to buy stuff or not during my walk home from work. I have enough shit in my pockets and I refuse to carry plastic bags in my pockets or whatever just in case.

      You don't have a backpack or other bag for your work gear? I just leave a 15c shopping bag in my work bag (which is itself a heavy-duty shopping bag - bag-ception!).

      • +2 votes

        You don't have a backpack or other bag for your work gear?

        I carry nothing in my hands to work. 99% of the time, my laptop stays in the office.

  • +4 votes

    Easily over 100.

    All in my garage. Which I forget to put in my car. Which leads me to buy more bags when I go shopping and realise I've forgotten them.

    • +14 votes

      How do they end up in your garage? Can't you just keep them in the car? Mine only end up in my car or in the kitchen.

      • +1 vote

        Can't fit the car in my puny garage. Bags bring in groceries to the kitchen. Bags get tossed near front door. They eventually migrate to the "big" bag in the garage. Sometimes they make it to the car. Usually they don't.

        • +2 votes

          I just have 2-3x as many as I need. If I forget them, I have a couple more tries before I run out. By which time I'm tripping over bags because I don't put them anywhere out of the way other than next to the door I have to leave through….

  • +18 votes

    0 reusable plastic bag - the handles are crappy, and they’re plastic, thicker too 🙄
    2 reusable bags - the fabric, 99c, free to replace if broken, from woolies. Never had to replace. Now that I think about it they’re 14 months strong, I’m shook.

    • +17 votes

      Yes. I would never use the plastic ones. I bring my canvas bags, bring my canvas bags, bring my canvas bags to the supermarket.

    • +2 votes

      I've never bought the plastic ones either. I have about 15 of the fabric bags split between 2 cars. I think I only bought 4 of them. The rest were freebies. eg. council, trade shows, etc. etc.

      As I'm typing this, I realise I have quite a bit of those bags. I have also come to realise that I've been using them since I moved from Canberra so it's 10 years worth of freebie bags.

    • +3 votes

      So-called "green bags" / Woolworths Bag for good™, which have been available in supermarkets now for a number of years, are a heavy-duty, non-woven polypropylene (NOT fabric).

      The production of polypropylene bags created about 11 times the "global warming potential" of single-use bags. So you have to use your green bags 11 times to break-even from an emissions perspective.

      The drawback to the green bags though is they can break down into microplastics if they find their way into the environment and cause the same issues as their lightweight cousins.

      • +5 votes

        I have so far used mine approximately 87 times each, and I have 5-10x more than I need. I expect I'll have used them many hundreds of times before they start breaking down.

        The problem with the light weight ones is they blow around easier, they're much more likely to end up in rivers and interfering with wildlife. The heavier bags will much more likely end up in landfill, which isn't great, but it's still better.

    • +1 vote

      Same. Have been using those canvas/fabric ones for 10 years I'd guess.

      Have some that say "Safeway" they are that old.

      Still going strong, have one in the boot of my car, the Mrs has one or two and the rest are at home for the weekly shop.

      Why would anyone want to continuely buy bags?

    • +1 vote

      What do you mean free to replace if broken?
      How do I get this bargain?
      How have I not heard of it?!

      •  

        Isn't it shown everywhere in-store? Also on the bag? Where have you been 🤣

        https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/discover/reusable-bags
        It’s yours to use again and again, and if it ever gets damaged, we’ll replace it for free no matter when you bought it from us. Simply bring your damaged bag to the Customer Service desk in any of our stores and we’ll swap it for a new one. We’ll even recycle your old one so it can keep doing good.

        •  

          Yep, I have done this once. I had to inform them about it though.. they had no idea hah.

  • +11 votes

    None, I collected the max every time when they were free and also have a stock the old ones.still.

    • +2 votes

      Watch out, they eventually disintegrate into thousands of small pieces and are a huge pain in the ass to clean up when the do.

    • +1 vote

      My mate walked out with an entire box of them when they were free and didn't get a single question asked.

      Just out of curiosity - what was the "max" every time?

  • +4 votes

    I'm not sure how many I've bought … not many because I basically refuse to buy them unless I'm really in a pickle.

    What I've certainly done though is not go to shop/bought less if I don't have a bag handy. I'm sure my annual spend at the supermarket has decreased.

    • +3 votes

      What I've certainly done though is not go to shop/bought less if I don't have a bag handy. I'm sure my annual spend at the supermarket has decreased.

      Exactly, people who think this is some sort of profit driven conspiracy are insane. If plastic bags cost the supermarket twice as much and they could give them out for free tomorrow they would!

      • +1 vote

        In NSW, there is no law prohibiting the free issuance of these bags, yet they continue to charge for them.

        • +2 votes

          The issue was that the writing was on the wall, all the states are moving to ban them, and for supermarkets it was an expensive advertising exercise to try and prompt customers to bring their own bags so their profits didn't get hit too hard. Spending on a campaign in other states just to have to do one in NSW a year later would have cost much more.

          NSW is the only hold out (with the upper house already passed a bill to ban them and attempts at it for the last 3 years!), with so much interstate travel, it was cheaper for them to take the hit all at once rather than have to go state by state.

      •  

        How much more do (recycled) paper bags cost? Or bags made from other plant fibres like bamboo? Why can't I just return a bulk of bags and get a refund?

  • +20 votes

    been using reuseable bags for more than a decade, even before they were banned in SA.
    NEVER buy plastic bags
    .

    • +5 votes

      This discussion must feel like you are stepping back in time.

      • +22 votes

        it's hard to understand the resistance to reusing bags
        it's probably been closer to 20 years
        .

        • +17 votes

          I find the resistance even more hard to understand on a forum like this. People that will go out of their way and spend huge amounts of time to save a dollar or two but it is too much effort to get some sturdy reusable bags and consistently take them to the supermarket with them.

      • +4 votes

        Which must be an odd feeling for someone from SA.

  • +14 votes

    only about 2 bags since the scheme started.

    I have a few of the "green bags" that I keep in the car.

    I keep a couple of re-usables in my back pack in case I need to go shopping on the walk home from the station. These last for dozens of uses.

    I produce so little landfill waste that I use the plastic bread bags for that. Most of the waste I have is either recyclable or goes in the worm farm.

    •  

      I guess you must have not used the single use bags before either?

      • +8 votes

        No, I was onto single use like a fat kid on cake. I just changed my habits as I ran out of the single use stuff.

        I think forgetting bags and loading $100 of groceries loose in the car and then having to re-bag them when I got home and then finding stray groceries a week or two later is an excellent rehabilitation tool.

    •  

      Ey nice. I gotta start a worm farm :D

      •  

        I've owned or set-up a few.

        If you have the room the Worm Cafe is the best I've had so far (got it off council cleanup and fixed the leg). They are ~$80 at Bunnings IIRC

        My vegetarian GF has two of the old style Compost Revolution units and they barely keep up but she cooks a lot, therefore lots of trimmings.

        I've just set up the latest Compost Revolution unit and it looks very small but ideal for apartment dwellers.

  • +4 votes

    I've doubled the amount of plastic garbage bags I'm buying now.

    I'm glad the environment has been saved though.

    • +1 vote

      Are you recycling properly? Composting? Our household probably generates two of the old grey plastic bags of waste per week.

      • +7 votes

        Are you recycling properly?

        I was re-using shopping bags as rubbish bins which is recycling! But now I have to buy brand new ones from the shop instead. Environment saved!

        • +1 vote

          using shopping bags as rubbish bins which is recycling

          Nope, that's sending them to landfill, the opposite of recycling. Per wikipedia: "Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects."

          But now I have to buy brand new ones from the shop instead.

          Have to? I've never bought a bin bag, no-one's arrested me yet. We put a few days worth of rubbish into a used bread or chip bag…

          • +3 votes

            @abb: That does not work in a large family household. That is also reliant on you buying bread and chips.

            •  

              @Blitzfx:

              That does not work in a large family household.

              It depends on your purchasing/consumption/waste patterns, sure. If we could compost we'd probably last a fortnight on a chip packet as a rubbish bin. Most of our rubbish is recycled put in recycling bins.

              That is also reliant on you buying bread and chips.

              Or literally anything that comes in some kind of packaging? There's an awful lot in most houses.

              If all you buy is fresh veggies from farmers markets, then you're already doing pretty well in terms of waste reduction. But you might look into a compost bin instead of a chip bag ;)

            •  

              @Blitzfx: Having run a large family household I would disagree. It's not hard to reduce your waste down to about 20L per week.

              I look in a lot of bins and I'd estimate that 70% of households don't recycle properly.

          • +2 votes

            @abb: Do you have toddlers?

  •  

    I don't use the 15c bag. I do have Hawthorn insulated bag which I bought simply because I like the looks and the insulation is a plus (but largely half effective) which I have been using but otherwise, I just simply buy little or Costco for bulk stuff.

    Managed to stash lots of old plastic bags enough to last 2 years for use as liners accumulated over 1 year and the ones 15c I got at the moment were free when they introduced them so didn't buy them and I still have them as last resorts once my old plastic bags are all used up.

    I just have to be smarter in waste management so I deplete the plastics slowly. Unhygienic unfortunately in some cases but no choice.

    So far the impact to my wallet was less than $1 for 2019 and that was because I didn't realize Kmart started it without notice. Target is a dead town now as do Big W. Retail self-inflicted pain obviously. Only Woolies and Coles are insulated largely because they are really duopoly.

    Well done Victoria…

    • +6 votes

      The ban on plastic bags is Marxist social engineering

      The "ban" on plastic bags is an opportunistic move by profit driven corporations.

      •  

        A win for the shareholders, then!

        They're the communists of every business if they all get a share of the profits, no?

      • +1 vote

        People buy less stuff, it's a major kick in the teeth for corporations. That's why they fought it until the bitter end.

        • +1 vote

          The opportunity was not so much making 15c per bag as it was green-washing to appease scrutiny and appear socially responsible.

          Who did they fight?

  • +3 votes

    In my local area the occasional thin grey plastic bag is now replace with broken/ripped white and red Coles thicker plastic bags. The amount of abandoned Coles and Woolworths trolleys in the streets, parks and Riverside has at least doubled. The mind boggles, is this really working?

    • -1 vote

      I don't think it does. But what can we do to change this? Petition?

      • +3 votes

        This is the result of previous petitions.

      •  

        Petition to what? Doesn't matter if it isn't working as well as expected, there is no doubt it's still better than before. If there is one thing to petition then it would be to make the re-usable plastic bags and bin liner bags all bio-degradable/recyclable.

        • +1 vote

          no doubt it's still better than before

          From all the comments I gathered so far, only 1 or two genuinely use fewer plastic bags than before. That means they didn't buy more reusable bags, and use green composable bin liners.

          I am not too happy that the supermarket getting all the credit that they have done great for environment but actually they have done worse and earn money from it. Are you?

          • +1 vote

            @Bimo: There's a lot of love for plastic in this forum, it's not representative, go and sit outside a supermarket and see what people come out with. There's barely a plastic bag in sight.

          •  

            @Bimo: You are spot on. People are sheep. This was a for-profit change that increased the amount of garbage. The mind boggles at peoples gullibility and trust in major corporations.

            • +1 vote

              @field1985: Corporations are money making machines, no one trusts them at all. You want to stop their nasty plastic profit, campaign to ban the 15c bags! And their real profit driver, the little shop things!

          • +3 votes

            @Bimo:

            From all the comments I gathered so far, only 1 or two genuinely use fewer plastic bags than before.

            That's not what the poll results are showing. Right now the largest group is the 0-10 category at 47%, and the second largest category is the 100+ at 25%. So there really are two distinct groups, those that have changed their behaviour and those that have not. Interesting to me is the third largest group which is 10-30 bags which is at 17%. Assuming they shop at least weekly, they would seem to be re-using bags some of the time. Possibly this is due to an attempt to change behaviour, combined with forgetfullness. It would be interesting to do this poll in another year's time to see if the responses change.

            I am not too happy that the supermarket getting all the credit …

            The single use bags were banned by four state governments as well as in ACT and NT. There seems to be a lot of ignorance about this. The Victorian ban comes into effect tomorrow.

    •  

      There are certain local streets near Woolworths/Coles that are always littered with abandoned trolleys. I think it correlates with council housing, people don't have car so they just take the trolley home and leave it on the nature strip.

    •  

      uhh, I'd say that's a problem with the people, not the policy.
      It's like blaming straws for the littler problem when it's just lazy people not binning them properly in the first place.

  • +4 votes

    I used to always forget and end up buying them, but now keep a lot of the fabric ones in the car.
    It is just a case of getting used to it and changing habits, now I don't even think about it.

  •  

    I think I'm not too bad.
    Mostly remember to bring the bags to supermarket.
    On rare occasion, I have to buy one.

    But before, I use the single use plastic bag as a bin liner for the small bins.
    Now I buy small bin liners which are much more thicker.
    It's hard to quantify if in the end, it's better or worse for the environment.

  • +8 votes

    before they banned the plastic bags, i took bundles of them at a time. have about a stack a half metre high. great bin liners

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