In recent months... nearly a year now, in fact... those plastic bags with handles that are given out with purchases at any number of stores have been banned in South Australia. This has been interesting, and I have been considering this today.
While travelling to Pt Augusta to put my coreflutes up, I wasn't thinking about any kind of conservation or environmental issues... just the election advertising (which I dislike.) Anyay, I needed to "sleep over" in Pt Augusta, and, not having brought any food, I needed to do a tiny shopping trip. I had coffee (I never go anywhere without that) and water, but I did need a few odds and ends for dinner and breakfast... not a problem, but I didn't have a shopping bag! I went into the servo next to the camp ground where I slept over, and I had to manage everything that I bought without a shopping bag... these bags are no longer available. I was really pleased. While it meant poking some cheese and fruit into the bread packaging (came with the loaf) this is very much like "back to the future" for me... there were no such "free" plastic shopping bags around when I was young.
This afternoon, while preparing dinner, I used the last of some rice that was packed into a plastic bag as it had travelled from Pakistan (don't think about the food miles.) The bag was very ordinary, and had protected the rice for some time no doubt. As I emptied the rice into my saucepan to cook, I was holding an empty intact plastic bag... and I couldn't throw it away... I have always kept 'bread bags" or the grocery store bags, but this is different. I folded it neatly and put it in my "bag drawer." The other day I found myself washing a plastic bag (I hung it on the clothes line to dry) because it was intact.
Surely this is a part of the change that we need to make. The mere fact that plastic bags are no longer available freely (or at all) from grocery stores has changed my attitude to these omnipresent items...
I am usually relatively conscious of these issues, but until the plastic bags have become unavailable, I hadn't resorted to washing and drying them.
I really think that this is worth thinking about.... I think we (wealthy modern people) are beginning to join the rest of the world in valuing our scarce resources... or at least I hope so.