Posted on the 28th June 2018

The International Plastic Bag Free Day is now in its ninth year and in 2018 it will be celebrated on Tuesday 3 July. Scores of organisations and hundreds of citizens around the world will take action to raise awareness on the environmental impact and hazards of single-use plastic bags, and promote more sustainable solutions. The International Plastic Bag Free Day is a unique opportunity to spread the word that a plastic bag free world is possible and that sound environmental alternatives to single use plastic bags are available.

Already countries such as Italy, Rwanda or Bangladesh have banned single use plastic bags. Each one of us can shop with reusable bags and many of these are available, often in support of conservation agencies, such as BirdLife South Africa. Further action can be taken by investigating outlets selling environmentally friendly alternative products to plastic. Many of these outlets are available throughout the country and the details below are given for those living in our home patch here in Hermanus.

It’s high time to create a Plastic Bag Free World, so join this campaign on the 3rd of July and refuse to us single use plastic bags.

Herewith some interesting and somewhat shocking information to be used in media releases and educational campaigns:

• 80% of marine litter is plastic

• On average plastic bags are only used for 25 minutes

• It takes between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate – depending on the type of plastic

• Around the world one million plastic bags are in use each minute

• 3.4 million tonnes of plastic shopping bags are produced in the European Union each year – this represents the weight of two million cars

• It is bad for the planet as it takes 100s of years to degrade – it not only pollutes the environment but actually directly harms many living organisms.

• It is badly designed: It doesn’t make sense to produce something that lasts 100s of years when it is going to be used for a few minutes. It is a contradiction that in a throw-away society nothing good lasts whilst bad products are forever.

• It is ugly and reusable bags are a lot cooler!

• It is bad for one’s attitude as it embodies the message of the throw-away society that is trashing the planet.

• It is unfair, because future generations will suffer from the pollution caused by plastic bags, without getting any of the benefit. Future generations don’t vote, but they count.

• It is made from crude oil – a finite resource.

• Pulverised plastic waste in the sea gets into the food chain.

• Ultimately it is expensive: Producers don’t take responsibility for the impact of their product. Plastic bags are cheap to produce but very expensive to clean from the environment. 

The information contained in this report was gleaned from Also join their Facebook page

The website further gives a comprehensive description of the various types of plastic bags, be it biodegradable or compostable, or not. This again represents important information to be aware of if one wants to contribute the creation of a single use plastic free environment.

Alternatives to Single Use Plastic products are already available in Hermanus: The Hermanus Eco Shop Project is at the Country Market on Saturdays and at Go Green / Hermanus Wormery in Dirkie Uys St, Hermanus {next to Plough Shed } 9.30 - 4.30. They promote alternatives to Single Use Plastic products such as Bamboo toothbrushes, Bamboo straws, stainless steel straws, natural soaps, earth friendly cleaning and garden products, reusable shopping bags, etc. Their prices are competitive and the products work! If anyone is interested they can send Fiona Matthes an email for a pricelist:




















PC THERON (posted: 2018-06-28 14:54:47)
I visited Rwanda about 5 years ago and on my way from Kigali to the park to do a trek to the gorillas the driver stopped. I was struck by how clean the countryside was. The poverty was evident, but there was no litter. I asked the driver where is the litter? Firstly, he said there are no plastic baggs. You go to a store and your purchases get placed in a paper bag. Secondly, on the last Saturday of each month everybody, from the president down, cleans up in their neighbourhood. Thirdly there are litter bins everywhere that are serviced. The cleanliness is the same as I experienced in Singapore - a rich country. Where there is a political will much can be achieved.