116 posts categorized "Region-United States"

June 24, 2008

IKEA bags the plastic

The Courant, 06.12.08
Last March, IKEA began charging 5 cents for each plastic bag with the hopes of reducing usage by 50 percent. Last month, they announced that not only is the fee working, they have experienced a 92 percent drop in usage.

Our Take: Our congratulations to IKEA for being a strong leader in a sea of mindless consumption. They see that use-and-toss shopping bags—whether plastic or paper—are at the heart of the issue. This is more evidence that fees work. We are proud to have helped inspire them to take this bold step and hope that other retailers will follow suit.  What do you think?

Link: IKEA bags the plastic 

May 23, 2008

Being green is in the bag when it’s shoved down our throats

The Seattle Times, Opinion, 05.14.08

So Seattle says: "I am greener than Longview and Tacoma and smarter than San Francisco. I will tax both kinds of disposable bag, pocket the money and make my citizens use a cloth bag."

I don't want to use a cloth bag. I don't want to carry the bag to the store, and I don't want to limit my shopping to the capacity of my bag.

What if I want to buy more? I can pay the 20 cents, but it is a punishment tax, a city-wagging-its-finger-at-me tax: bad, bad, bad.

Link: Being green is in the bag when it’s shoved down our throats

April 25, 2008

Bottle Maker To Stop Using Plastic Linked To Health Concerns

New York Times 04.18.08Nytimesnalgene

Nalgene, the brand that popularized water bottles made from hard, clear and nearly unbreakable polycarbonate, will stop using the plastic because of growing concern over one of its ingredients.

Link: Bottle Maker To Stop Using Plastic Linked To Health Concerns

US Senator To Propose Ban On Bisphenol A

ICIS (International Chemical Information Service) 04.23.08

Icisbabybottle US Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) will propose legislation banning the sale of children’s products and food containers containing bisphenol A (BPA), possibly before the end of the week, the legislator’s office said on Wednesday. As justification for the ban, the senator cited the National Toxicology Program’s draft report, published on 14 April.

Link: US Senator To Propose Ban On Bisphenol A

VIDEO CLIP: How Safe Are Plastic Bottles

The Today Show 04.09.08

Tv_nbc_today_logoDo chemicals in the plastic bottles you use every day make them unsafe? Matt Lauer talks with Dr. Leo Trasande of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Link: How Safe Are Plastic Bottles, Part 1

Link: How Safe Are Plastic Bottles, Part 2

We Should Have Banned Bisphenol A Twenty Years Ago

Wired News 04.22.08

20yearsagoOver the last twenty years, scientists have built a mountain of evidence that Bisphenol A, the key ingredient in polycarbonate plastic, should scare the daylights out of us. It should have been banned a long time ago, as a precautionary measure, but regulators were asleep at the switch -- allowing the chemical industry to run roughshod over them.

Link: We Should Have Banned Bisphenol A Twenty Years Ago

The Plastics Revolution

Washington Post 04.22.08
Many scientists and environmental advocates believe man-made components in plastics -- particularly a group of compounds called phthalates and another hormonally active chemical known as bisphenol A, or BPA -- can leach harmful chemicals that get absorbed into our bodies. The financial stakes are huge: Plastics is the country's third-largest manufacturing industry, employing 1.1 million workers and producing nearly $379 billion worth of goods each year.

Link: The Plastics Revolution

More US Retailers Give BPA The Boot

USA Today 04.21.08

Canada's proposed ban on a hormone-like chemical in baby bottles has spurred U.S. retailers and legislators to try to phase out use of the ingredient, called bisphenol A, or BPA. Canada's announcement Friday came just days after the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found "some concern" that low levels of BPA cause changes in behavior and the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland and the age at which girls enter puberty.

Link: More US Retailers Give BPA The Boot

US Cites Fears On Chemical In Plastics

Washington Post 04.18.08

Washington_post_logo_3Last year, an expert panel using outside scientists minimized the health risks of BPA, but its findings were widely assailed after a congressional investigation found that a firm hired to perform scientific analysis was also working for the chemical industry.

Link: US Cites Fears On Chemical In Plastics

April 10, 2008

Ikea To Nix All Disposable Bags by Oct. 2008

Los Angeles Times 04.03.08

As of Oct. 2008, IKEA will no longer offer disposable plastic bags at checkout. No, paper bags won't replace the plastic bags. Customers will need to bring their own bag, buy an IKEA reusable bag for 59 cents, or go bagless.

Link: Ikea To Nix All Disposable Bags by Oct. 2008

VIDEO CLIP: Plastic Beaches & Plastic Sand - Yikes!

KHNL NBC Channel 8, Honolulu, HI 11.09.07Khnl_plasticbeach

When our founder was in Hawaii last March, he heard the locals talking about the advent of “Plastic Beaches”. What he learned from them was shocking: a once pristine beach on the southern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island has deteriorated into a polluted mess. Heaps of plastic trash fragments (in places a foot deep) have accumulated here over the years due to the trade winds blowing directly on shore. As the plastic breaks down it is creating a new kind of sand – Plastic Sand. This video demonstrates the pervasive, persistent negative effects plastics are having on our earth. The growing phenomenon of Plastic Beaches and Plastic Sand are a visceral reminder of the downsides of society’s addiction to plastic stuff.

Our Take: We assume a few of you have heard about the “Texas-sized” Plastic Island” off California’s west coast, but how about the disturbing news of plastic beaches and plastic sand?! Plastic is accumulating at an alarming rate in our oceans -- wreaking havoc on wildlife, polluting our beaches and entering our food chain. Watch the video... 

Link: Big Island Beach Attracts Plastic Trash

Lobbying, Legal Threats Turn Prohibitions Into Voluntary Recycling Drives

MSNBC 03.14.08

The movement to curb plastic bag use and production is gaining in popularity because of cities like San Francisco-  the first US city to prohibit large stores from distributing disposable plastic bags. Now the plastics industry is fighting tooth and nail to prevent the trend from spreading across the United States.  Many attempts at bans have already been prevented, usually ending up as voluntary recycling drives instead.

Our Take: While recycling has its place, recycling won’t solve the problem… An item that really stood out in this article was the shocking information that an amendment prohibiting local governments from imposing fees on plastic bags was snuck into an otherwise benign mandatory recycling law passed in California. This is a bold move we assume will be overturned at some point …

Link: Lobbying, Legal Threats Turn Prohibitions Into Voluntary Recycling Drives

Plastic Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World

National Geographic News 04.04.08Categoryimages_thumbs_national_geog

 Across the globe politicians and corporations are debating the effectiveness of plastic bag bans versus plastic bag taxes. Ireland, Italy and Belgium all tax plastic sacks, while places like San Francisco and China are banning them all together. Other countries and companies are implementing or considering recycling programs. Each attempt to deal with the issue has its pros and cons. According to Vincent Cobb, founder of ReusableBags.com, the movement has gained momentum. “We all have the tendency to buy too much stuff, and I think the symbolic nature is what has made this such a powerful thing.”

Our Take: Our founder was interviewed for this article – here is a quote: “A tax charged at checkout is what we need to change consumer behavior. Plastic bags aren’t inherently bad; it’s the mindlessness and volume of consumption.”

Link: Plastic Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World 

Seattle Officials Propose 20-cent Grocery Bag Fee

The Seattle Times 04.03.08Ap_plastic_bag_080229_mn

Using Ireland’s successful plastic bag tax as a model, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is proposing a 20 cent “green fee” on all disposable bags. The proposed fee is the first of its kind in the nation made by a mayor striving for a legacy of environmental stewardship. If the City Council approves, the fee would go into effect January 1. In an effort to ease the transition, the city will mail one reusable shopping bag to each household.

Our Take: Kudos to Mayor Nickels! This is big news – we’ve been laying down the challenge to US politicians for several years to take the bold move and implement a Plastax modeled initiative. (For the record San Francisco did attempt a “loosely” based model in 2005 which failed.) With Ireland’s disposable-bag use down 90 percent, Seattle is on the right track. Plastic industry interests will work hard to derail this since in all likelihood it will start a trend…it will be interesting to see what happens. What do you think?

Link: Seattle Officials Propose 20-cent Grocery Bag Fee 

March 11, 2008

ReusableBags.com on CLTV Metromix

ReusableBags.com 03.10.08

ReusableBags.com was featured as one of CLTV Metromix's "Green Pieces." Hear from Founder, Vincent Cobb, and view many of our products!

Good Morning America Now Features Reusable Bags

Good Morning America Now 03.10.08

View Good Morning America Now's segment on BYO-Bag. With a focus on how to remember your reusable shopping bags, many of the samples featured were from our store. Guest Olivia Zaleski "really recommend(s) looking at that website. They have everything for everyone."

February 12, 2008

Plastic Baby Bottles May Pose Danger

Market Watch 02.07.08

A recent study has found that some popular plastic baby bottles are leaching a hormone-disrupting chemical that, when heated, possibly pose a danger to infants. The study, which focused on six major brands of baby bottles sold in the United States and Canada, found that bisphenol A, used to make polycarbonate plastic, was given off by heated bottles in amounts that were within the range shown to cause harm in animal studies.

Link: Plastic Baby Bottles May Pose Danger

Plastic-bag Ban Unravels

Los Angeles Times 01.23.08La_times

Los Angeles County supervisors backed off a threat Tuesday to ban plastic shopping and grocery bags. Instead, officials chose the weakest of five alternatives recommended by county executives: a volunteer program that leaves it to supermarket and store owners to coax customers into packing their purchases in reusable containers.

The action was a scale-back from a year ago, when supervisors ordered county lawyers to look into drafting a ban on non-recyclable bags altogether, much as San Francisco did. The 90-day study stretched into nine months, as grocers and retailers weighed in - the California Grocers Association, which represents 500 retailers in California and Nevada, had even hired a lobbying firm.

Indeed, with county executives prepared to seek only the voluntary measure, a last-minute amendment was offered and the final product approved by supervisors: A ban would be adopted only if the use of bags in unincorporated Los Angeles County did not decrease at least 30% by July 2010 and at least 65% by July 2013.

Link: Plastic-bag Ban Unravels

February 01, 2008

Paper? Plastic? No Thank You

Winston-Salem Journal 01.28.08

Reusable grocery bags are popping up at stores all over, and not only in places where you buy groceries. The bags have gotten hipper and more affordable, too, with many retailers introducing totes as low as 99 cents. Today, it’s not so hard to find one on eBay.

That’s why Vincent Cobb, the founder and president of reusablebags.com, is leery about the cheap, reusable bag trend. He started selling reusable shopping bags and baskets online in 2003. “The risk we run into with all these cheap bags is that people are just going to accumulate all these bags in their closet,” he said. “I think the big thing now is for people to find the good ones.”

Link: Paper? Plastic? No Thank You

January 31, 2008

Project Green: The Chemicals Within

Newsweek 02.04.08
Many common household products contain compounds that could be affecting our health.
The shocking thing is that we really don't know the health effects of many of these chemicals on the market today. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, chemicals already in use were grandfathered in without scrutiny. These include the three classes of compounds targeted in a November report released by a coalition of environmental groups, "Is It in Us?"—a plastic strengthener called bisphenol A (BPA), brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs and plastic softeners called phthalates.

Bisphenol A is a basic constituent of the polycarbonate plastics found in many baby bottles, sippy cups and juice bottles. Although the chemical industry and FDA say they are safe, there is evidence to the contrary. Research studies show that low-dose exposures, particularly during gestation, may later lead to breast and prostate cancer, abnormalities in the reproductive tract and behavioral problems, among other things.

Phthalates have also raised concern: these compounds are used to soften the plastics in products such as rubber duckies, vinyl shower curtains, certain medical devices, and are also found in hundreds of personal care products (e.g. fragrances, body lotions, nail polishes and shampoos). Potential problems from exposure include abnormalities to the reproductive tract and a decline in sperm quality.

The flame retardants, PBDEs, are found in fabrics, upholstery, foam mattresses, circuit boards and the casings of computers and televisions and animal studies show they can have negative impacts on learning and memory, sperm counts and thyroid functioning.

Our Take: ReusableBags.com has been providing education, leadership and safe alternatives for the past five years. With more awareness of these issues, we hope to see some real change! A reminder that all the bottles we carry are BPA-free.

Source: Project Green: The Chemicals Within

January 21, 2008

Whole Foods Chain to Stop Use of Plastic Bags

New York Times 01.23.08Whole_foods

The Whole Foods Market chain announced that it would stop offering plastic grocery bags, giving customers instead a choice between recycled paper or reusable bags. Test runs in San Francisco, Austin, TX, and Toronto went well enough that Whole Foods executives felt confident broadening the plastic bag ban to all its stores. It will take effect by April 22, Earth Day.

Our Take: Are bans the right incentive to reduce consumption of plastic bags? What do you think?

Link: Whole Foods Chain to Stop Use of Plastic Bags

January 16, 2008

Paper or Your Reusable Bag?

NPR Marketplace 01.10.08Npr

New York City is requiring new measures to increase the recyling of plastic shopping bags. China has announced it's banning them. Such measures are making reusable bags a big business. Host Tess Vigeland talks with Vincent Cobb, president of Reusablebags.com.

Link: Paper or Your Reusable Bag?

New York City Council Passes Bill for Recycling of Plastic Bags

New York Times 01.10.08

The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a bill (44 to 2) requiring large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle plastic bags they give to shoppers.

Under the new bill, which had surprising support from Progressive Bag Affiliates, a trade group that represents most American makers of plastic bags, stores that give the bags to customers must provide recycling bins for the bags in a prominent place in the store. They will also have to ensure that the bags they distribute have printed messages urging customers to return them to stores. The legislation applies to stores of 5,000 square feet or larger, as well as all branches of chains with more than five locations in the city.

Our Take: It's no surprise to us that the plastic bag industry supports the bill. It's too bad that New York City's bill misses the mark by focusing on recycling. While helpful it won't fix the problem. This initiative doesn't hit at the heart of the matter which is to significantly reduce consumption (and capture external costs associated with plastic bags). The heart of real reform focuses on implementing tactics such as Ireland's Plastax.

Link: New York Times

In Line for Hindmarch's Tote

ReusableBags.com 01.17.08

Check out this YouTube video that captures the essence of the mania surrounding last summer's arrival of Anya Hindmarch's much touted "I'm not a Plastic Bag" tote bag. (Great slogan - but a lousy reusable shopping bag.) This 2 minute video tells a simple story of absurdity. The following viewer comment says it all "Wow! It's amazing what we Americans will do..."

Link: In Line for Hindmarch's Tote

Sack the Plastic Shopping Bag

The Boston Globe 11.10.07

Written by Brian A. Joyce, a Milton Democrat, represents the Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth District in the Massachusetts Senate. The Commonwealth has designated Wednesday as "Reusable Bag Day." Retailers across the state will encourage customers to consider bringing in their own bags or purchasing a reuseable bag. The event is modeled after Hong Kong's "No Plastic Bag Day" and Singapore's "Bring Your Own Bag Day," which resulted in drastic drops in the consumption of one-time bag use.

Link: Sack the Plastic Shopping Bag

Human Behavior, Global Warming, and the Ubiquitous Plastic Bag

New York Times 09.30.07

Once upon a time, the question was plastic or paper, which had its own somewhat uncertain calculus of virtue and waste. Now, it has begun to dawn on people that you don’t need either. Plastic bags are not the biggest single issue out there, and no expert on global warming would suggest solutions rest wholly with decisions made by individual consumers. On the other hand, it is estimated that the United States goes through 100 billion plastic bags a year, which take an estimated 12 million barrels of oil to produce and last almost forever. And if individual decisions can’t solve the problem, the wrong ones can certainly compound it.

Link: Human Behavior, Global Warming, and the Ubiquitous Plastic Bag

Citywide plastic-bag bans are gaining momentum. But will companies be the ones that force us to change?

Fast Company 11.2007

After the plastic water bottle, you couldn't do much better than the plastic shopping bag as a symbol of American consumerism run amok. We go through 380 billion a year. An estimated 5.2% get recycled; in landfills, they could last 1,000 years. Bags are made from oil, and our bag habit costs us 1.6 billion gallons each year. That last statistic, and its link to global warming, is starting to drive change.

See how four high-profile programs rate: Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and Ikea.

Link: Citywide plastic-bag bans are gaining momentum. But will companies be the ones that force us to change?

August 30, 2007

Is Green Living Your Bag, Baby?

USA Today 08.29.07Usa_today_workhorse

These eco-friendly totes take a load off your mind, arms. If green is the new black, then a reusable tote is the new must-have designer handbag. Of course, the Anya Hindmarch "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" tote is out of the question. Fear not. The reusable-bag movement is in full swing, with options for everyone from trendy fashionistas to serious eco-friendly shoppers."There's a lot more out there than the straight-ahead canvas bag," says Vincent Cobb, founder of reusablebags .com.

There is universal agreement when it comes to features to consider when looking for the right reusable bag: personal style, a wide-enough base, sturdy fabric and an ability to be compactly stored when heading out for a shopping spree. The bags sold by ReusableBags.com are "fully green, all the way down to the ink used to print the slogan," says Cobb.

Our Take: The thrust of the story is practical bags versus fashionista bags - of the hundreds of options of reusable bags out there, the editors endorsed a total of 3, all of which were from our proprietary Acme bags line. Our bags were considered "seriously green" and "perfect for the activist."

Check out the featured bags here:
ACME Bags - Workhorse Style 1500
ACME Bags - EarthTote
ACME Bags - Plastic Bags Blow Dual Handled Hemp Tote

Link: Is Green Living Your Bag, Baby?

Continue reading "Is Green Living Your Bag, Baby?" »

August 17, 2007

The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) Discusses Banning Plastic Bags

NPR 08.13.07

Several U.S cities may follow San Francisco's lead in the effort to ban plastic bags at large grocery and pharmacies checkout counters. The show talked about some of the economic, environmental, and logistical challenges of cutting back on the use of plastic bags.

Guests included:
Sam Shropshire, Alderman / Ward 7 Annapolis, Maryland
Donna Dempsey, spokesperson, Progressive Bag Alliance
Jon Coifman, Natural Resources Defense Council
Barry F. Share, VP Public Affairs, Giant Food

Link: The Diane Rehm Show

Greening Up by Cutting Down on Plastic Bags

New York Times 08.05.07

Local efforts to recycled plastic bags are gaining momentum. But changing the habits of generations of shoppers may be an uphill battle.

Link: Greening Up by Cutting Down on Plastic Bags

Pressure Builds to Ban Plastic Bags in Stores

New York Times 07.24.07Annapolis_ban

The debate over paper vs plastic may soon be settled in Annapolis, Maryland, where a bill aimed at protecting marine life would ban plastic bags from all retail stores. Stores would be required to offer paper bags made from recycled material under the bill, which goes to a final City Council vote in October.

Link: Pressure Builds to Ban Plastic Bags in Stores

July 27, 2007

First Lucky Store Opens in San Francisco and Introduces Stiffer, Sturdier, Recyclable Plastic Grocery Bags

Yahoo News 07.27.07

Lucky opened its first of 72 new stores in San Francisco this week and will introduce  reusable, recyclable plastic handle grocery bags, which are made from recycled plastic. The bags will retail for 25 cents each and will soon be available at all Lucky stores.

Our Take: With the popularity for reusable bags rising, we'll start to see more greenwashing by the retail industry. These reusable bags are actually produced by a plastic bag manufacturer, and made of only 20% recycled material. For some higher quality recycled bags, check out our recycled PET totes, made from 98% post-consumer recycled content!

Link: First Lucky Store Opens in San Francisco and Introduces Stiffer, Sturdier, Recyclable Plastic Grocery Bags

July 25, 2007

Oakland Prohibits Plastic Grocery Bags

San Jose Mercury News 07.05.07

The Oakland City Council on Tuesday banned plastic bags in an effort to reduce the amount of waste Oakland sends to landfills and to prevent the plastic bags from polluting the environment. The ordinance encourages people to bring their reusable totes to bag their groceries because of the devastating impact the plastic products can have after being used once and tossed away.

"It'll make a real difference," Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel) said. The ban will apply to stores with gross annual sales of more than $1 million, which would include all supermarkets and chain drug stores.

Link: Oakland Prohibits Plastic Grocery Bags

July 06, 2007

Paper or plastic? Macy's won't ask

TwinCities.com 6.29.07

Paper shopping bags are the latest casualty at Macy's stores.

Sales associates have been told to use plastic rather than the ostensibly classier paper bags with handles, which cost more to produce.

"Seeing your bags flapping in the trees is one of the worst things you can do today to affect a brand," said Vincent Cobb, founder and president of Reusablebags.com. He said grocers and convenience stores - not department stores - are the worst offenders.

To environmentalists, the paper vs. plastic discussion is irrelevant. Americans use too many disposable bags, period. True, plastic bags do not biodegrade, while paper does. But when you factor in the trees used to make heavier paper bags, plus the manufacturing and distribution, it's a wash, Cobb said.

"The ecological footprint of plastic isn't any worse than paper..."

Link: Paper or plastic?  Macy's won't ask

June 29, 2007

New Industry Coalition Launches Plastic Bag Recycling Program

PR Newswire 06.11.07

The Progressive Bag Alliance, the California Retailers Association and the California Grocers Association, announced the implementation of the nation's first statewide plastic bag recycling program. The bag manufacturing industry is partnering with the retail community to develop practical solutions for recycling and have designed a store "toolkit" to help retailers with public education, employee training and developing recycling systems.

Our Take: Big surprise here - the plastic bag industry's typical response. Let's just recycle all these plastic bags - that'll fix the problem. Wrong. Don't look to industry for solutions that hit at the heart of the matter which is significant consumption reduction (and taking responsibility for capturing external costs associated with plastic bags).

Link: New Industry Coalition Launches Plastic Bag Recycling Program

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

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."

Download clip

Stemming Tide of Plastic Bags: Nation's first mandatory recycling program for the pesky containers kicks in July 1

The Sacramento Bee 06.12.07Stemming_tide_of_bags

On July 1, California will become America’s first state to initiate a mandatory recycling program to cut down on its mounds of plastic bags. Under the legislation, supermarkets, pharmacies and other major retail outlets must provide recycling bins to make it easier for customers to recycle their bags. It doesn’t, however, require consumers to recycle their plastic bags, nor pay them for recycling.

Our Take: We are sure this mandate by California will make lots of headlines since it makes for a powerful sound bite, but let's be clear -- recycling will not fix this problem. While recycling does have a place in addressing this problem, it needs to be kept in perspective. Plastic bags are a key indicator of society's over-consuming nature and efforts to reduce consumption is where the bulk of our efforts need to be.

Link: Stemming Tide of Plastic Bags  

May 30, 2007

Reusable shopping bags gain in popularity as a way to help environment

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 05.30.07

For "green" shoppers, the right answer to "paper or plastic?" is now "neither." A pillar of the modern shopping world -- the bag, and the plastic bag in particular -- is under intense pressure nowadays. Using bags responsibly or getting rid of them entirely has become a new benchmark for green shopping.

Our Take: This article details the rise of the reusable shopping bag, "the trendiest choice in carryalls at the moment." Our own ReusableBags.com garnered a mention.

Link: Reusable shopping bags gain in popularity as a way to help environment

May 21, 2007

New Haven, CT Considers Ban On Plastic Bags

Hartford Courant 05.21.07

Two city aldermen in New Haven, Connecticut, are proposing a new ordinance that would eliminate the option of choosing paper or plastic bags at the grocery checkout counter.

Link: New Haven, CT Considers Ban On Plastic Bags

May 15, 2007

Marin County, CA Urges Shoppers to Avoid Plastic Bags

Marin Independent Journal 05.15.07Marin_county_bag_ban

In Marin County, California, officials are hoping to erad
icate the use of plastic bags and they want residents to voluntarily change their habits before moving to enact a ban. Supervisor Charles McGlashan said the county needs to educate residents to change their minds about the way they carry their groceries. The County's strategy includes providing education and information, phasing out plastic bags, and encouraging businesses to promote the use of reusable bags. For example, Mill Valley-based Mollie Stone's Markets is planning a giveaway of 10,000 reusable bags at their Greenbrae and Sausalito stores this summer.

Link: Marin County, CA Urges Shoppers to Avoid Plastic Bags

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 26, 2007

Plastic bags may be banned in Boston

Bostonglobe_3 The Boston Globe

The Boston City Council wants to ban the use of plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores in the city, saying the ubiquitous bags are a hazard to the environment and a maddening blight of the landscape.

"They end up everywhere," said Councilor Robert Consalvo . "They blow in trees, they're floating in Boston Harbor . . . They're an environmental nightmare. We need to rid our city of these plastic bags."

A measure sponsored by Consalvo and endorsed by nine of the council's 12 sitting members seeks a ban on disposable plastic bags at large retail stores...

Link: Plastic bags may be banned in Boston.

Paper or plastic? To save planet, it's a no-brainer

Chicago Tribune

...Worldwatch Institute estimated that in 2002, factories cranked out 4 trillion to 5 trillion plastic bags that were used in supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores and drugstores. Each year, it's estimated that Americans discard nearly 100 billion plastic bags; only 0.6 percent of them are recycled...

the virtues of plastic are overriden by its vices. Most significantly, plastic bags are gas guzzlers. According to Worldwatch Institute, 430,000 gallons of oil are required to produce 100 million plastic bags...

Link: Paper or plastic? To save planet, it's a no-brainer.

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.