71 posts categorized "General Interest"

June 29, 2007

Alderman moves to ban plastic shopping bags

Capitalonline.com 06.29.07

Plastic bags of nearly every size and color known for carrying groceries, fast food and sometimes beer may become a thing of the past if Mr. Shropshire, D-Ward 7, has his way. He plans to introduce a bill to the City Council this summer prohibiting the distribution of plastic bags, with fines as high as $500 for violators.

Mr. Shropshire is calling for only recyclable paper bags or reusable bags to be used in an effort to help save the environment.

The move would put Annapolis on par with other cities that earlier this year banned plastic bags.

Link: Alderman moves to ban plastic shopping bags

Kenya: Plastics' Tug-of-War

allAfrica.com 06.11.07

As Kenya chokes from an environmental crisis caused by plastic waste, efforts to battle the catastrophe over the years have come to naught.

Conservationists are blaming two culprits: The public, which has refused to shift from plastic shopping bags to environment-friendly ones, and manufacturers, who are frustrating clean-up efforts.
Africa 2007

Nobel laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, has been at the forefront in pleading with Kenyans to stop using plastic bags. She wants shoppers to carry kiondos, but they continue to use plastic bags with abandon.

Link: Kenya: Plastics' Tug-of-War

Plastic foam, grocery bags could end up on Seattle hit list

226trash_file_b Seattlepi.com 06.07.07

An effort to curb the amount of waste being dumped in landfills and gunking up the environment includes the possibility of banning foam containers used for restaurant to-go food. A ban on the ubiquitous plastic grocery bags is also on the table.

"It's a major sustainability issue," Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin said. "How do we change our philosophical approach that waste is not something that is thrown out, but something that is integrated, the way nature does it?"

Link: Plastic foam, grocery bags could end up on Seattle hit list

Sack It to Them

The Boston Glove 05.20.07

In case you’ve missed the growing anti-bag movement, which focuses on non-biodegradable plastic bags but also takes a swipe at paper, you should know that there are now two Americas. One is full of people clicking onto websites such as 1bagatatime.com and reusablebags.com and learning that non-biodegradable plastic bags not only choke turtles and whales but also take 1,000 years to decompose in landfills, contribute to global warming, and, because they’re made of polyethylene, increase our dependency on foreign oil. The other is inhabited by those who think no purchase is too small or lightweight (e.g. chewing gum) to warrant bagging.

Link: Sack It to Them

Council panel OKs plastic bag ban

San Francisco Chronicle 06.27.07

A measure to ban plastic bags from grocery stores and other large retailers in Oakland was unanimously passed by a key City Council committee Tuesday. 

The measure, which is very similar to a ban adopted in San Francisco, will be sent on to the full council next week and if approved will take effect in August. 

Under the measure sponsored by Councilwomen Nancy Nadel and Jean Quan, any retailer grossing more than $1 million a year would be banned from using the nonbiodegradable plastic bags. Nadel said that 10 percent of petroleum is used to create plastic so that reducing the use of bags will help the environment in multiple ways. 

"Californians use 19 billion plastic disposable bags each year, and throw away 600 every second," Nadel said. "These bags are made from oil, so reducing their use will serve the mission of the 'Oil Independent Oakland by 2020' " task force established last year.

Link: Council panel OKs plastic bag ban

June 28, 2007

Howard Stern Rants About Plastic Bags

Sirius Radio 03.28.07

Hear Howard Stern's comments on plastic bags upon San Francisco's announcement to be the first US city to ban plastic grocery bags:

"In this country, there are so many (plastic) bags. We bag everything - we bag our bags, we have bags for our bags. It is outrageous. All this plastic has nowhere to go, it's tremendous waste amount of garbage, and it's a completely wasteful things all these plastic bags."

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May 28, 2007

Green-minded pair hope to have UN award in the bag

theage.com.au 05.28.07

Two school children have beaten off adult competition from around Australia to dazzle the United Nations with their campaign to banish plastic shopping bags from Armstrong Street in Middle Park, Australia. And, after the project reduced plastic bag use in the shopping strip by 34 per cent in its first four months, they have been selected as finalists for the United Nations Association of Australia's 2007 World Environment Day Awards.

Link: Green-minded pair hope to have UN award in the bag

May 11, 2007

Fast tills for green shoppers

The Scotsman 05.11.07

A SUPERMARKET in Edinburgh is to pilot a scheme of "green tills" allowing shoppers who are not using plastic carrier bags to get through the checkouts faster.  Waitrose, in Morningside, is to hold a two-week trial where customers who use the special tills will not be given plastic bags, but have to bring their own bags.  The move is designed to promote the reuse and recycling of carrier bags - and to help Waitrose assess how customers would react to a "bag-less supermarket" in future.

Our Take: Our Newsroom documents many of the creative ways that cities and stores are dealing with limiting the use of plastic bags. We thought Edinburgh's pilot project was interesting.

Link: Fast tills for green shoppers

May 10, 2007

Totes goods, saves the planet, costs a bunch

Los Angeles Times 05.07.07

There's paper. There's plastic. Then there's the $960 reusable Hermes shopping bag. Originally designed for discerning Europeans, it hits America this summer, and if it sounds like an exotic fluke, consider the new $843 grocery tote by Italian designer Consuelo Castiglioni of Marni. Or the $495 organic cotton canvas shopper, due out in June from Stella McCartney. Or the now-famous I'm Not a Plastic bag by the British handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, which has been selling at more than ten times its $15 price on Ebay.

Our Take: Reusable bags are going mainstream and a little over the top... It's great to see fashionistas getting behind the cause, but let's dispel with eco-gimmicks and get real!

Link: Totes goods, saves the planet, costs a bunch

May 04, 2007

Massachusetts Senator to file plastic bag tax legislation

Capecodtimes_2 Cape Cod Times

In the next two weeks state Sen. Brian Joyce, D-Braintree, will file legislation that calls for gradually increasing the fee stores will charge consumers for plastic grocery bags, starting next year at 2 cents a bag. The idea is that consumers will reuse the bags several times before throwing them away or use cloth shopping bags.

His proposition comes on the heels of a plastic bag ban adopted by the city of San Francisco in April. A similar measure was recently proposed in Boston.

"I would really support doing something to eliminate one-time use bags, said Brian Goins, general manager of Bourne's Department of Integrated Solid Waste Management. "It's a waste"

Joyce's legislation will provide a sliding fee for each plastic bag given out by a store, starting at 2 cents and increasing to 15 cents by 2014.

His legislation would also make reusable bags, which are already sold at grocery stores, tax deductible. Foods that require plastic bags for freshness - such as meats - would be exempt from the fee. Paper bags are not mentioned in the legislation.

Link: Should we pay for plastic shopping bags?.

April 24, 2007

Plastic Bags fill trash despite recycling available

Yakima Herald

...Plastic grocery sacks [are everywhere] except where they're supposed to be: in the recycling bin.

"They're a huge cause of litter, a very messy problem," says Mikal Heintz with the Yakima County's solid waste division.

Most grocery stores in Yakima have receptacles near their front doors for customers to recycle their used plastic bags.

Yet, we're not. Americans recycle less than 1 percent of the grocery bags leaving the store.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research agency, Americans throw away 100 billion polyethylene (plastic grocery sacks) every year...

Link: Plastic Bags fill trash despite recycling available.

April 20, 2007

Grocery Stores Asking Shoppers to Bring Their Own Bags

The Ithaca Journal

How often do you hear a supermarket cashier ask, “Paper or plastic?”

In recent years, that question has more or less gone by the wayside. For the most part, checkers automatically pack groceries in the less expensive plastic unless directed by customers to do otherwise...

B.Y.O. Bag is the greener grocer's new rallying cry, as many supermarkets have started selling inexpensive, reusable plastic bags (in addition to longstanding canvas and cloth bags) in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

What's fueling this sea change toward conservation? Just gaze along litter-strewn roadsides, in wind-swept alley corners or up in tree branches...

“The worst spot we see in the city is the (one-acre) rose garden at Maplewood. Just this spring we had 2,000 plastic bags stuck on the thorns,” notes Jim Farr, Rochester's assistant director of recreation...

Link: Grocery Stores Asking Shoppers to Bring Their Own Bags.

April 09, 2007

Top Tips to Stop Global Warming - Reuse Your Bags

Reuse Your Bags

Paper or plastic? Neither -- bring a reusable bag. According to 'An Inconvienent Truth,' it takes 12 million barrels of oil  to produce the plastic bags Americans use each year. In addition, about 15 million trees are cut down to produce paper for paper bags. Help reduce oil consumption and save trees by bringing your own bag on your next trip to the store.

Link: Top Tips to Stop Global Warming

March 28, 2007

San Francisco to ban plastic grocery bags

StorybagsapReuters 03.28.07

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets to help promote recycling. Under the legislation, beginning in six months large supermarkets and drugstores will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum products. "Many [foreign] cities and nations have already implemented very similar legislation," said Ross Mirkarimi, the city legislator who championed the new law. "It's astounding that San Francisco would be the first U.S. city to follow suit."

Continue reading "San Francisco to ban plastic grocery bags" »

March 23, 2007

ReusableBags.com Founder Interviewed by ABC News

ReusableBags.com founder Vincent Cobb interviewed by ABC News about IKEA implementing a charge for plastic bags, BYOB (bring your own bag) trends in the U.S. and other "banning the plastic bag" initiatives.

Link: Video interview - ABC News.

February 21, 2007

IKEA to charge nickel for plastic bags


Ikeabag PHILADELPHIA - Sweden's IKEA will charge U.S. customers five cents for disposable plastic shopping bags in what the international furniture giant said on Wednesday was a first step to ending their use altogether.

IKEA said the decision to stop giving away free bags to customers aimed to reduce the estimated 100 billion bags thrown away by all U.S. consumers each year.

IKEA is believed to be first retailer in the United States to undertake such a program, according to National Retail Federation spokesman Scott Krugman.

Link: IKEA to charge nickel for plastic bags.

September 06, 2005

Ten Ways to Re-Use and Re-cycle Plastic Bags


1) Re-Use as a grocery bag. Simply place a few in your purse or pocket before shopping.

2) Re-Use as packing material. Wad the bags up and pack around the materials to be packed.

3) Re-Use them as trash bags. They are perfect to line small household waste baskets. You can use the handles to tie them shut when they full.

4) Cut into strips to make into a washable placemat or rug. (See pattern below)

5) Storage bags. Simply store and hang items you need to put away.

6) Make Into rope by Finger Crocheting. You can use this rope for a clothes line, or a child's jump rope.

7) Hanging Planter. There are expensive plastic bags on the market which are just plastic with some holes speared in them. You can hang the plant anywhere. Just use two or three plastic bags together for strength and then fill with dirt and plants. Water regularly.

8) Emergency Rain hats. Tie one over your coif for rain protection.

9) Emergency Diaper (nappy) cover. In a pinch a plastic grocery or bread bag makes a nice emergency disposable cover!

10) Washable Shelf Liners. Cut and tack for a nice washable shelf liner.

Link: Ten Ways to Re-Use and Re-cycle Plastic Bags - Frugal Living.

December 06, 2004

The Bag Beast

Environmentally Speaking by Michael Jessen

They're cheap, functional, lightweight, resource efficient, moisture resistant � and too popular! The seemingly innocuous plastic bag is under attack around the world as countries from Ireland to Australia seek to tax or ban them.

Relied on by consumers to do everything from carrying groceries to scooping up doggie do and disposing of garbage, plastic bag use has mushroomed in North America and Western Europe. Factories churned out an astounding four to five trillion of them in 2002, ranging from large trash bags to thick shopping totes to flimsy grocery sacks.

"Every time we use a new plastic bag they go and get more petroleum from the Middle East and bring it over in tankers," says Stephanie Barger, ERF's executive director. "We are extracting and destroying the Earth to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes."

Link: The Bag Beast.

September 02, 2003

Are Plastic Grocery Bags Sacking the Environment?

National Geographic News

Between 500 billion and a trillion plastic grocery bags are consumed worldwide each year, according to some estimates. Cheap, sturdy, lightweight, and easy-to-carry, the bags use a fraction of the resources to produce as their paper counterparts. But the disposable bags also litter oceans and landscapes, harming wildlife.

As a result, the totes are EVERYWHERE. They sit balled up and stuffed into the one that hangs from the pantry door. They flap from trees.

Link: Are Plastic Grocery Bags Sacking the Environment?


June 18, 2003

It's Not My Bag, Baby!

NRDC's Magazine, OnEarth

 It was the grooviest thing to come along since, oh, Tupperware, but after 25 years the plastic bag is proving that, indeed, breaking up is hard to do...

Nothing epitomizes better the mindless profligacy of our consumer culture than these cheap, flimsy, yet depressingly indestructible little bags that get caught in our trees, blow down streets, and wash up on our beaches. Look around -- they're everywhere. Americans throw away one hundred billion polyethylene bags a year. They choke thousands of marine animals annually; the inks used to print all those smiley faces break down in landfills and create a toxic seep. Though plastic bags take up less than four percent of all landfill space (they're easily compressed), estimates on how long they take to decompose range from a hundred years to a thousand, despite what the bag boys at my local supermarket think... 

Link: NRDC: OnEarth Magazine, Summer 2003 - It's Not My Bag, Baby!.

May 08, 2002

Planet Earth's new nemesis?

BBC News

Countries around the world are beginning to make moves to curb society’s appetite for the ubiquitous single-use plastic bag. A relatively recent world-wide phenomenon, plastic bags are now consumed in staggering numbers and are responsible for massive disposal problems including unsightly litter, flooding, and the death of both land and sea animals that mistake them for food. Made of polyethylene, they are also hazardous to manufacture and take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

Now a revolt is occurring as many nations tackle mindless plastic bag over-consumption and resulting pollution. Since March 2002, Irish supermarkets have been charging a mandatory .15 cent tax on each new plastic bag. The tax was introduced to curb the major litter problem created by disposable plastic bags marring the landscape so treasured by the Irish and tourists alike. Shoppers have adjusted quickly and have welcomed the move, arriving at stores “pre-armed” with bags. Superquinn, one of the largest grocery chains, says the number of bags it distributes has dropped by 97.5%. The UK is now considering implementing a similar plan. Other countries already implementing or considering legislation to control plastic bag pollution include Bangladesh, India, Singapore,

Link: Planet Earth's new nemesis?.