WILDLY UNNECESSARY SPECIALIST PLASTIC BAGS

“But I’ve got my Bag for Life!” I hear you cry!

Yes, yes, of course you have. Me too. In fact, I’ve got seventeen Bags For Life, because I keep forgetting to bring them to the supermarket so I have to buy a new one, simply proving that I’m a forgetful twazzock of epic proportions.

In fairness, plastic bags are only the teensiest, tiniest part of the problem of plastic pollution, but we have to start somewhere.

And they’re everywhere. Here’s a by-no-means comprehensive list of single use bags you can stop buying. You have to hand it to the packaging manufacturers and their marketing departments, they’ve worked REALLY hard to make us think we need different bags for every occasion!

Sandwich bags. Lordy Bill, there are so many other ways to keep your sarnies fresh – in a wax wrapper. in foil or greaseproof paper – or even a plastic box you can use again and again.

Snack bags. Yes, there are such things and they are entirely separate and distinct from sandwich bags. Big Bad Bag Corp would like us to believe that we need BOTH snack bags AND sandwich bags. OMG, imagine the confusion if you put your snack in your sandwich bag and your sarnie in your snack bag! You might eat your BLT double decker thinking it was a piece of fruit and then you’d have nothing left for lunch! Gastronomic confusion would reign supreme!

Pictures of fruit on the bags are there to make you think you’re taking the healthy option.

Freezer bags. These are not particularly practical. They flop in the freezer and either stick to the surface or wrap themselves round whatever they’re sitting on. Boxes stack so much better and can be reused indefinitely with care.

Stoopid.

Ice cube bags. Yes. Ice cube bags. I ask you. ICE CUBE BAGS!!! Which you have to tear and shred to get the ice out and then throw away… Oh puh-leeeeeeeeze! Use an ice tray!!!

Slow cooker liners. Whaaat? People actually COOK their FOOD in a PLASTIC BAG, without wondering what petrochemical-type contaminants might be leaching into their food? Yikes. The packet says “Keep pots clean – seal in flavour”. Accept it, making stews means you have to wash the pot afterwards. Just soak it overnight, or leave it on simmer full of water for a while, and that should make the crusty bits come off the side.

Roasting bags. Again, another ruse to sell you something completely unnecessary in the belief that somehow it will save you time and effort. It means you miss all the gorgeous, gooey cooking juices under the meat. If you want to protect the top of the dish from burning, use a saved butter wrapper and mould that round your chicken or yer chops or whatever. And if you really want to seal in your roast and keep your oven clean, you can make a ‘bag’ from a large piece of greaseproof paper. Eezi-peezi.

Wastepaper bin liners. Are you a hotel? Probably not. And even if you are, stop it. Put a piece of newspaper at the bottom of the bin if you must. I hate the way hotels put those flimsy liners in their bins. Thousands and thousands of these get dumped every day with just a tissue or a couple of bits of cotton wool in them. If hotels equipped their chamber staff with rubber gloves and a damp cloth it would be a great deal better for the environment. (I now travel with a plastic box for my waste cottonwool etc., and instead of using the bins in hotel rooms, I take it home and dispose of it there.)

Dog poo bags made of plastic. No excuse, chaps, been here before. You can get biodegradable bags everywhere in which to pop those plops.

Customs bags. You know, the ones they make you put your costmetics in to go through the machines at the airport. Get one, and keep it for next time. And the next. And so on.

What about big bin bags?

As to big bin bags, I’m resigned to having to use them. The hazards of being a garbage collector are enormous – they never know what foul stuff they’re picking up, whether it’s diseased, or full of rodents, insects, toxic waste, hypodermic syringes, broken glass etc etc… So until such time as garbage collection is mechanised, bin bags are vital for providing at least a small level of protection for these workers.

But most plastic bags are unnecessary, and if you need to be reminded of how plastic never disappears from the planet even when you can’t see it, read my piece on cling film/Saran wrap. If that doesn’t give you the holy horrors, I don’t know what will.

Nice and short this time, eh!

All photographs taken by Yours Truly, most of them in Sainsbury’s of Bicester. I think we can all agree that I’ve done a MARVELLOUS job. Okay, they’re a bit shite, but frankly I haven’t yet got used to the embarrassment of going round shops and photographing things like a weirdo.

My current challenge

I’m on tour, which means eating microwave meals at the theatre every day. I’ve challenged myself to do this without single-use plastic and am reporting my progress on my Twitter feed. It’s quite bothersome but because I am such a geek, I’m rather enjoying the challenge. @DillieKeane if you’re interested. Also @ShitYeDontNeed.

And finally… Here’s a picture of a hound, but not Piper this time as she is fed up with me for going on tour and refused to pose. Sorry, Pips, I shall be home the whole summer and we’ll make hay (and definitely jam) together and you can play hide and seek in the dahlia forest.

Meanwhile, this is Barney, our beloved Labrador, in the Drug Chair. It’s called the Drug Chair because there are strange aromatic medicaments in the upholstery that cause whoever sits there to go to sleep during interesting television programmes which means the rest of us have to watch them again.

Barney, an 11 and a half year old puppy, here asking you to admire his mighty tackle. He’s such a bloke, really. Even still, he is the nicest, gentlest, huggiest chap in the world.

34 thoughts on “WILDLY UNNECESSARY SPECIALIST PLASTIC BAGS

  1. Hi Dilly. Thos lovely people who make the wonderful doggy poop bags also make compostable bin liners. All the small bins in the house are lines with brown paper bags that our local organic shop provides for fruit, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, and we use compostable bags too, but only for the compost caddy. I think there’s something self defeating about growing crops to make bags to line our wastepaper baskets. And I save brown paper bags and use them for draining fried food (like my Mum did). Lucky you to have a local organic shop… we’re in organic wasteland in N Oxfordshire!

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  2. Dillie – Do you ever remember reading a recipe for meringue which advised not to use a plastic bowl for mixing as “ stuff” from it would mix in with the ingredients? !!!! I never forgot that ….. Greetings from the Emerald Isle. Anne-Marie

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  3. I do like cooking the Christmas turkey in a roasting bag. It halves the cooking time, so it saves energy. Most other meat I put in the slow cooker.

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    • Golly, it must be a very big bag! We do ours in foil. But I don’t suppose once a year is going to do too much harm! And I’m a BIG slow cooker fan too. I do my dal in the slow cooker, it’s yum.

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  4. Dillie, you may have mixed feelings about these plastic bags (https://amzn.to/2HIOd5n) if only because a) they actually DO work by keeping veg fresh for much, much longer and b) you can wash them out reuse them up to so many times (can’t remember how many.) You can get them here in the UK now at sensible prices. I used to bring a stack back here with me after each of my trips “home” to Canada, along with canned pumpkin pie filling and other North American shit you couldn’t buy here. Times have changed, and so has the weight of my luggage in a lighter direction. Sz xx

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    • My question back to you is why you might need to keep vegetables for a very long time? I shop twice a week and get what I need, if I think stuff is going over a bit, I make it into a sauce and freeze it. My friend Margaret gave me a veggiebag (cloth of some sort, does the same thing) and it lives in the fridge, but it doesn’t get used much as I’m a careful shopper. I suppose if I lived a long way from the shops it would be different.

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  5. Another reason to take your rubbish home from a hotel or work is that it reduces (if only by one) the number of times the person who cleans your room or office has to bend. This may not sound like much, but if everyone did it, it would help reduce the number of people who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders. I worked in HR for a good few years, dealing with the cleaning and culinary staff. Anything we could do to reduce musculoskeletal strain, we would do, for the well-being of the staff. I now systematically take my rubbish home, not only to ensure it gets recycled where necessary, but also means the cleaning staff do not have to empty my bins.

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  6. I agree with the vast majority of what you say, and as someone who packs their lunchtime sarnie in a plastic box and doesn’t feel the need to wrap the accompanying satsuma in anything because it’s already wrapped in its own skin I feel that I’m at least trying. But I have a self defrosting freezer, which by some unseen black magic spirits away all of the ice on its internal parts, including the ice cube trays. So I have to hang my head in shame and admit to the use of ice cube bags until I find an alternative way to actually keep any ice in my freezer!

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      • Almost certainly, and a distant relative of the wardrobe pixies who cause coat hangers to multiply at an alarming rate

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I would love to know the justification for the way supermarkets package vegetables and fruit. I needed one leek which my local Tesco kindly supplied in plastic wrapping all of its own! Why do bananas need to be wrapped in plastic? And on it goes, could be a very long list.

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    • I couldn’t agree more. This #PlasticFreeFood challenge I’m doing is SO tricky! Eating for one is difficult enough but my choice of food is incredibly limited. Luckily I have hotel breakfasts to stock up on protein and fruit!

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  8. Hi, could I add to your list all the wrappings for medication. I’ve just watched my husband put his tablets into the weekly box and the amount of unrecycleable stuff is immense. Whatever happened to the little brown glass bottles we used to get that held so many tablets and could go back to the pharmacy for a refill….
    Cheers

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  9. YESSSSSS!!!! I have a feeling that happens as a result of legislation brought in under the Blair government. to deter people from overdosing through the sheer tedium of pushing the pills out of the foil/plastic bubbles. It’s dementing. And I’ve always been a great fan of Strepsils as they’re brilliant for a tired voice backstage, but I am getting to the last of my considerable stash as they’re in blister packs and after that I shall purchase them no more. Lockets from now on.

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  10. Hi Dillie, saw your show in Sheffield on Wednesday. Brilliant as usual. I refuse to buy Sainsbury’s new re usable veg bags at 30 p each! I would probably lose them. I just put loose fruit and veg in the trolley and the cashier weighs it. Havnt tried it with sprouts yet !

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    • That’s what I do… but I must confess that I fell for the Sainsbuggers reusable veg bag and it was promptly thrown out by the Beloved who didn’t realise it was 30p and of course it’s made of highly questionable fabric… doh… Thanks for coming to the show in Sheffield, you were a CRACKING audience!

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  11. Love your blog, Dillie. You encourage me to try harder and do better and how important it is. We luckily have a plastic free shop in the village of Cranleigh in Surrey where you can fill up your detergents and get everything in your own glass jars. It helps a lot.

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    • Lucky you, I live in a plastic-rich wasteland… The great thing is that people really are beginning to start realising and trying to change their ways… the next thing is to persuade Big Corporations to change… to make them change… so the blog might get a bit more campaigny… But nice messages and responses here are really encouraging for me. Thanks for getting in touch.

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    • Reading your blog for the first time; inspiring and very scary, at the same time. And saw your show for the first time, last night in Nottingham. Absolutely fulfilled expectations!
      We also have a small shop in Knowle, Solihull, which has just started to supply hand soap, surface cleaner, washing up liquid etc from large containers, bring your own smaller vessel and fill it, or he will sell you a re-usable one. Great.

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  12. Thank you Dillie, when your Strepsils run out, try Tunes, they come in a little cardboard box. We are lucky that we have a new plastic free shop opened in Stokesley. Looking forward to Newcastle on Sunday!

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  13. Hi Dillie Another good blog post & lots of food for thought there. Since returning to the UK from France I have resisited buying “bags” of any kind…although I do confess to using up my freezer bags as I havent as yet found an alternative for small amounts in a small freezer drawer. I do though wash & reuse them whenever I can. I am still singing your praises & sharing the blog with family & friends. Keep up the good work! Oh..& I really enjoyed the show last night & getting the chance to speak to you afterwards made my night. I also introduced my daughter to the delights of Fascinating Aida…she bought the tickets as a Christmas pressie 🙂

    Christine Phillips

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  14. Excellent blog! Saw your fabulous show in the metropolis of Barrow-in-Furness, you were all marvellous! We cried with laughter! After you mentioned your blog at the end of the show, signed up and what a treasure trove it is! Have just ordered mint-scented dog poop bags, as per your link, degradable of course and answers my prayers, I never leave it but do hate the smell when picking it up. I got a set of several reusable fine mesh bags from Onya, great for buying loose veg or collect used washable make up remover pads and pop in washing machine. Thank you Dillie and keep up the great work!

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  15. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

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