The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake

conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake
Posted by on February 9, 2014

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 Can you believe I came home from the supermarket with these packaged tomatoes??

conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake


I was busted by my husband as I was unpacking my groceries earlier this week.

“I can’t believe you bought tomatoes in all that plastic packaging?”


I could have replied with something lame like – “I was shopping with two children, pressed for time to get to swimming lessons and operating on automatic!” – but I didn’t. I just stopped, looked at the amount of plastic used and felt like a complete fraud. The conversations I am having through my blog involve discovering the effect plastic is having on our planet – yet in my daily life I am still buying it!


I turned around and opened the fridge and was horrified at the amount of plastic.

This prompted me to do a Plastic Bag Stocktake!

How many bags do we have in our home and what do we need them for?


1. Firstly I gathered up all my plastic bags.

conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake


I had both a ‘Plastic Bag – Bag’ full (everyone has one of those in the kitchen right?) plus another separate bag holding the overflow.

A total of 114 bags all together just waiting to be used for something….

Might I just say this isn’t my collection just from this year, this is carried over from last year as well.

I am disappointed to say it looks like our household is well on our way to being one of those average Australian homes using 350 bags a year. (I have never been one to feel comfortable fitting into ‘average’)! You can read other discoveries I have made regarding plastic bags and their global effects here.

conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake


On closer inspection I discovered a modest collection of 100% Degradable Bags…








conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake


as well as a couple of recycled bags – PHEW!







2. Next stop was the fridge and freezers

conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktakeconversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktakeconversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake


It was full of plastic. Ahhhhh…….


– Plastic containers storing food
– Plastic bags wrapped over left overs in bowls
– Plastic bags in the freezer also being used as storage

25 bags in total, all being reused




3. Miscellaneous

conversationswithmysister_The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake


– We use bags to line two of our three garbage bins

– 10 plastic bags are currently used in the pantry to help seal  opened, yet not finished, food items

– Since one needs to count all items to do an accurate stocktake, I  must include both my cling wrap (all 300 meters) and sandwich bags.



I must explain something you don’t yet know about me . . . my friends call me, (affectionately I think?) a ‘tight arse’. I have earnt this title through my careful, yet wise, approach to spending money?! One of my best friends once declared she was not taking me away for a girls weekend unless she could tip me upside down and start releasing some of my loose change….

I am telling you this to explain; the 300 metre roll of cling film was bought, not because we use that much, simply because it was more economical to buy in bulk.

So there you have it – stocktake complete!

151 plastic bags accounted for in our home as of today.
This is not including the plastic packaging which a lot of our items are brought home in, this is just simply plastic bags.

That’s a massive reality check for me – I am horrified!

Time to put our family commitment into action –

Be part of the solution, not someone adding to the problem

Now it’s your turn …

The way I see it – if we come clean together and fess up to our plastic bag addiction, we can support each other as we work towards minimising our personal usage. Even better still, build a collection of idea’s on how to go cold turkey and having no plastic bags in our individual houses all together.

Are you up for the challenge?

There is plenty of space in the comment section below to join in this Conversation or you can continue the chat on my Facebook page.

I’m looking forward to meeting you. It is clear I’m going to need your help on this one…

– Shea

Are you all up to date?

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By now you would have Named you named your Year – Right?

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I’m Talking Rubbish

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Our Five Year Old Environmentalist

Join me next week as I go shopping - Plastic Bag Free

Join me next week as I go shopping – Plastic Bag Free




6 Responses to The Great Plastic Bag Stocktake

  1. Brendan

    Great post! Our family has been on a ‘sustainability drive’ for a while. Examples include not using any plastic wrapping for lunches and minimising the collection of grocery plastic bags down to a level where they fit into one of those hanging material bag holders. These bags are used for the normal family requirements – cat & dog crap and lining the bin! Buy some Tupperware you ‘tight arse’!

    • Shea

      Love it :-)!
      Great news Brendan, thanks for the tips (Tupperware is quite expensive and I have a cupboard of old takeaway containers I am re-using!)
      Keep us posted on anything else you come up with during your ‘sustainability drive’.

  2. Oma

    Looks like I’m being shamed into carrying out a bag blitz on the weekend 🙂

  3. Zoe

    Wow Shea your a legend, I’m totally inspired!

    My mission for this week is also to work out how much I rely on plastic (I’m going to do a stocktake as well) and try to find better alternatives.

    I’m thinking glass for storage?

    All ideas will be gratefully received!!

    • Shea

      Welcome on our journey Zoe, so so pleased to have you onboard.

      Please check back in with your plastic bag tally, it will be so interesting to compare numbers later in the year. I’m confident we will see ‘stocktake totals’ decreasing now we have been made aware and are finding safer and healthier alternatives to plastic.

      As for storage – that is a big one! Glass is the first idea I have as well as reusing any take-a-way containers, large honey or yoghurt tubs etc. which we all bring home at one time or the other.

      I will keep you updated as I come across more ideas.

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