The 10 Best Zero-Waste Plastic Bag Alternatives, for Every Use

red plums scattered around various types of resusable cotton bags

Say goodbye to plastic bags for good, with our sustainable solutions and simple tips for every potential use in your home.

Estimated Read Time: 7 minutes

We’re living in a world that’s drowning in plastic, and single-use plastic bags are some of the worst offenders.

Each year, 500 billion plastic bags are used globally. Birds mistake them for food, turtles can’t distinguish them from jellyfish, and even humans consume them, as microplastics make their way through the food chain.

From biodegradable plastic bag alternatives to upcycling initiatives, in this blog post, we look at sustainable solutions for every potential use of plastic bags you may have.

What's so bad about plastic bags?

bamboo toothbrushes arranged in a circle

Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

Whilst plastic bags are easy and convenient, they’re incredibly harmful to the planet and its human and animal populations:

  • They’re made from non-renewable resources
  • They can cause blockages to drainage systems in developing countries
  • When they do breakdown, plastic bags can form tiny toxic particles that contaminate soil and waterways
  • Animals and sealife are frequently injured and killed by plastic bags
  • Over time, plastic bags release dangerous chemicals

It’s necessary to seek out safe and sustainable alternatives.

10 Zero-waste plastic bag alternatives

For trash

Did you know more than 300 million Americans used plastic garbage bags and trash can liners in 2020?

If you’re thinking ‘Well of course they did, what else would they use?’, let us introduce you to plant-based alternatives to plastic trash bags. These biodegradable alternatives are chemical-free and decompose only 3 to 6 months after use. You can use them in the same way as your plastic trash liners, so there’s no extra fuss.

To make your trash liners last longer, remember to use zero-waste products where you can and separate your waste into dry paper, aluminium, and glass waste. Get into the habit of recycling and try your hand at composting. That way, your trash can will be slower to fill up, and less liners will be needed!

Zero-waste alternative: Biodegradable Trash Liners

For food storage

At ZeroWasteStore, we’re big fans of reducing food waste by storing leftovers in your fridge. To make it even more sustainable, swap single-use baggies and containers for reusable alternatives.

Stasher Bags come in different sizes, so you can store anything from nuts and dried fruit to soups and smoothies. They can be reused for years, keeping thousands of single-use baggies out of landfills, and making them a cheap plastic bag alternative.

You can also use airtight containers you already own – like empty mason jars, takeout containers, and biscuit tins – to store food.

Zero-waste alternative:

For grocery shopping

You might be accustomed to putting all of your fresh produce in the provided plastic bags when you go grocery shopping, but it’s a habit that’s easy to ditch.

Bring a cotton mesh produce bag to stock up on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Versatile, washable, and sturdy, these bags are convenient plastic grocery bag alternatives – not to mention they look much cuter than their equivalents!

If you’re looking to avoid buying anything new, and already have a collection of plastic grocery bags at home, put a couple in your car trunk so you can reuse them when you head to the store.

Zero-waste alternative:

For clothes shopping

Is it just us, or is it super frustrating when you intentionally shop second-hand or from sustainable brands, only to have the clothes handed to you in a single-use plastic bag when you leave?

To prevent this from happening, bring a bag with you on your shopping trip so you can politely decline the plastic one you’re offered. This might be an upcycled bag from another shop, a backpack, or a cute tote bag you can use time and time again.

Our Organic Tote bag says ‘More Planet Less Plastic’ - the perfect message to take with you as you hit the shops!

Zero-waste alternative: Organic Cotton More Planet Less Plastic Tote Bag

For pet waste

The special kind of love we have for our pets means we turn a blind eye to a lot of things – such as picking up their poop! That said, you don’t have to ignore your sustainable values when you’re looking after your precious pets.

Instead of using single-use plastic bags, take biodegradable pet waste bags on your walkies. They’re certified biodegradable and compostable and can be paired with our leash dispenser for easy use.

As for cats, you can scoop up the poop from their litter tray using plant-based cat litter bags. A sustainable home doesn’t have to be a smelly one - the chemical-free bags are odor-blocking, and you can even use the same one for multiple poop scoops!

Zero-waste alternative:

Final Thoughts: Ditch the Plastic Bags for Sustainable September

With these 10 zero waste alternatives to plastic bags, you can easily rethink your plastic habits and find new ways to make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

Since it’s sustainable September, why not dedicate the next 4 weeks to ditching plastic bags for good – who knows, you might just find the good habits stick!

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