The plastic bag apocalypse has forced me to learn origami.
Like many Australians, I was in the habit of using my turtle-choking, single-use plastic shopping bags to line my bin. But that ended recently when Coles and Woolworths banned the bags. Then Coles bag-flipped and made them available again. Now I know why I pick Woolies.
Aldi too, if I’m gonna be honest, because they really broke me into the habit of reusable shopping bags. But reusable shopping bags don’t make good bin liners. Probably because you have to pay for them. (Unlike the damage plastic bags do to the environment!?)
I didn’t say the psychology of consumer behaviour isn’t complicated, nor slightly scary. Anyhow, necessity is the mother of invention.
Confronted with a lack of plastic bin liners I discovered a new value-added application for journalism. The origami bin liner made of newspaper. In light of recent media mergers, some might say that’s appropriate. But that’s not the point. The point is, unlike journalism, the plastic’s gone, and the bin need’s lining. Or does it?
Convention dictates you don’t chuck rubbish into an unlined house bin and then tip that into the wheelie bin and then clean the house bin. Because that’s a hassle, and hassle is garbage heresy, apparently. Total garbage if you ask me.
For some reason, possibly related to landfill, convention has dictated we line bins with plastic, mainly because it catches the gooey stuff. But now the plastic’s gone, we need an alternative.
Given I have a surplus of newspaper in our newsprint-subscribing household, and I no longer use it to line the kitty litter trays since the cats died once I read it, paper seemed a logical option.
So I went online and I re-discovered origami, and how spatially dyslexic I am.
Like religion, it origami takes practice.
But after after several attempts, I was semi converted.
It is possible to make a passably efficient bin liner out of five sheets of newspaper.
A small tabloid one, mind you.
Broadsheet would be better because it’s bigger but that’s another trend in media we don’t need to go into.
Ultimately, all your doing is making a chip wrapper for your rubbish on it’s journey from disposal to hopefully degradable.
Councils have known for ages, the smaller the bin, the less the waste.
So maybe it passes the logical test. There’s still the psychology of consumer behaviour to overcome. But no one said the war on waste would be easy.
There is a certain sense of satisfaction when everything folds up and holds together.
Not that the government’s come up with that yet.
But I’m trying hard to opt out of plastic bin liners. And if it means trashing my profession for all the right reasons – then ‘bin there, doing that’.