Q: Will I still be able to get single-use plastic bags from shops in Manly?

A: More and more businesses in Manly are making the choice to stop supplying customers with single use plastic bags, which is fantastic news.  These businesses will have alternative solutions available to customers who forget to bring their own bag with them.


Q: How does this affect shops other than supermarkets and produce stores?

A: While our focus is on single use plastic bags, by bringing your reusable bag with you when you are out and about, you can stop waste everywhere you go.  At the takeaway shop you can say no to a single use plastic bag; at the newsagent you can say no to a paper bag; at the surf shop you can say no to a heavy plastic or paper bag.  We are working with all of these local businesses to support their customers in making better choices for our Manly.


Q: What if I forget to bring my bags with me to the shops?

A: If you forget to bring your bags with you when you shop, ask the shop staff if they have a bag share service in the store or nearby, which will enable you to borrow a reusable bag.  If not, the staff will provide you with their available alternatives to ensure you have something to take your purchased goodies home in.   


Q: What about plastic bags for my fruit and vegetables?

A: "Barrier bags", or handle-less plastic bags are available in the fruit and vegetable section of your supermarket or produce store, however there are ways to avoid these too.  Apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes etc can go straight into your trolley, and for small items like snowpeas, beans, nuts, etc you could use the paper bags provided for mushrooms.  Better still, buy your own reusable produce bags and bring them with you too!


Q: What about plastic bags for fresh meat products?

A: If you are worried about leakage from your meat products, it is worth having designated bags that you use only for meat and wash as needed.  If you are buying meat at a butcher, consider bringing your own container for the butcher to put the meat directly into. 


Q: What is the bag share scheme?

A: We are working toward establishing a bag-share scheme in several convenient locations in central Manly.  This would provide another option for when you pop into the shops and find yourself bagless.  Bag Share Boxes let you borrow a bag, do your shopping and take it home.  Next time you come into town, just bring the bag back (ensure it is clean) and return it to the Bag Share Box.


Q: I use my plastic bags as bin liners.  What should I use instead?

A: Most kitchen waste bins have their own internal removable waste ‘bucket’, which doesn’t really need to be lined with a plastic bag.  When the internal ‘bucket’ is full, just take it out and tip the waste into your green wheelie bin.  Give the bucket a quick hose out and tip the water on the garden.  Lining the bin with waste newspaper will also help. 

If you want to continue using plastic bags to line your bins, try to keep your bin waste to a minimum by recycling where possible, and disposing of your food waste in a backyard compost, worm farm or bokashi.


Q: What’s wrong with using single use plastic bags if I recycle them?

A: Recycling plastic isn’t nearly as efficient as just not producing it in the first place.  It’s great that you recycle your plastic bags, but the 25 minutes useful life of a plastic bag just doesn’t warrant the amount of resources, energy, and pollution that goes into producing it, and then recycling it.  It’s worth the effort to bring your own reusable bags.  Recycling is good for when you forget.


Q: I already have my own bags, but how can I remember to bring them with me?

A: Ok, you’re motivated, but it’s just not coming together for you.  Remembering to bring your bags is just a new habit you need to establish.  Once you crack it, you’ll rarely leave home without them.  Here are a few tips to help you build the habit:

1)   Put a stack of reusable shopping bags in your car

2)   Put an “emergency bag” (one of those compact, folding pouch bags) in your handbag/backpack/glovebox/bike basket/briefcase

3)   Stick a reminder note on your steering wheel so you take the bags into the supermarket

4)   Put a reminder in your phone set for every morning before you leave the house to check that you’ve got a bag(s) with you.

The more you think about it, the sooner you’ll pick up the habit and then you’ll never look back!