We're rapt that the the NZ government has decided to ban plastic bags. Of course some people might not be so happy, relying on plastic bags for many uses. One use that is very popular is for lining our rubbish bins. Can we do without them for this purpose? Is there an alternative to using a plastic bag to line our rubbish bins?
I've been cutting back on our plastic use for a few years now and this year I'm making a real concentrated effort to eliminate any plastic that can be replaced with something more sustainable. Going completely plastic free may be unattainable but I'll just do the best I can to get as close as I can.
One thing I struggled with for years is the idea of not putting a plastic bag in my rubbish bins as a liner. The thought of no liners and having to scrub my bins out put me right off. So I've just carried on using kitchen liners in my big kitchen bin and supermarket plastic bags in my other bins, but not been feeling good about it.
As time went on and got into the habit of taking my own reusable cloth bags to the supermarket (every time I went) we had less plastic bags in the house so I ended up with none to put in the bins. I had to slowly stop using liners in my bins, except I did carry on with bin liners for the kitchen bin. I first started with the bedroom and computer desk bins, they mostly only had paper in them anyway. Then I took the bold step of not using liners in the bathroom and toilet and you know it wasn't that bad. I'm a waste freak and go through the bins and separate out paper, soft plastics recycling, and other recycling from the rubbish anyway. I hardly ever have to clean out those bins they stay really clean.
Now the kitchen rubbish bin was a different story! What was I going to do with that! I hated that I was still using plastic and that took me to the even bolder step of using a newspaper liner. Below is a video to show you how to make them, I actually get the kids to make it for me each time I empty the bin. I only empty the bin once a week now and it is mostly only 1/4 - 1/2 full at the end of a week. I can't believe that the newspaper liner holds everything and doesn't break, it's perfect! Honestly, give it a go, what's the harm in trying!
The key has been that I have been cutting back waste for a while know, we put out 1 paper rubbish sack at the gate once every 4-6 weeks at the moment. I'm finding our rubbish bins don't really have much messy stuff in them any more anyway, which really helps.
Tips For Making Sure Your Rubbish Isn't Wet or Smelly for a Newspaper Liner
- No food scraps go in the bins. We use a worm farm, compost and have chickens and sheep that love our scraps. Anything they can't deal with gets buried in the garden to decompose (not sure if this is good or bad but my rubbish bin doesn't smell).
- All soft plastics such as bread bags, chip packets, cat food bags, goes to the supermarket soft plastic recycling bin. Just make sure they are washed and dried first so they can be used or they will end up going to the landfill. If you buy meat in plastic this can be washed, dried and put in recycling too. I buy my meat from my local butcher and take reusable containers for them to fill.
- Swapping to a moon cup has been a huge waste mimimiser! You could try that or reusable pads or something similar to cut out sanitary wastage. I love that I now have no wastage there!
- If you have nappies in the house look at washable options, there are some great options out there now. Also don't use baby wipes, try buying some cloths especially for this and wash and reuse them (I used to use small Chux cloths).
- Use cloth napkins instead of serviettes and paper towels (I bought a whole lot 2nd hand) and reusable cloth pads instead of facial pads.