07 Aug It Starts With a Plastic Bag

I have a vague recollection of when this “sustainable living thing” became prominent in my life.

I knew I needed to live lighter on the planet, I was at the same time an avid protester. I felt really angry about what is happening to our planet. I was protesting logging, over fishing, and to protect our beautiful wilderness.


A young eco-activist

I took the train, rode my bike and did my bit. The smaller day to day actions weren’t necessarily on my radar.

I knew plastic bags were bad, so I avoided them as much as a I could, well looking back on it, I avoided them whenever it was convenient. I’d find myself at the shops without my reusable bags and just decide  well this one bag won’t hurt. I would then reuse that bag again as a bin liner and will feel good that I gave that bag two uses.  Either way, I was doing my bit.

plastic bags

I read a stat somewhere that states we use a plastic bag for an average of 5 mins, meanwhile it takes up 1000 years to degrade. It will never completely disappear, it breaks down into tiny pieces… just polluting our planet.  Worldwide we use 10 billion plastic bags in a week – A WEEK.

So this little faux paux of a plastic bag now and then, was no longer okay with me. I  made a decision no more plastic bags, not even for convenience sake. That shift in me forced me to be more conscious about my behavior. I had to take a reusable bag with me where ever I go. Not a problem, just needs a bit of extra thinking.  Now it’s a habit, if I do ever get caught without a reusable bag, I use a cardboard box, or I don’t buy it then.

Inspiration -> A decision to change -> acting in line with that change -> habit ->  A new Norm is formed!

So no matter what it is, the first step is making the decision to change,and then it’s taking the steps from there to follow through with it.

One step at a time.



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  • Jacqueline Gates
    Posted at 01:39h, 09 August

    Found myself nodding in agreement right from the beginning, especially the bit about ‘doing my bit when it was convenient’.
    But things have changed. Now I have a gazillion totes that live in my car and even one that folds-up-tiny + lives in my handbag. It’s amazing how quickly it becomes a habit to take one with you into every store.

    In South Africa (where I was raised), plastic bags became such a problem that they now charge for them so as to encourage people to use totes. I’m looking forward to the day when the US does the same.

    Love the new blog, Jamie.

    Bliss-ings + sparkly applause

    • Jamie Van Jones
      Posted at 07:13h, 09 August

      Thanks Jacqui, it’s great to hear you’ve cracked the plastic bag reliance! Where I live in Fremantle,WA. they are passing a local law to ban plastic bags! Woo hoo!

  • Lindsay (treadingmyownpath)
    Posted at 09:43h, 09 August

    Haha, I can totally relate to your plastic bag scenario! I always used to refuse plastic bags (but never mind that I’d take plastic bags if I was in a bulk store for the loose produce!) EXCEPT when I needed one to line my bin…! (Or whatever other justification I had) Then I really woke up to the plastic pollution problem and realised I needed to rethink my behaviour… So I started lining my bin with old newspaper, taking reusable produce bags to the shops – and I never looked back. I don’t have any plastic bags in my home now. Now I’m working on the next thing! : )