You may be finding yourself with an excess of plastic bags at home as a result of guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and safety concerns resulted in some changes to how some stores were able to accommodate customers using reusable bags, and in some cases caused an increase in single-use plastic bag use. Below, we’ve outlined some options to help you manage your plastic bags responsibly.
1. Reduce Plastic Bag Use – Bring your Bag
Although there were recommendations for stores not to allow consumers to use reusable bags posted by the Province of BC and BC Centre for Disease Control a couple months ago, this has changed. Check with your local store to see if you can bring your own bag. There may be some guidelines still in place, so you may have to pack bags yourself. We even heard from dedicated individuals who put their groceries back in their cart, then take it to the car to unload them directly into the truck, using no bags at all!
2. Reuse Plastic Bags
If you have plastic bags at home, challenge yourself to find a use for them.
Carry items: They can be used just like reusable bags. Use them again for groceries, bringing books to a friend, or returning mom’s empty reusable containers.
Storage: Use plastic bags to store your other depot-only materials until your next depot trip. Create a storage solution that aligns with the depot sorting categories – plastic bags and overwrap, other flexible plastic packaging and foam packaging. It will keep your materials organized at home and make your next depot trip a breeze.
Garbage: Use extra bags for pet waste, or as garbage bags.
3. Recycle Plastic Bags
Plastic bags can be returned to a Recycle BC depot for recycling. Incorporate a depot trip the next time you’re out running errands. In addition to plastic bags, take the opportunity to return other items that can’t be included in your recycling bins: plastic overwrap, foam packaging, other flexible plastic packaging (like crinkly wrappers and bag, and stand-up pouches), and in some communities, glass bottle and jars. Many depots accept more than just packaging and paper, so check what else they accept to make the most of your depot trip.
Hopefully these ideas give you more information about how to use and manage your plastic bags responsibly. Together, we can make a difference!