CLIMATE change and habitat destruction are bringing heartbreaking losses. One of these is the plastic bin liner.
With Coles and Woolworths promising to phase out free disposable shopping bags this year, the go-to way of marshalling kitchen rubbish is under threat.
While I’m still guilty of collecting a few plastic shopping bags, I have at least begun practicing for life after their extinction by not lining my kitchen bin. With anything at all.
Filthy? No! Now that we have our kitchen-based compost containers for anything damp or organic, from potato peelings to chop bones, the bulk of the “manky” stuff is already spoken for. All that’s left for the “landfill” bin is the odds and sods that can’t be recycled or sent to compost.
If a thing is a bit disgusting – non-recyclable packaging with foodstuff clinging to it – it can be given a quick rinse before going into the bin. The bin stays pretty clean this way, ready to be carried out to the landfill wheelie.
So I’m here to tell you that life after bin liners is eminently possible. The grief will quickly pass and the inconvenience is minimal.
But what about the bits of cling wrap taken from foodstuffs in the fridge? Even those can get a quick rinse before disposal.
But there are now alternatives to cling wrap. For example, there are translucent stretchy silicone food covers available to cover leftovers. Or just clipping leftovers into reusable plastic containers.
Or a low-tech option is beeswax-infused fabric that wraps around food. It’s not see-through, so you need to remember what’s in there or have a peek, but the pay-off in a sense of virtue is immense.
Last night I watched a documentary called Minimalism (2016). An interviewee remarked that we seem to be a materialistic society but in fact we are not materialist enough. We are too blasé about material things, throwing them away willy-nilly. If we truly valued the material that goes into things – from clothing to packaging to the houses we live in – we would be much more conscious of the complete life cycle of the things we use.
What goes into that scrap of cling wrap? So much material transformation, so much energy, so much transportation. And we barely pay attention.