Plastic bags maybe convenient but they are no longer in fashion due to their negative impact on the environment. Instead of one-time use plastic bags for groceries, opt for compostable plastic bags or even better, recyclable cloth bags.

The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association reports the average Malaysian uses 300 plastic bags a year. With a population of 30 million, that means Malaysians use nine billion plastic bags each year.

Plastic bags can last hundreds of years in a landfill and they disintegrate into tiny, toxic particles that can contaminate soil and water.

Families can play their part by adopting sustainable living methods. Here are a few tips:-

The last straw

It is the first step in mindfulness towards straws, including cocktail straws, bendy straws and stirrers. These items gradually breakdown and turn into microplastic that lead into toxins in water. Opt for alternatives made from bamboo, metal or silicone.

Carry your own water bottle from home

One-time use plastic water bottles are one of the biggest polluters. Use stainless steel bottles or glass bottles as they are durable and kinder to the environment.

Refuse plastic bags and containers

Say no to plastic bags. Invest in a small portable cloth bags to carry groceries. Store food items like vegetables, meat and fish in re-usable containers. Purchase dry food like rice, flour and sugar from bulk shops (kedai runcit). These items can be weighed and transferred directly into re-usable containers.

Hanky vs pre-packed tissue paper

These small hand towels are often made of cotton and reusable. The next time you reach out for a paper towel in the toilet, opt for your hanky instead.

Upcycle and recycle

Instead of throwing away old things, try to think of new ways to reuse them. Turn used plastic bottles as garden planters. You can upcycle old jam jars into mugs too. All you need is some creative and fun!