Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Sunday 6 January 2008

Plastic Bag RANT

I have spent ages today picking bits of plastic carrier bag out of our front hedge.....GGGGRRRHHHHH

We live MILES away from a town or village...there are NO shops nearby so WHAT are plastic carrier bags doing in our hedge???

I had to wrestle a bit out of the beaks of one of the hens!!! Imagine what THAT would have done to her insides~!!!

Well no I don't actually HAVE to...I am a member of the RSPB and have seen images of Albatross chicks dead due to being fed plastic bags by their unsuspecting parents who think the bits of plastic is food. If you watched a series of wildlife fund raising appeal programmes on BBC recently , you may well have seen the images, too. The skeletons of chicks, with where their stomachs USED to be, full of bits of plastic, which then blow out of the rotting carcasses to be eaten by some other poor unsuspecting wild bird or mammal.

Around 300 polythene bags per adult per annum is used globally. On average we use each plastic bag for approximately 12 minutes before disposing of it. It then lasts and lasts in the environment. The plastic bags last and last and a lot end up in the oceans....... Just because we can't BE BOTHERED to REMEMBER to take a shopping bag with us????

Plastic bags are NOT usually necessary...a cotton or jute bag is easy to roll up and carry with us, will do the job as well ( or better!) and when it reaches the end of its life can be composted...and in its lifetime will be used hundreds of times!!

Plastic bags are a petroleum product made from oil....an oh so precious resourse we are going to run out of sometime soon. Why on earth are we wasting a dwindling, oh so precious comodity on PLASTIC BAGS??? to carry STUFF in???? home from the shops, when we COULD be using cotton or Jute or Hemp or Canvas bags....?

When I am doing my "compostwoman " bit .............promoting discount compost bins for my local council........we give away free Jute shopping bags..and I get a real thrill to spot them when I am out and about...because I KNOW I have saved a bit of oil from being wasted as a plastic bag and a bit of plastic being used once ( or a couple of times).

So ......a PLEA....from me.

USE a recycleable or compostable bag and save wildlife and recources!! PLEASE!!!!


  1. Good rant, I agree whole-heartedly. I'm very glad your hen was spared a nasty fate.

    I always try to decline plastic bags, take my own when I go shopping and keep them to reuse or dispose of them responsibly, and yet I still seem to have a huge stash on the back of my kitchen door. I don't understand how I'm always refusing them and am still acquiring them faster than I use them. =s I used to work in a farm shop and was horrified by how many bags we gave out and how many people would use them to carry just one little item to the car.

    So from now on, I've decided to give 10p to charity for every plastic bag I am unable or too embarrassed to turn down. Can you think of any charities where my money could go specifically to helping the effects of stray plastic bags on wildlife?

  2. WHAT a good idea Hamster!!

    Well the RSPB are a good one..but what about the one in the title of my rant?? click on the title to go there...

    or Surfers Against Sewerage campaign on this issue...

    I will find out more and post again on my blog...but thanks for the support!!!!

  3. Hamster - I am with you on wondering how there are so many. I never ever accept a plastic carrier bag and yet they are always enough to use as bin bags. Where do they come from?

    Compostwoman - My biggest stash of plastic bag ware comes from buying pulses/cereal/nuts/dried fruit. I would love to be plastic bag free but it just seems an impossibility.

  4. As well as being hold heartedly in agreement with the plastic bag issue can I second the donations to the RSPB please :-)

  5. RSPB it is then!

    I've been really good so far. Not a single one yet! I'm starting to feel a bit bad that I'm not giving any money to charity, but then that's the whole point, isn't it....


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.