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12 posts from May 2007

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 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 27, 2007

The Unintended Consequences of Hyperhydration

New York Times 05.27.07

It’s easy to find, in the mightily expanding iconography of American waste, the monumental (a ziggurat of flattened cars), the sinister (ocher sludge foaming on a riverbank) and the sublime (a plastic bag fluttering in a Japanese maple). The empty bottle and crushed aluminum can are none of these. They are almost too commonplace to notice, too dreary to evoke anything at all. Foundered on a roadside or slumped in a bag of spent Chinese takeout, the can without its Mountain Dew and the bottle without its Bud are unremarkable things. They’re just trash: something we once wanted and now can’t be bothered with.

This article details the issue, with statistics on the number of bottles consumed and disposed of within the US, as well as the history of bottle bills as a solution.

Our Take: While the article focuses on use and toss plastic bottles, it addresses the over-consuming nature of our society that has accelerated dramatically in the last 20-30 yrs. The problems with plastic bottles mirrors the plastic bag issue.

Link: The Unintended Consequences of Hyperhydration

May 22, 2007

Marks & Spencer to charge for shopping bags in Northern Ireland store

BBC News 05.22.07

Shoppers will soon have to pay for plastic carrier bags in Marks and Spencer's 14 Northern Ireland stores. Chief executive Stuart Rose said local customers would be the first to have to pay five pence for a plastic bag during a trial period beginning in July. Marks and Spencer's shoppers would be given a free "bag for life" in the month preceding the trial. The move comes as part of Marks and Spencer's drive towards ethical trading and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

Our Take: Following Ikea's recent announcement to charge for bags, another major retailer follows suit. Retailer initiatives like this, take a real stance on the plastic bag issue since they attempt to capture some of the hidden costs of "free" plastic bags and create incentives for customers to reduce their

Link: Marks & Spencers to charge for shopping bags in Northern Ireland store

Levy may be imposed to cut plastic bag use in Hong Kong

People's Daily Online 05.22.07

Hong Kong's government may be urged to impose a levy on plastic bag use to save the city from plastic bag landfills as there are over 8 billion plastic shopping bags disposed yearly, according to the figure released May 21 by the environmental department. In a paper tabled to lawmakers May 21, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department urged the legislative to agree to impose a levy to cut plastic bag use, adding a 50-cent levy could cut plastic bag use in Hong Kong by one billion.

Link: Levy may be imposed to cut plastic bag use in Hong Kong

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 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 09, 2007

Ontario Government Targets 50% Reduction in Plastic Bags by 2012

Ontario Ministry of the Environment 05.09.07

Ontario's government has struck a deal with industry leaders to markedly reduce the number of plastic bags distributed in Ontario over the next five years. The pact includes commitments to a goal to reduce the use of plastic bags by 50% in five years; consideration of in-store and Blue Box recycling programs for Ontario stores and consumer education initiatives to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of bags already in circulation.  The program also includes annual monitoring and reporting to ensure progress is made. 

“It’s very encouraging that industry is ready and willing to take on this challenge publicly and work with us to dramatically reduce, re-use and recycle more in Ontario,” said Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten. “Ontarians use almost 80 plastic bags per second –  that’s close to seven million bags every day. Reducing the volume of plastic bags that end up in landfills is a top priority for us,” she added. 

Link: Ontario Government Targets 50% Reduction in Plastic Bags by 2012

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?.

May 01, 2007

Should plastic bags be banned? Have your say

BBC News

Should plastic bags be banned altogether, should we be charged for them, or should we find better things to worry about? Have your say, and read what others have commented, on the BBC News interactive show.

Link: Should plastic bags be banned? Have your say.