20 C
Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Mandy Nolans Soap Box: Every bin has a single lining

Latest News

My own pandemic imaginations

Robert Podhajsky, Ocean Shores Imagination is a powerful mechanism; I must admit I get unsettled with my own pandemic imaginations...

Other News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 7 April, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 7 April, 2021

Brunswick Heads surf lifesaver wins gold 

Brunswick Heads surf lifesaver Paul ‘Punchy’ Davis won gold in the 600m paddle board race

Wooing the discerning gin drinker with Husk Botanic

Husk founder, Paul Messenger, introduces his new Husk Botanic – a fresh cane spirit, designed to be mixed with...

Refugees to benefit from Palm Sunday rally

Refugees living in Brisbane on final departure visas will directly benefit from donations made at the recent Ballina Region for Refugees Palm Sunday rally.

Interview with Dan Willis

Dan Willis brings Best of British back to the Byron Comedy Festival. It was a sellout last year, with the audience confirming it as one of the favourite shows of the program. Dan is back – this time with Rory Lowe and John Flynn, and spoke with The Echo…

Take a ticket

Council’s Draft Complaint Handling Policy is on exhibition! It’s a document that, if drafted carefully, could provide the public with confidence that Council take complaints seriously and accountability will apply when a complaint is found to be true.

Every bin has a single lining

Just over 12 months ago I stopped using plastic bags. After seeing picture of the devastating impacts one billion-plus bags per day have on our environment.

It’s hard to use a plastic bag guilt free one you’ve seen one kill a turtle. Or choke a fish. Or wash up on beaches throughout Indonesia. Or know that it’s releasing toxic chemicals into the soil.

We eventually eat food infused with plastic. The plastic isn’t just in our environment, it’s in our bloodstream. The carry-bag carnage is a hideous reminder of our single-use society. There’s something nihilistic about a society that has so little regard for the future that it creates something that will only be used once.

The underpinning belief system is that we won’t be here much longer. And with that kind of attitude, we won’t. It’s depressing. A person can feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the changes required with a sense that nothing you do will make a difference. But it does.

I decided that eliminating my plastic-bag use was one small action that I could do. I calculated that I was using at least 20 single-use plastic bags each week, so in a year I have not used 1,040 plastic bags. That’s a shitload of plastic. If 15 million people in Australia are regular shoppers and if they use 10 bags a week then thats 8.7 billion bags not ending up in the environment.

As of July this year single-use plastic bags will be banned nationwide. In the lead-up to the ban, a few of the major retailers such as Coles and Woolies have trialled the no-plastic-bags policy to monitor feedback from customers.

Woolies in Mullum is one of the stores that has attempted to go bag free. You’d think in a largely hippy town where we are supposed to embrace eco-friendly and sustainable values that we would have been right behind the initiative. Not entirely so.

Just the other day I stood behind some dude at the checkout who was losing his tiny mind. ‘What am I going to use as my bin liner now?’ he ranted at the 17-year-old attempting to serve him. He was really upset about it. I wonder how boring this dude’s life is to get that emotional about bin liners. I think of him at home carefully lining his bin with his single-use plastic bag, patting himself on the back for being such an environmental champion with his second use. He’s still yelling at the kid.

Here’s some advice for anyone who yells at kids with part-time jobs in retail. Get a life. Go and yell at the manager. Yell at the CEO. Don’t yell at the pimply faced kid with an anxiety disorder wearing the Fresh Food People name tag. And for god’s sake don’t yell about bin liners. If I were going to yell about anything in public it would be something that matters, such as human rights and world poverty or someone stealing my park. Not my right to free bin liners. That’s just sad.

How about this for an idea: don’t buy so much. If you don’t buy much then you don’t need many bags, especially if you are using your reusables. And if you don’t buy much, you use what you buy then hopefully you don’t need to throw much out.

I remember our bin when I was a kid. Call us filthy pigs but we didn’t use a bin liner. We just hosed it out after we emptied it. That’s how we made bin juice. Every couple of days I emptied the kitchen bin into the metal garbage bin outside. It would contain possibly a quarter of the rubbish my regular wheelie bin contains. We rarely filled it. We recycled all our bottles and we put paper in the garden. The chooks ate our food scraps. We weren’t environmentalists. We were poor country folk and we just didn’t consume much.

We never threw stuff away because we always had less than we needed in our cupboards, not more. We didn’t buy pre-packaged or processed foods because in the 1970s that sort of stuff wasn’t really available. People bought less, they ate less, they threw away less. Consequently they didn’t yell at people at the supermarket about bin liners.

So next time you see someone going nuts about single-use plastic as free bin liners, take one for the team, and give them a serve.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Mandy, why do you throw plastic bags in the water? If you used it as a bin liner the birds and fish would be safe. Will you please write another rant next week asking the greens to expand their tiny minds and ask for a ban on all single use plastic, not just plastic bags. Maybe an article about plastic water bottles, and then one about plastic takeaway containers, and then…Or maybe just ask them to deal with all the waste plastics in one campaign.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Inspector condemns prisoner health services

In the forward to the Inspector of Custodial Services Report published last month, Fiona Rafter Inspector of Custodial Services says that the provision of health services to inmates in New South Wales custodial facilities is a complex and challenging responsibility.

The importance of talking about ovaries

Brother and sister clothing designers Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman are, were 11 and 13 respectively when their mother died of ovarian cancer.

Dead rats in the Byron bubble?

Poppa Veet Mayo, Main Arm Am I the only one who can smell a dead rat in this bubble called the Byron Shire? Hear it happened...

Linen SHIFT project urgently needs new home

With a vision to disrupt the cycle of women’s homelessness, the Linen SHIFT project was born to provide unique individual support and education for at-risk women in a safe residential environment, but today they they have been forced to close.