Are you still using traditional plastic bags? In Malaysia, a big change is happening.
The once common sight of single-use plastic bags, HDPE bags, garbage bags, clear plastic bags and IDPE plastic bags is giving way to something more sustainable and responsible. The country is not just following a trend but leading a necessity-driven shift towards eco-friendly alternatives.
Why is there an urgent need to get away from bags that are not biodegradable?
There are several reasons to move away from single use bags. However, just four startling statistics would be enough to explain why a change is needed.
- I. We dump 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste in our oceans. It is like emptying a garbage truck full of plastic into the sea every minute, threatening marine life and ecosystems.
- II. It takes 1,000 years to decompose non-biodegradable plastics and break them down.
- III. About 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die owing to mistakenly eating plastic items for food, leading to ingestion and fatal consequences.
- IV. The world produces 300 million metric tonnes of plastic per year, half of which is for single-use purposes, which causes significant environmental damage.
Along with these, even wildlife is at risk, as animals can ingest or become entangled in these non-biodegradable items.
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Plastic Bags – A Responsible Way to Sustainability
As environmental awareness spreads, choosing eco-friendly alternatives to single use plastic bags becomes important.
This shift towards sustainable options reflects responsible consumer behaviour, enabling a greener and more sustainable future. The following are some of the most common alternatives:
1. Paper Bags
Made from renewable resources, they are biodegradable and recyclable. These bags are extremely easy on the environment as they tend to decompose in about 30 days. Another good aspect of paper bags is that they seldom leave any harmful residues.
2. Cotton Bags
One of the best reasons to adopt the use of cotton bags is them being washable and reusable – a single cotton bag can be put to use multiple times with ease. This instantly makes them a viable alternative to the non-biodegradable single use plastics that are prevalent.
3. OXO Biodegradable Bags
Oxo-biodegradable plastics are a specific type of plastic that breaks down more quickly when exposed to oxygen, turning into harmless, biodegradable material within a span of a few months to a few years.
4. Polypropylene (PP) Bags
PP bags are gaining popularity and are being used widely for two reasons – they are very light in weight and can be easily recycled. Many shops in Malaysia are now using PP bags to help the environment and be more sustainable.
5. Nylon Bags
Although synthetic in nature, nylon bags are reusable and durable. They have contributed to a 7% reduction in plastic bag usage in the country.
6. Polyester Bags
Polyester bags are another reusable option, contributing to a 6% decrease in plastic bag consumption in Malaysia.
All in All
The nation’s embrace of eco-friendly alternatives like paper, cotton, PP, nylon, polyester, and OXO biodegradable bags is more than a fashion statement; it’s a pledge to our planet.