A recipe for success: Ditch single-use plastic bags with Alice Zaslavsky

Published: 7 December 2022

Melbourne-based cook, food writer and ‘vegelante’ Alice Zaslavsky knows that reducing waste is a key ingredient in creating Victoria’s sustainable future.

Alice is an ambassador for Sustainability Victoria’s Small Acts, Big Impact campaign.

“I'm rapt to be working with Sustainability Victoria on this new campaign, which is making it easier for all Victorians to reduce waste and recycle correctly,” Alice says.

The campaign is supporting Victorians to recycle more and reduce waste by making small changes at home.

Plastic bags, together with other single-use plastic items such as water bottles and straws, make up one third of the litter we see on Victoria’s streets and in our parks and waterways.

Choose to reuse

The best way to reduce single-use plastic waste is to avoid it in the first place.

“I’m choosing to take my sustainable, reusable bags when I go on the road,” Alice says.

Remembering to take your reusable bags every time you shop helps to reduce the number of plastic bags piling up in landfill, littering our environment and harming wildlife.

“Just by doing the switcheroo to reusable shopping bags and remembering to take them every time you shop, you’ll be saving natural resources, the planet and your dosh!”

By storing your reusable bags in a few convenient locations, you’ll always have some on hand for when you head to the shops.

“Make it easy for yourself by keeping a stash by the front door, where you keep your keys, in the boot of your car and a small one in your bag or backpack,” she says.

Tips from Alice

Alice has a bunch of ways to help you ditch the single-use plastics when you’re grabbing ingredients from the shops.

  • Buy your vegetables whole and loose – they're already in nature’s packaging. Foods like corn, pineapple, avocados, carrots and bananas don’t need to be put in a plastic bag!
  • Lettuce has outer leaves as packaging, but if you need to buy lettuce and other leaves loose, use a mesh bag, and if you forget these, grab a paper bag from the mushrooms. You can even bring the paper bags back and reuse for a couple of rotations.
  • For berries, try to find compostable packaging rather than plastic and for citrus, use your mesh bags for these as well.
  • At the bakery, grab your bread loose and pop it in a bread bag.
  • Take your own containers to the butcher and cheesemonger. You should be storing meat and cheese in containers before putting them in the fridge anyway because they last longer.
  • And lastly, store bags in bags, so you never run out!

Single-use plastics ban

In 2019, the Victorian Government implemented a ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take simple actions to remember your reusable shopping bags.

Other problematic single-use items have been banned as of February 2023, including straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, cotton bud sticks, and expanded polystyrene food. So start using reusables whenever you can. You’ll reduce your impact on the environment and save some dosh.

Sustainability Victoria’s A small act makes a big impact campaign highlights simple actions Victorians can do to collectively have a big impact on Victoria’s sustainable future.

Find small acts that work for you

There are many easy ways to reduce waste and recycle more. Find a small act that works for you and be part of Victoria’s sustainable future.