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Just say ‘No’ to plastic bags

(politely though, a little courtesy never hurt anyone ;-))

Doing a bit of blogsurfing (‘blurfing’??) on Sunday I came across a post on Yinhao’s blog, who was apparently inspired by Nikkiko who asked people to “take a picture of yourself with, something to represent, not using plastic bags?” and then we get a link on her sidebar.

Well, thanks to my wife, I have been severely trained into not using plastic bags; actually I always tried to using them too much, but she would glare at me so much when I came back with even one bag, that I made even more effort :-)

We used to come back from the market with a bag for almost every stall we went to, and sometimes more. But we started to avoid them, and after about six months we had reduced the huge pile of plastic bags we had stored up and now have quite a good system in place. Cloth shopping bags (keep one in the car) and Tupperware for wet stuff.

Plastic bags are really useful, mainly because they are light, waterproof and durable. The problem is, these qualities also make them extremely polluting and damaging to the environment.

A plastic bag will take about 500 years to decompose – so, to get some perspective, if a Portuguese had left a plastic bag in Malacca when they first arrived in 1511 – it would have just decomposed by about now. In Singapore about 2.5 billion plastic shopping bags are used every year, so in Malaysia it must be more – imagine how many will be clogging up the land in 500 years if we carry on at this rate! And even if they are incinerated, what a waste of energy – using energy to burn something that took energy to make…

There are some arguments that paper bags consume more energy to make, transport, etc. (UK government report) but there’s a simple solution to that – reusable bags.
Here is a photo of the results of our trip to the market on Sunday

using Tupperware to put things in takes a little preparation, and sometimes the people don’t understand the point anyway…

I left the tub with the butcher while I got other things, and when I picked it up he had put the chicken in a bag, in the tub… Oh well, that bag will be used for the rubbish.

What can you do?
• Get a reusable bag
• Pressure your local council/government to implement measures to discourage the use of plastic bags, for example – a tax on plastic bags in Ireland in 2002 reduced their use by 90%
Buy reusable bags for others as presents
• If you have to use plastic bags, ask the people in the store to use less bags; and if you’re out shopping – do you really need a different bag from every store you go to?
• Take some bags with you to the supermarket, rather than adding more to that pile of bags you have stuffed into a drawer in the kitchen
• Join Drop The Plastic Bag on Facebook
• Use biodegradable rubbish bags
• Talk about it on your blog! Following Nikkiko’s example, I will put a link for you in the sidebar if you do one post with a photo showing ways to avoid using plastic bags (email me or put a comment below to tell me).
• And there's more things I'm sure, but you get the point :-)

Trackbacks on : RuMe review and giveaway competition! Get a free reusable bag!

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**Sticky post until 13/08/08 - Scroll down for new posts** In a way, it’s a story about blogs – you know how you randomly spot something in PPS or Innit, then click here then there, and end up somewhere you never expected? It all started with a post


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nik on :


anw well done ;P

& thanks for supporting the boycotting of plastic bags xD

cheers ~

julian on :

Actually the poor bird is going to have major problems getting that bag off, if it manages at all... :-(
No problems you're welcome - plastic bags annoy me more and more...

jam on :

You talking about pressurize the local council to discourage the use of plastic bags. I dun think it is practicable because our government really aren't that environmental friendly. They are rather involved themselves in the dog fight with opposition parties.

I did write about the use of plastic bags a couple of weeks back. Here is my link:

synical on :

The only time I refuse plastic bags is only if I'm buying small items and I have my own bag on my person.

Since I don't buy the groceries in the house, I don't have control in that department. But those plastic bags are being used as bin liners, anyway. And we use them faster than we could get them :p

julian on :

jam - True, the government never seems to be too worried about environmental issues. But things do change sometimes eh? (With a little help from the rakyat :-))
YB Elizabeth Wong (who is also a blogger) is strong on environmentalist concerns apparently, which is good for Selangor, hopefully. Dunno where you live though...
Thanks for the link, I'll link it in my 'Bloggers who hate plastic bags' sidebar panel.

synical - Of course sometimes you have to - but you can plan ahead too, I have one reusable bag sitting in my car all the time. They're also more comfortable to carry with heavy shopping and stuff :-)

joshuaongys on :

im still using plastic bags all the time... maybe i have to get married faster aite hahahaha..

julian on :

Changes your life it does... Getting married that is ;-) - though not using plastic also makes a difference!

joshuaongys on :

yea change my life.. hehe good thing i don't go shopping often..

Yvonne Foong on :

I went to eat yau char kuai this morning and brought my own cup of milo along. I asked for a paper to hold those yau char kuai to eat at the spot, refused the plastic bag, and went back with the same paper to get another one. Cool eh?

julian on :

Hi Yvonne, cool! Next time *take a photo*! and then I can link it in my sidebar :-)

Actually, for being dedicated, I'll link you anyway :-) But if you get a specific post about plastic bags tell me OK?

Tiny Tapir on :

Well, I have a blog on reusable bags... actually i have a whole shop full of them ;-)


Anyway, this was a great article, and I'm impressed by your planning fortitude. Commiserations on the people who just don't get it - I have experienced the 'here's a plastic bag to put in your reusable bag' many many times unfortunately..

julian on :

Hey Tiny Tapir, what a nice site you have there! No prizes I'm afraid, but I'll be happy to link you anyway :-)

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