How can architects fuel sustainable architecture and eliminate raw materials? Peering into the beautiful, organic world of molecular plant structures and insect biology, developers are looking at nature for answers. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn illustrates how biomimicry could potentially revolutionize the way humans develop and sustain resources.
This extraordinary science and art of emulating nature's complex biological systems to solve human issues involves three habits of nature: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. Take a look at why Pawlyn suggests that adopting these habits is not only possible, but critical if we are to encourage sustainable design.
In July, Eben Bayer gave a speech at an Oxford TED conference detailing how his company turns agricultural waste into truly biodegradable packing material. How biodegradable? It's literally grown from a fungus.
Polystyrene (or styrofoam, as many know it) is commonly used to pack delicate hardware and breakables for shipping; When it degrades in nature, it releases carcinogens. If adopted for widespread use, Bayer's packing material could reduce the production and disposal of polystyrene immensely.
Two weeks ago, our founder got a call from Seattle mayor, Greg Nickels, asking for our help in supporting the Seattle bag fee. It's based on Ireland's successful PlasTax, which reduced plastic bag consumption by over 90% - the plastic bag industry is doing everything it can to defeat this measure.
Originally set to take effect Jan 1st of this year, the bag fee was stalled by the plastic bag industry – who’s spent more than $250,000 to preserve their interest in the mindless consumption of throwaway bags. They’ve been successful in stalling or diverting every major initiative proposed in recent years, from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The Seattle bag fee gets voted on August 18 and we’re doing everything we can to support it. In the six years this company has been around, the Seattle bag fee is the most important piece of legislation we’ve seen. Seattle’s proposed fee is a pure model – taxing plastic and paper bags with a significant 20-cent fee. The initiative will set a trailblazing precedent for cities across the U.S. if it’s re-instated.
We realize you may not live in Seattle, but please consider making a contribution. After all, the opponent's money is coming from outside Seattle. Let's show them that it's not just big industry that's interested in this race, but environmentalists across the nation as well.
Purchase from our store – We’ve committed to donating 1% of sales to the campaign between now and the Aug 18th vote.
Spread the word: If you’re a reporter or blogger, cover the story. Forward this story on to friends. Don’t let these guys win!
Our Take: We’ll do everything in our power to defeat plastic bag industry interests and push through this landmark bag fee. If successful, Seattle may prove to be the tipping point for cities across the nation – and the world.
Listen to the voicemail from the Seattle mayor here & watch a great video they produced about the history of the plastic bag:
The thick-lined drawings of the Earth, a factory and a house, meant to convey the cycle of human consumption, are straightforward and child-friendly. So are the pictures of dark puffs of factory smoke and an outlined skull and crossbones, representing polluting chemicals floating in the air.
Which is one reason “The Story of Stuff,” a 20-minute video about the effects of human consumption, has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.
Our Take: Another great production from Free Range Studios – we endorse it as a wake-up call about how much we waste in our daily lives. The 20-minute video is quick and easy to digest & fills in the gap in environmental science left by outdated textbooks. We highly recommend watching it.
A must-see video from San Francisco-based Save the Bay and Free Range Studios shows the tidal wave of plastic bags that threaten our environment, waterways and shorelines.
The group is mobilizing thousands –fighting for legislation to ban or tax all single-use bags in the Bay Area and throughout California. Haunting visuals and powerful statistics combine to inspire us all to kick the disposable bag habit.
Our Take: The best video we’ve seen yet that wakes people up to plastic bag waste. We’ve been an active supporter of Free Range Studios and their powerful, cause-related videos designed to effect change.
Explorer, environmentalist, and British celebrity David de Rothschild will set out on a 11,000-mile (17,703-kilometer) journey across the Pacific Ocean at the end of March—in a boat made of plastic bottles.
Our Take: The "Plastiki" has set sail - bringing awareness to the issue of out-of-control plastic bottle consumption and offering us a glimpse into how at least some of the 25 billion bottles trashed each year can be reused.
Imagine your six-pack covering your six-pack. Plastic soda and water bottles are being turned into sweaters. We explore the process of converting plastic into fabric and its growing use.
Our Take: A great video showing how post-consumer plastic bottles and containers are converted into durable, wearable fabrics. We love this innovation – our rPET bags have been repurposing old plastic bottles for years, at some of the same fabric mills used by Patagonia. Stay tuned for more textile innovations – the most sustainable production process for reusable bags.
Industry representatives and health advocates gave federal officials vastly different assessments Tuesday of the effects of exposure to a chemical so prevalent that it can be found in the system of almost every American.
Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is used extensively in the linings of food and drink containers, plus countless consumer products, including baby bottles and sippy cups. The chemical also has been found in drinking water, dental sealants and even household dust.
Our Take: Like a seesaw, BPA is declared safe one month and unsafe
the next -- we’ve got to wonder whether our government agencies are
giving us the straight story. While there might be confusion on their
part, as consumers, our advice is to err on the side of caution -- just
avoid the stuff.
Maui native Micah Wolf teams up with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and photographer Ben Moon to create this powerful music video that empowers us to do something about the amount of plastics in our oceans.
Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation. The awful truth—in their searches of the ocean surface, albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding Lego blocks, clothespins, plastic bag bits and a host of other man-made junk to their chicks. As a result, the large amount of plastic crowding the chick’s stomach leaves little room for food and liquid. The amount of plastic floating in our oceans has grown dramatically over the last fifty years. Anthony L. Andrady, a polymer chemist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina says that plastic takes decades to break down on land, but even longer at sea because the water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere.”
Late last week, a fantastic slide show making its way around the internet
caught our eye. Using a potent
combination of facts and images, it
tells the story of plastic bag
over-consumption we first laid out at our web
site five years ago. Its short, visual format
provides an incredible tool to educate and
We liked the slide show so much, we hustled to:
Convert and post it as an easy-to-view
video on YouTube, opening it up to millions
Discover who produced it and give them
credit. It turns out to be a fellow
Chicagoan! Vishal Mody - a public school
Share it with you, our 80,000+
newsletter subscribers, and post it in our Newsroom.
Please take just 4 minutes to watch it and help spread the word!
CNN, 06.01.08 China recently fulfilled its January pledge to ban free plastic bags. CNN gives us a glimpse into both the new system of charging for disposable plastic bags and the depressing effects of the culprits being free and plentiful for dozens of years.
Our Take: We hope other countries will follow China’s lead. Charging for plastic bags will help to change consumer habits over time – Ireland has the proof after their hugely successful Plastax produced a 90% drop in consumption. What do you think?
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...
Thanks to friend of ReusableBags.com, Dave S. for turning us on to this clever artist, Joshua Allen Harris. He has crafted inflatable animals by tying plastic bags to subway grates in New York. The effect is very cool and a bit haunting.
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."
Check out this video montage (made by againstthetide) set to Simon & Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair - meant to make us think twice about using plastic bags. We like to watch this video with the volume turned down since this song, while beautiful, is a huge downer!
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..."
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.