Lesley Rickard

Life & Leadership Coach, New Life Coaching

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Which is better? Use my own shopping bags and buy bin liners or use the supermarket carrier bags and reuse them as bin liners?

It would be good to do the right thing by the environment but there are many alternatives for any daily action. Is buying a 'green' shopping bag a 'good thing'? Is using lots of water to wash bins out better than lining the bin with a plastic bag? How do you decide? I recently started buying 15l bottles of water and spent time literally weighing the plastic to compare it with 330ml bottles. A huge saving in plastic except you can't reuse the big one! So how do we make the right decisions for the environment in our homes?

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    Lejan .

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    Jul 31 2012: Hello Lesley,

    in my view this is just a matter of weight. Whatever is more light will consequently use up less resources, assuming that the materials are the same and also the energy used in production.

    The bin liners I use are less heavy than the average carrier bag I get at the supermarket, yet durable enough to have them filled completely.

    Therefore I have my own shopping bag which usually sits at home the moment I need it. But this is just my stupidity and not the bag's fault... ;o)
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    Aug 1 2012: Can't wait til the silk revolution hits,we can throw away without worrying.One day hopefully soon.
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    Aug 1 2012: Hi Lesley.
    Like you we reuse them as bin liners. We also put coal in them for my mother in law to put on her fire. She is very stiff & this is a clean way of coping on her own. We also have a couple of re-usables and bottle bags.
    It is good to do our bit, but I wouldn't go OTT, as we are only told what those further up want us to hear. We used to get milks delivered in re-usable glass bottles which were processed locally. Now we go to the supermarket & buy it in plastic bottles, transported from goodness knows where.
    We as consumers can do very little. Have you seen the size of the lorries that pick up paper etc ?

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    Aug 1 2012: Thanks guys.
    A follow-up question: Is there any green group out there that has done the maths?
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      Aug 1 2012: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/GFN/
      This might be what you're looking for?

      Personally - the thing that really gave me the eco-tools I needed was 'permaculture' - if u can spare a week of your time I recommend joining a beginners course - there are also various books ranging from highly theoretical to practical.
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    Aug 1 2012: I use reusable shopping bags until I need bin liners. Then I leave them at home a few times to stock up on free bin liners from the supermarket.
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    Jul 31 2012: At my household, we seem to always have a surplus in plastic grocery bags. So I decided to use them for various uses, like mini-trashbags, lunch bag, etc. That saves me from getting lunchboxes or other small trashbags, which saves extra consumption of multiple plastic-ware.

    As for purely environmentally safe-ness, I never really considered being that detailed myself lol
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    Jul 31 2012: I loved your question - really funny. However it seems that u do worry a lot about the issue (not surprising, important stuff)
    Firstly, I reckon its important to do our best, but not to take things too seriously - we always do worse under pressure - just know that u are an intelligent person, and that u are now awake to the ecological issue - we will all learn as we go along.

    For a quick fix, what about this answer? - do what u would do if u had absolutely no money whatsoever