Social experiment: How much plastic do we consume?

In the Republic of Moldova, every citizen uses an average of 140 disposable bags annually, that is, we all use about 420 million in total. They decompose in a few hundred years, and during combustion they emit toxic gases that we breathe and that poison the environment.

This situation is also very alarming at the global level. Billions of tons of plastic bags end up in oceans, soils and forests, poisoning both fauna and flora across the planet. One of these cases is that of the whale "pregnant" with 22 kg of plastic, found dead on a beach in Italy, as quoted by the news site

Without realizing it, every day, we use a very large number of plastic bags that are useful for us only for an hour, while we come from the market to home, from where they go straight to the trash. Millions of bags become waste, pollute both soil and water, harm animals, birds and plants, depriving them of a natural and healthy environment.

To improve the ecological situation and maintain a healthy standard of living, more and more people are starting to reduce the number of bags in their daily activities. For these reasons, we carried out an experiment that would prove that we use plastic and plastic bags in excess.

Thus, I went to a market in the capital to make the necessary purchases for an ordinary day. I bought: bread, rice, buckwheat, buns, hot chocolate, fruit. All packed in plastic bags. Then I put them all in a big plastic bag, also bought at the store.

The result: 12 plastic packets.


I went the next day with canvas bags and once again took everything necessary for an ordinary day. I bought again: bread in a paper bag, rice and buckwheat in the cloth bags that I prepared ahead of time, buns - in paper, the fruits without bags. I took everything in a large canvas bag. At home, I moved the cereal from the cloth bag to glass jars, so that it would be better preserved.

Result: Zero plastic packages.

We found, however, that if we want to buy cereal without packaging, we need to pay attention to several aspects. Nutritionist Maria Victoria Racu recommends choosing cereals that are kept in closed places, because:

Alexandra Kosareva, the founder of the Zero Waste Moldova project, says that in Moldova there are more and more young people who are aware that they do not use plastic. Even some stores have become more environmentally responsible. "We have shops like Bonus, Velmart, Fourchet, Gourmet, where you can take the grain on the scale, in your cloth bags. We also have farmers markets. Every Saturday the Eco Local Market is organized (near Kentford), where you can easily buy milk in your bottles, meat from local producers. And that's wonderful."

"Storing grain in open places involves a health risk, primarily from a hygienic point of view. Dust, foreign particles, but also microorganisms that can migratein open containers can have an impact on the health of the consumer, especially if the cereals are not to be thermally processed. Even food poisoning is possible. In addition, direct sunlight can also affect the concentration of vitamins in the grain. Fats are more likely to spoil, a process called "rancidity". Thus, the grain acquires an unpleasant smell and a bitter taste."

Zero Waste Moldova is an organization that creates cloth bags and nets for fruits and vegetables. They have a wide range of pastiche-free products, from cereal bags to wooden-handled toothbrushes.

According to the Law on internal trade, amended in 2017, starting from January 2019, plastic bags, with or without a handle, with a wall thickness equal to or greater than 50 microns are prohibited for sale. Plastic bags with a wall thickness of less than 15 microns will be banned from January 2021, except for those used as packaging.

Author: Cristina JABINSCHI, 

School of Advanced Studies in Journalism