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'Green Bags' Aren't Actually 'Green' At All!

When we go shopping, we have a choice whether to use the supermarkets plastic bags or to use a ‘green’ re-usable bag. If we use a green bag, we feel good for doing the right thing.....but that's only because we don't know the facts.

There have been a lot of stories in the newspapers and on TV to encourage people use green bags. Green bags are better than using endless numbers of plastic bags, but what we seem to have overlooked is that they are ALSO made from plastic, which means they also won't degrade for about the same 500 years. They are actually made from 'polypropylene' a plastic made from fossil fuels which is also used for wheely bins and car bumpers...pretty indestructable stuff!

To make things worse, plastic bag makers were starting to put real effort into making degradable plastic bags.

When things degrade they produce some C02 (greenhouse gas) but much, much more C02 is produced by turning the oil into plastic to make the bags in the first place.

Four times the amount of litter is caused by cigarette butts than by plastic bags in Australia - so why don't we get rid of the dreaded fags (and improve everyone's health at the same time)?

Most plastic is bad for our wildlife. A study of albatross chicks on Midway Island, near Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, found that nine out of 10 birds had plastic rubbish in their gullets (bottom bit of the throat).

It's good that they're re-usable and are less likely to blow into our water systems and they are getting us into the habit of re-using, but shouldn't we be using shopping bags made out of natural fabric? Fabric bags are re-usable, bio-degradable, washable, less harmful to wildlife and doesn't use our precious non-renewable resources (oil and coal) to make them. So next time someone is trying to flog you an 'eco-bag' ... give them the real facts.

What can you do?
*Keep a look out for green bags made of natural cloth and get your parents to buy them instead.
*Ring your local council and ask them to make some available cheaply to residents
*Have fun choosing fabric then take over your mum's sewing machine and make your own!
*Great entertainment value at the supermarket watching the checkout dudes try to pack a floppy eco-bag!

Information from: SMH April 25, 2005, M. Saville &