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ABC Green at Work Australian Broadcasting Corporation

ABC Green at Work Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Green at Work Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Yep they can be recycled Sandra - theyre made of a plastic called polypropylene, and once theyre worn out you just drop them off at your supermarkets plastic bag collection centre.

But unlike regular polyethylene shopping bags that can get recycled here in Austraila, green eco bags have to be shipped overseas.

The polypropylene the green bags are made of can be recycled, but the stitching that holds them together cant. So before any green bag is recycled all those stitches have to be unpicked and separated from the plastic. Its very labour intensive, and unless youre paying very low wages you cant hope to turn a profit from the recycled product.

Which is where shipping the bags to China comes in. If Chinese workers received the same pay as workers here do it wouldnt be profitable to recycle the green bags there either, and theyd all end up in landfill. Talk about your ethical dilemma.

So green bags save on landfill, energy and material - but only if you use them a couple of hundred times and then drop them off at your supermarket for recycling. And because they look less like jellyfish we shouldnt see too many turtles choking on the ones that make it into the wild.