Good news from Indonesia! Since February 21st, 2016 numerous big cities in Indonesia has forced a regulation to charge the plastic bags usage. It means when you shop something and you want plastic bags to carry them in, you have to pay for the plastic bags. This regulation aims to reduce the usage of plastic bags in Indonesia. As a developed country, not all of Indonesian people are well educated about the threat of plastic bags and actually care about recycling. It’s now time to change!
Plastic bags have been one of the most damaging substantials to our earth; from the high-emission production, how they are not easily degrade, not safe for food containing, cause cancer and other diseases, clog and pollute the river and harm the marine life.
Yet, despite the harms of plastic bags, most of people in Indonesia are still taking plastic bags for granted. They use it for everything, everywhere and everyday. Even when they buy one small pack of cigarettes, from a store near house, they don’t bother to just bring it without plastic bags.
More sad fact, most of the plastic bags they take is used just once, and then they throw it away. Why just once? Because they get a lot of small plastic bags from their small purchase -small tings which actually can be brought in hands. You can’t use small plastic bags for something else like you can use big bags as trash bags. Therefore there are a lot of small plastic bags not being reused and thrown away.
This has to stop! And this regulation hopefully will inspire more people to stop using plastic bags, especially small ones. It starts with regulations, and then it will be a habit. And it has to start from us. Reducing plastic bags is easy to do through plastic bags diet. With this diet, you can save more money (in the case of this Indonesia’s regulation) and save the environment.
FOLLOW THIS EASY 5 WAYS TO DO PLASTIC BAGS DIET:
JUST SAY: NO, THANK YOU
It starts with a really simple way; just say no when you are offered a plastic bag you know you don’t need! When you buy something, if you can bring it on hand or you can put it inside your bag/pocket, refuse when the cashier/seller takes out a plastic bag. In some cases, people will think you’re weird (yes, it happens!) and funny. When that happens, you have to stand proudly, because we are doing something great for planet Earth here.
My personal experience; one day I bought soymilk and got it delivered to my house. It was just a small bag –the size of my palm- of milk, delivered to my doorstep. The deliveryman took out a plastic bag for it, of course I refused but he insisted. I insisted back that I don’t need it. Then he said ‘please just take the bag, it’s not polite of me to not give you a plastic bag’.
Wait; is it what happens, that plastic bags are the symbol of politeness? Is that why people always take plastic bag even though they don’t need it? Well, this has to change. Just say no thank you when you don’t need a plastic bag. It doesn’t make you rude or impolite. It’s the right thing to do.
USE REUSABLE BAGS
When you do groceries shopping or other large purchases, bring canvas/woven reusable bags with you. Canvas or woven bags are better choices than paper bags; they are stronger and last longer. And for small purchases, always bring a foldable bag in your purse. I have done this for so long, and am really happy that this habit is now becoming a trend. Now foldable bags come in cute shapes. Not only useful for shopping, they don’t take much room in your purse, and you can even use them as keychain or bag charm!
Look how cute these foldable bags are…
BRING YOUR OWN EVERYTHING
Avoid disposable plastic bags and other plastic stuffs as much as you can, such as straws, paper cups and plates. Bring your own tumbler when you get your take-away coffee. You can even bring a portable lunch box or cutleries to minimize the usage of plastic containers.
TAKE THE PLASTIC BAGS WITH YOU
Okay, this is another truth; we aren’t actually liberated from plastic bags. There will be times where we really need plastic bags. It’s okay, we do need them every now and then. We are not trying to banish them completely from our lives. We are trying to reduce.
Do it by carrying your own plastic bags. When you get a plastic bag, keep it, fold it, put it inside your bag/pocket, and take it with you. When you need it, you can use your own used plastic bag instead of buying or asking for new one. I do this all the time also. Folded plastic bags are easy to carry; I can even insert it in my cash wallet.
This is the instruction to fold your plastic bags:
BE THE AGENT OF CHANGE
Now that you are aware of the necessity of reuse and recycling, show it in your daily life and invite others to the lifestyle. Share you awareness and knowledge to others! You can be the agent of change by joining the actions of many organizations and movements working on this issues, joining the local communities, giving consultations, educating children, warning the violator and reminding them the right way. The most important thing of being an agent of change is to be a good and true role model.
Remember, it’s our only planet; it’s our only place to live in.
It’s our responsibility to save it.
Be an environment hero now!