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Zero Waste Challenge | BYO Bag

zero waste challenge

Welcome to the first day of the Zero Waste Challenge. I am glad you could make it. I have created this challenge for you to take one step at a time.

Going zero waste is a process that takes a while.

You can take it day by day designed for you to be successful on your journey to become zero waste.

I get it; why can’t we start tackling everything at once? Often that leads to defeat. So let’s avoid that, shall we?

Trust me on this one, do a little bit every day and develop some new habits, and that’s it. Enough is going on as it is. So without further ado, I give you the 31 days to zero waste challenge.

The Problem:

Worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute. ~ data from 2014

The energy used to make 12 plastic bags can run a car for 1 mile.

100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement, and these are the ones found.

Approximately 1 million seabirds die from plastic each year.

Sea Turtles confuse them with their favorite food, the jellyfish

The solution

Now, most of you probably have reusable shopping bags somewhere in a drawer at home or in the basement. Pull them out, perhaps dust them off or even give it a quick wash and make it a habit to keep at least two in your car at all times.

This is what we call a BYO bag here at the zerowasteman!

If you don’t own a reusable shopping bag, there are some really clever ones out there. I have one that is made from parachute material. It folds to the size of a little ball and is just attached to my keychain. This way, you always have it with you.

byo bag

Turn it into a habit

How often did we put out a tote bag in the car only to race into the supermarket and then realize that we left the bag in the car?

Now, if you don’t want to go back to your car and perhaps if you are only buying one or two items, see if you can carry them and avoid the plastic bag at the cash register by kindly saying no thanks.

Another option I sometimes do is if I see a cardboard box on the supermarket’s display shelf, grab the box and fill it up with my produce. Reused that box, baby!

You will most likely start to remember your tote bag, and if you decide to get a nice one with a cool logo that says something like I like turtles, you will want to show it off.

Buy a bag

Here are some options if you want or need to buy a reusable bag.

Life without plastic reusable organic cotton bags:

Plastic Pollution Coalition
Buy Here

The Plastic Pollution Coalition Tote Bag goes for $26.

lifewithoutplastic tote

This one is not a cheapy, it goes for $52.

Suppose you don’t own a bag. I recommend you go and buy a reusable bag, preferably made from organic cotton.

The plastic “reusable” bags still cost many resources to create, and once they break, you can’t fix them. I just had this happen to me.

Try to get a cotton bag, that you can stitch together once it breaks.

Otherwise, get creative, and perhaps one of your old jeans has come to the end of its lifecycle. Turn it into a bag! 
I would love to see your creative ideas on Instagram with #zerowasteman.

Happy creating!

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16 thoughts on “Zero Waste Challenge | BYO Bag”

  1. Hey there,

    Having reusable BYO items is a great way to avoid environmental pollution, especially when this involves plastic. BYO bags, multi-use straws, coffee cups, and cutlery use is one of the best ways to reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.

    I use these BYO bags for groceries and this is a great solution.



  2. I have been adjusting to using bio bags for a year now. And the hard is really to remember to carry the bag all the time. Fortunately, in my country, the use of plastic bags has been prohibited (unless it is the product packaging). So, what happens to me is that I have to buy new ones when I forget. But, I am getting use to it now. I keep a shopping bag with me all the time.

    Are there any standards about what we can call bio bag? Or is it just any bag not made of plastic that we can re-use.


  3. Plastic is indeed a huge problem for the life of our planet… I have seen several videos online of dead birds and sea lions and whales which are covered in plastic. This has become a plague.

    I have two reusable bags and I am using them all the time. Where can I find a bag like this that you have in your keychain? I would really like to buy one!

    • Hi Harry and thanks for your comment. The keychain bag is from a  company in Australia called onya bags. Here is the link from a similar model. All the best.

  4. Hi

    Here I’m reading a very useful article. As we know, in the marine environment, the plastic bag, takes a second to produce, 20 minutes on average to use and causes infection for more than 450 years until it completely disintegrates. Plastic bags are fatal. This is a very serious risk to the marine ecosystem, but also to public health.

      BYO bag you propose is a very good idea for everyone. We have to learn our children that the continuation of life on the planet for many species depends on the disappearance of the plastic bag from our culture.

    Thank you for reminding us, Thodoris.

  5. You have made some great points here on why we all need to put an extra effort into trying to use less plastic in our lives. Just saving the animals is reason enough. I often wonder who exactly invented plastic. It is a useful yet toxic solution to storage.

    I always use my bags again and again until they have holes in them and always keep some folded up in my handbag so I never have to ask for a bag. I love the idea of the one made of parachute material that folds up small and keeps on your keyring. What a novel idea.

  6. Thanks for this post, I think many people need to see this; we some times affect other beautiful creatures in this world negatively with our activities, just imagine the confuse turtle example you cited. The solution you gave will go a long way. Thanks again for this post, we need more awareness like this. 


  7. We all need to do more to protect our Planet and environment, especially us 50-somethings who will be handing it over to our children, etc.

    Re-using, with products such as these, is definitely a step in the right direction, as is re-cycling.

    Having said that, there’s a lot of ‘noise’ out there which can drown out some key facts in the great environment debate.

    In itself, plastic isn’t the problem. The problem is people who irresponsibly dispose of plastic and governments who don’t do anything with all the plastic that is responsibly disposed of, other than send it to landfill.

    Plastic can be re-cycled and it’s both surprising and worrying how many people don’t realize this. It can be turned into lots of useful things and it’s durability means it lasts a lot longer than other material. Decking, for example, is something many people have in their gardens. Plastic decking, which is usually made from re-cycled previously used plastic, can be made to look so much like wood you can’t tell it’s not. And it lasts far longer than wood decking and therefore has less of a negative impact on the environment in the long term. 

    Oil is used to make plastic, and there is a re-cycling method called pryrolysis which turns the plastic back into fuel providing a cheaper, re-cycled source of energy and the process uses up 8 x less co2 than glass re-cycling.

    Education in responsible behaviour with regards to re-cycling, re-using and properly disposing of our waste is critical. 

    Only with that education, will people become aware of and use things like re-usable bags.

    Your very relevant article gives us the nudge in the right direction we so often need and hopefully lots of people will read it and heed it.

    • Thanks for your input, Richard. 

      While it is true that you can recycle plastics it often is a very costly process and much cheaper to just create virgin plastic for the companies. Now, with all the so-called bioplastics, it is almost impossible to recycle some because they get thrown in with all the “normal” plastics and actually contaminate the badge. It can only be hand sorted which is costly and crazy if you ask me. 

       I think we need more projects like the pyrolysis and reusing the plastics we already have. Upgraded waste management systems and well a heck of a lot less plastic anywhere near food or drinks.


  8. Hi Hendrik! Wow, I had no idea that many plastic bags were consumed each year. The statistics you provided are jaw-dropping and that information alone is enough to make anyone realize that we need to change our ways. I, personally, could be more mindful of always bringing my own bag into stores. Sometimes I forget and I need to be more intentional with BYO bag! It’s so important to the environment that we get it under control. Using cotton bags is a good point too. Mine are some kind of plastic material, but when they wear out, I will be sure to replace them with cotton.
    Thanks for the great information!

    • Excellent stuff, Jessica. I hear you; it’s super easy to forget them, hence why it is beneficial to throw one bag in your car one in your backpack and one no your keychain. I know the statistics are scary! Yet it is such a simple thing to do:)


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