8 ways to avoid taking Coles up on their offer of free plastic bags

Coles has announced they'll continue to give away free plastic bags at their stores for an extended period of time, but with Australians using 10 million new plastic bags each year - and only 3 per cent of these being recycled - saying 'no' to bags at the checkout could help save the planet.

Committing to reducing your waste is no mean feat, and there's an awful lot to remember when attempting to go plastic-free.

If you're struggling to make the transition to using reusable bags, here are eight ways to get prepared for your next supermarket shop and avoid taking Coles up on their offer of free plastic bags. The best bit? It doesn't always come with a cost.

1. Stash your plastic-free kit by the door

Lottie Dalziel, founder of eco-friendly marketplace Banish and plastic-free pro, says she swears by this tip.

"I keep a basket containing a tote bag, produce bag, coffee cup and bamboo cutlery next to the front door, where I keep my coat, so whenever I'm leaving the house I remember to take it with me."

2. Keep reusable bags everywhere

If your house is anything like ours, you've probably got reusable canvas bags coming out of your ears. Rather than keeping them packed away in a cupboard you're too frightened to open because of the avalanche of bags that awaits, store them in places you'll actually see them.

The car boot and passenger seat are great places to start (that way you can dash back to the car as soon as you realise you've forgotten the bags) or try hanging them off the back of your front door, above your shoe rack or wherever you keep your handbag, keys or wallet.

3. Order groceries online and opt for plastic bag or packaging-free at checkout

You can easily avoid the need for plastic bags by ordering your groceries online and having them delivered to your door.

Woolworths and Coles now offer a 'crate to bench’ option when you order online, which means your order will be packed directly into crates and then unpacked by your delivery driver when they arrive. While Coles won't charge you anything extra to go bag free, Woolworths will add on $3.50 to your order.

4. Invest in lightweight fabric bags that fit inside your handbag

You'll never forget your bags again with a lightweight, reusable shopping bag that can clip onto your handbag, wallet or keys.

These bags from Onya are made from recycled plastic drink bottles and feature a sturdy carabiner clip so you can clip your shopping bag onto whatever item you're most likely to remember. It's a small investment that will likely save you money down the line.

5. Write 'bags' at the top of your shopping list

It's another simple step, but writing the word 'bags' at the very top of your shopping list will give you a quick prompt whenever you arrive at the shops to fish out your reusable bags from your car or depths of your handbags.

6. Get involved with Boomerang Bags

Despite our best efforts, we've forgotten to take our reusable bags to the supermarket at least once. But luckily, if we do, there's Boomerang Bags, a grassroots, community-driven movement committed to tackling plastic pollution.

Volunteers get together to make re-useable ‘boomerang bags’ using recycled materials, which are given away to friends, family, colleagues and bagless strangers, as a plastic bag alternative that can be used and reused, or passed on to others in need.

Find your Boomerang Bag community.

7. Bags aren't always the answer

The most obvious solution to not having a reusable bag with you is to carry your groceries using whatever else you have to hand.

"I suggest putting your loose groceries back into your trolley after purchase, then packing them into your car boot and filling your reusable bags with the items once you get home," Lottie says.

If you don't have a car and have only bought a small basket of groceries, consider whether anything could fit into your handbag, pockets or even carry it loose in your hands. If it means you'll use just one less shopping bag, it'll be worth it.

8. Buy in bulk

Lottie tries to buy in bulk from companies like The Source Bulkfoods, who encourage plastic-free shopping, or her local fruit shop, which provides customers with cardboard boxes for their groceries, but if that's not an option, Lottie advises asking staff for a cardboard box from out the back to carry your shop home.

"You'll be surprised at how accommodating they can be," she says.

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Posted by Deadly NightshadeReport
Write "BAGS" on a note and stick it on your front door so that you see it as you exit. For crying out loud, people, this elimination of plastic bags isn't rocket science!!!!