Day #1 of Successful Plastic Bag-Free Shopping – Check!

conversationswithmysister_Plastic Bag free shop
Posted by on February 16, 2014

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So that’s it then.

All this research is inarguably pointing to ridding our home of plastic bags.

Today is shopping day, so I have pulled out the reusable shopping bags from the back of the pantry and set off to buy our Fruit and Veg and conquer plastic bag-free shopping.

Over the last week I have had many conversations, both with you guys (the dedicated support team of this blog) and of course my sister, regarding the use of plastic bags. Pulling that disastrous number of 151 at the end of my Plastic Bag Stocktake was a huge wake up call for me and solutions need to be found.

How did you guys go with the count?

conversationswithmysister_Plastic Bag free shop

Seems my sister has one solution to instantly (and still responsibly) reduce my tally – ‘shopping bag recycle bins’ at the supermarket. I had never heard of them before, have you?

So into the boot my excess bags go, along with the reusable shopping bags and I’m off to my sister’s local shopping centre to investigate.

Morningside Central, Qld deserves a huge plug here. I came away from this new shopping destination (for me) so very impressed with the opportunities this complex have in place for recycling.



These are my discoveries:

  • The first thing I came across was a recycling box on the corner full of reusable cardboard boxes – they are out in fullconversationswithmysister_Plastic Bag free shop_ Reuse Cardboard Boxes view for who ever wants them
  • Next I headed to the supermarket to drop off my bag of ‘bags’ and walked past the fruit and veg store. They had another pile of boxes next to the cashier, ready to fill with their customers produce
  • As I walked into the supermarket displayed front and centre, was a stand selling all kinds of reusable bags. There were the usual ones with the supported base and of course the cold bags. I was surprised and impressed to see something new (well new to me anyway) packs of smaller, reusable shopping bags
  • I walked through the turnstiles and at my disposal was a stand of antibacterial wipes. Nothing to do with recycling but, a perfect shop courtesy to stop the spread of germs. Especially useful to wipe down your shopping trolley before sitting your child in the presumably putrid child seat
  • As I was going through the check out there was a sign above the cash register reminding the cashier to – ‘Aim to put 7 items in each bag’. Clearly no one has that sign up at the store where they pack my online grocery order!


As I walked out carrying my reusable shopping bags (which incidentally had the opposition branded all over it, uh oh) a big ‘so proud of myself’ smile grew across my face. That wasn’t hard at all.

conversationswithmysister_Plastic Bag free shop_Recycle Plastic Bag Bin

I placed my 100 odd unneeded plastic bags from home¬†in the recycle bin provided, whilst wondering where they go from there? I need to do some more digging to answer that question as the lady I asked on the checkout wasn’t 100% sure. She knew they weren’t reused in store and was equally confident they were disposed of correctly and the plastic reused for other purposes.

So shopping without plastic bags – so far easily done. Handed over my bag, very obliging cashier packed my couple of items in it and off I went.




Next stop the fruit and veg store next door. Although I buy our perishables from big name supermarkets, I avoid buying fresh produce there. But that is another story….

Shopping without plastic bags for fresh produce became a little trickier:

  • Firstly I didn’t take into consideration buying those couple of items at the supermarket and one bag, out of two bags, was nearly full before I even started
  • Second challenge was being conscious not to pick up prepackaged items unless totally¬†unavoidable (we’ve already talked about those tomatoes from last week….) I found lettuce, certain fresh herbs and potatoes were all prepackaged in plastic at this store – so disappointed!
  • Thirdly – the grapes!!
    When they aren’t sealed in a bag, apart from them coming off the stems and getting everywhere, it seems it is far easier for the children to reach in and demolish them before we’ve even left the store

Although I had to put some thought into keeping the items safe in the trolley with only having one reusable bag at my disposal, there was relief at the check out when I was politely asked – “would you like a bag or a box?”

Of course I had forgotten about that pile of boxes I walked past earlier so, without hesitation, I grabbed a box and all my fragile choices were safely stored and easy to carry to the car. Even the grapes had a safe area. To top it off the box will later become very handy later on for a weed mat, under the mulch, in my garden.

Day #1 of plastic bag-free shopping – Check!

So what I’ve discovered so far is:

– Be overly prepared and take more bags than you think you will need.
– Supermarkets and shopping complex’s need to take a proactive approach and offer alternative package solutions other than relying on the plastic bag. It is way overdue and people will find another store if their needs aren’t met.

What do you pack your shopping into to transport home?

Join in the conversation! We would all love to benefit from your plastic bag-free shopping experience(s) either my Facebook Page or in the Comment Section below.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated and questions will be answered to the best of my ability.

Looking forward to our future conversations,
– Shea

Are you all up to date?

You have Named you named your Year - right?

You have Named Your Year – right?

You've read about where my inspiration came from to minimise waste

Read about where my inspiration came from to minimise waste

Met Our Five Year Old Environmentalist

Met Our Five Year Old Environmentalist

Had your own Great Plastic Bag Stocktake

Had your own Great Plastic Bag Stocktake

Next week - Name Change, Yoga, Lorna Jane Tights

Next week – Name Change, Yoga, Lorna Jane Tights

4 Responses to Day #1 of Successful Plastic Bag-Free Shopping – Check!

  1. Brendan

    Some good ideas in Mornngside (typical Queenslanders – ahead of the game)! I have a few footy mates working at the local Coles supermarket. May have to pass on these ideas for their shop to implement.

    • Shea

      I like the way Business Improvement Managers think – they see an opportunity in everything!

  2. Ashley

    As I sit on the train on my way home from work reading this fabulous blog, I decide to look around to see who from the corporate world has made a decision to use reusable bags. Those that have ducked in to pick up a few things from the shops on their way home is almost a different target market to what is spoken about in this blog. There are those that make a trip to the supermarket/green grocer weekly, however there are also those of us who are cooking for one and do what my fellow commuters have done tonight and drop in to get the guts of their meal. Most people are sitting here with store issues plastic bags however I think the women are at an advantage.. 2 women have their shopping reusable bags as they look to be the bags that fold into themselves and secured to almost business card size. These handy things can be put in their handbag and just left there until needed. However all the men on this train have their shopping in plastic bags. Perhaps there is an opportunity for corporate organisations to give their employees reusable bags – they can keep it at their desk, take it with them when they leave and use it at the store on their way home, then to ensure they don’t forget it the next day, they can place their lunch in this bag to take to the office? I’d certainly use it!! Would also be part of companies CSR program and environmental policy perhaps?

    • Shea

      Thankyou so very much for your insight Ashley, into a world I don’t get to see on a regular basis. It is always going to be the times we unexpectedly ‘pop in’ to grab a couple of things where it will be the easy option to rely on plastic.
      I love your idea suggesting corporate organisations provide reusable bags for their employees. Made me realise if I’m going to consistently say ‘no to plastic bags’ I will need to always carry one. I will get right onto finding the ones which fold up super small so they conveniently fit into any sized bag.

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