Monday 9 April 2012

Taking out the Trash

I had one of those strange bouts of spring-cleaning madness recently, where I started opening random cupboards and seeking out things that hadn't been used, moved, or even looked at for a year. The kitchen cupboard I was particularly keen on getting to grips with, the cupboard that you can't even open without bracing back the stuff inside from exploding outwards onto the floor.

I was astonished! What hoarders we are! The evidence is in the picture - I two-thirds filled a wheelie bin just with plastic shopping bags. I'm slightly ashamed to even write about it - part of me wanted to bury the dark secret along with all the rest of the landfill.
We pick up very few plastic shopping bags - we've really got into the habit now of taking those sturdy reusable ones along with us when we go shopping, but occasionally we forget, and quite often people will give us things wrapped in a Tesco or Sainsbury's bag. And, I think to myself, oh well, at least we'll reuse them as bin-liners, save us buying them new. What I hadn't realised that we'd already accumulated about three years' worth of plastic bags, there in that cupboard, some of them even older, from the years before I ever thought about such things.

There may have been a time when we used plenty of shopping bags as bin-liners, but nowadays, we carefully separate the paper, tins and plastic bottles, put all our peelings and plate-scrapings into the compost caddy, and actually, very little of our household rubbish now goes into the traditional bin. Those sorry bags of bags, now destined for the Monday rubbish collection, are a throwback to an earlier age.

So, though I felt bad throwing away so many bags, I really couldn't think of anything else to do with them (any ideas, anyone?) And now that they're gone, the kitchen cupboard is pretty much clean and empty. More functional. And I'm determined not to let it fill up again - with anything! Especially not with plastic shopping bags.


  1. Hi Jon,

    Polyethylene, the plastic that stretches when you pull on it, and that carrier bags are made of, is recycled by polyprint in Rackheath.
    You'd have to accumulate quite a lot to justify a trip there by car, but it's a beautiful area to go cycling, and I've been told that the plans for the "eco-community" include a cycle path into Norwich.


  2. Don't charity shops still accept donations of plastic carrier bags for shoppers' purchases?