During the past year several retail chains have begun charging a small price for plastic bags. Some more progressive shops have even stopped selling them altogether. Those people who are totally tired of the all too widespread plastic consumption spent a plastic-free March last Spring. To completely avoid plastic is, however, surprisingly difficult considering the way we live today. And we also use high-quality items where plastic is, so to speak, in its right place and endures decades of use: think of those design lamps or furniture.
Still, with a very small effort we could achieve a lot specifically in avoiding plastic trash. We’ve read good tip show to manage at the greens section without the little plastic baggies: some people always carry paper bags that they re-use over and over again, others have purpose-sewn baggies made of suitable fabrics. One could avoid plastic-bag annoyance at the checkout simply by always carrying a handy, foldable shopper or two.
In Finland the waste management practices are highly developed – since the beginning of year 2017 recycling also post-consumer plastic packaging has become possible. Therefore, in our own immediate environment the plastic trash problem isn’t as terribly visible as in the world’s oceans. An integral part of the plastics problem is that the amount of plastic that ends up in nature is impossible to measure – and therefore, environmental impact life cycle calculations do not include this trashing effect at all. Did you know, for example, that in environmental comparisons of shopping bags plastic bags are calculated as ‘recycled’ even if they mostly end up incinerated for energy as trash bags? As reported in Finnish media earlier this year the most ecological trash bag of all actually is plastic; but it is the thin kind, bought in a roll, and in the best case it is made of recycled material.