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15 posts from April 2007

April 30, 2007

British Town Bans Plastic Bags


A MARKET town is banning all plastic bags from tomorrow.

In a trailblazing move shoppers in Modbury, Devon, will be provided with biodegradable cornstarch bags, recyclable paper bags or reusable cotton and jute bags. The scheme - believed to be the first of its kind in Europe - is being joined by all the town's 43 traders - from family shops to the local supermarket.

It is the brainchild of wildlife camerawoman Rebecca Hosking who was moved to tears by the disastrous impact of plastic rubbish on marine life when filming in Hawaii. Rebecca, 33, who lives in Modbury, which has a 1,500 population, said: "What I witnessed was so heartbreaking and unnecessary."

Link: British Town Bans Plastic 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.

Plastic Bags Polluting Our Oceans

Cohasset Mariner

...in the Pacific Ocean there is an area the approximate size of Texas that is a nearly solid mass — an island -- of plastic bag debris. I tried to visualize this. It seemed so absurd that I started to doubt the facts of the article. I did my own research and found out that, sadly, this is all true. In fact there is an organization, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, whose work has shown that this plastic island has 1,000,000 times more toxins than surrounding seawaters, and six times as much plastic per weight of water than zooplankton. And their most recent expedition uncovered that the acreage of this area is expanding rapidly...

Link: COLUMN: It’s time to stop using plastic bags.

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.

Leaf Rapids first Canadian municipality to ban plastic shopping bags

North Bay Nugget

North Bay council is encouraging residents to help protect the environment and extend the life of the landfill by using fewer plastic bags.

Council, after much debate, adopted a motion tabled Monday by Coun.
Chris Mayne congratulating the Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids as the first Canadian municipality to ban plastic shopping bags and encouraging local residents to use reusable carrying bags and boxes when possible...

Link: Leaf Rapids first Canadian municipality to ban plastic shopping bags.

April 19, 2007

UK Supermarket Chain To Hand Out 7 Million Reusable Bags


UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s will stop giving out disposable carrier bags on 27 April as part of an initiative to encourage positive action by its customers.

Instead, all stores that day will give customers free reusable bags, the so-called “bags for life” made from thicker plastic material and usually sold for 10 pence each. Sainsbury’s expects to give out 7 million such bags during the day.

The company said it is “urging customers to keep and reuse the bags on future shopping trips thereby reducing the amount of disposable carrier bags in the future”.

Sainsbury's customer director, Gwyn Burr, said: “We want to make it as simple as we can for our millions of customers and thousands of colleagues to take action now. Customers often want to do their bit, whether that's to recycle more, or cut down on carrier bags, but don't often know where to start.”

Sainsbury’s is one of the retailers that signed a voluntary agreement with the UK government in January to reduce the overall environmental impact of carrier bags by 25% by the end of 2008...

Link: UK Supermarket Chain To Hand Out 7 Million Reusable Bags.

100,000 plastic bags saved on Bring Your Own Bag Day

China NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: Singapore's first Bring Your Own Bag Day on Wednesday managed to save an estimated 100,000 plastic bags.

According to leading supermarket chains NTUC Fairprice and Cold Storage, they cut the number of plastic bags by up to 60 per cent.

They also sold about 20,000 reusable bags.

At one Cold Storage outlet, most shoppers say they do not mind if they have to donate 10 cents to environmental projects for every plastic bag they take...

Link: 100,000 plastic bags saved on Bring Your Own Bag Day.

April 18, 2007

Santa Cruz considering plastic bag ban

Santa Cruz Sentinel.com

Taking a cue from their neighbors to the north, city leaders are considering banning the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by supermarkets, drug stores and other large retailers as early as this summer.

Santa Cruz's ordinance would be modeled after one passed last month in San Francisco, which became the first major city in the country to ban the petroleum-based sacks blamed for littering streets and choking marine life...

"There's a real interest in the City Council to becoming as sustainable as possible," said Mary Arman, operations manager for Public Works.

Link: Santa Cruz considering plastic bag ban.

April 17, 2007

Austin may limit use of plastic shopping bags


Paper or plastic? Austinites may not hear that question as frequently when they shop if the City Council moves forward on plans to limit or ban plastic bags in stores.

The council on Thursday will discuss passing a resolution to find ways to limit the use of plastic bags by large stores. If the resolution passes, city administrators would have 90 days to analyze strategies, said City Council Member Lee Leffingwell...

Plastic bags are nonbiodegradable and often end up in landfills or clogging sewers, Leffingwell said. At least 1,000 tons of plastic bags end up in the Austin landfill each year, he estimated using San Francisco's figures. That city sends 1,400 tons of plastic bags to its landfill annually. Plus, it takes 430,000 gallons of crude oil to make 100 million plastic bags, said Leffingwell, using figures from the Worldwatch Institute.

Link: Austin may limit use of plastic shopping bags.

April 10, 2007

L.A. county considers banning plastic bags

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County officials agreed today to consider a range of options -- including an outright ban -- for dealing with the ubiquitous plastic grocery bags that can litter roadways, clog storm drains and kill marine life.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously directed the Department of Public Works to study the issue and report back in 90 days.

Link: L.A. county considers banning plastic 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

April 02, 2007

Canadian Town Bans Plastic Bags

CBC News

The northern Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids became the first municipality in Canada to ban plastic shopping bags on April 2, 2007.

"Everybody's on board," Mayor Ed Cherrier said. "Our Co-op store and Fields, they're really supporting our initiative. And in fact, our Co-op store has offered a challenge to all of Federated to go bag-free across Canada."

Link: Canadian Town Bans Plastic Bags.

April 01, 2007

Taking Aim at All Those Plastic Bags

The New York Times 04.01.08Nytlogo379x64_2

By a 10-1 Board of Supervisors’ vote, San Francisco became the first major American city to ban the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by supermarkets, drug stores and other large retailers. Yet another alternative is to sell consumers reusable bags...

“The paper versus plastics question takes us off the issue, which is consumption,” says Vincent Cobb, who offers reusable bags and containers on the Internet. “Getting into the habit of bringing your own shopping bag,” he says, “can slash this problem across the board.”

Link: Taking Aim at All Those Plastic Bags.