Fewer plastic bags mean better future

  • Letters
  • Monday, 22 Nov 2010

I REFER to the letter “Plastic ban will hit the pockets of Penangites,” (The Star, Nov 19) and I would like to say that the inconvenience of banning plastic bags would be bearable if we think about the future of our children and the generations that follow.

Think about how the non-biodegradable things we throw will outlive us and many generations after us because they can take hundreds of years to disintegrate.

I would like to encourage those who find this ban such a pain to change their mindset and methods of disposing rubbish. I live in Taiping and wish the Perak government would be as bold and forward-thinking as to impose such a ban, even in the likelihood of being unpopular.

I live in a household of six and we generate a lot of rubbish, but we are able to use just two plastic bags a week for the rubbish.

We try to recycle as much as possible. All scraps of paper are stored separately – old bills, receipts, flyers, magazines, toothpaste boxes and cereal boxes. In fact, not a scrap of paper is thrown away but recycled.

All plastic containers are also recycled – shampoo bottles, yoghurt cartons, etc. The only exceptions are plastic egg tray covers and some plastic containers. We recycle old tins and cans as well. In fact, we bring everything to the recycling shop and let them discard what can’t be recycled.

I do much of my shopping in places where I am allowed to bring my own bags. I have found that one plastic bag can actually be reused eight to 10 times before they tear.

Since Tesco started giving points to customers for using their own bags, I find that from the points I have collected, I would have used nearly a thousand plastic bags in a year. People at the wet market were highly amused when I insisted on using my own plastic bags. Now they are highly supportive of my self-imposed plastic bag ban.

They also say many of their customers actually take extra bags from them for throwing rubbish! Why would you need new bags to put your rubbish in?

Food scraps and vegetable and fruit peels form a big portion of the rubbish thrown out. It may be difficult to compost especially if you live in high-rise apartments.

Perhaps the Penang government may need to look into how households in high-rise buildings can dispose of their rubbish efficiently.

You can certainly reduce the number of plastic bags you use if you are determined to leave this earth a better place for the next generation.



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