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13 posts from June 2007

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

World asks town that banned the plastic bag: how can we do it too?

The Guardian 05.12.07

Two weeks after becoming the first town in Europe to ban plastic bags from its shops, an extraordinary transformation has taken place in the south Devon community. Carrying a plastic bag has become antisocial behaviour.

Wicker baskets, rucksacks and reusable bags of every shape and size swing from the arms of shoppers in the bustling town of 1,500 people. But if you're spotted with a plastic one you risk becoming a social pariah.

Link: World asks town that banned the plastic bag: how can we do it too?

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

Traders consider plastic bag ban

Carriers BBC News 06.13.07

An area of Brighton is considering following in the footsteps of a Devon town, banning the use of plastic bags.

Shoppers in Kemptown would be offered a reusable, cotton carrier bag bearing a logo and shop names.

UK PLASTIC BAG FACTS                        

  • We use on average 167 a year
  • Only one in every 200 bags is recycled
  • Plastics can take up to 400 years to break down in a landfill
Source: We Are What We Do

Link: Traders consider plastic bag ban

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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Uganda: Government Advises On Buveera (plastic bags)

AllAfrica 06.20.07

An upcoming ban on plastic bags in Uganda forces the country to think creatively about alternatives. Instead of relying on paper bags harvested from trees, the government is considering the use of local materials, such as banana fibre bags and papyrus baskets, for carrying items.

Our Take: As developing countries curtail the environmental impacts of industrialization, they are re- discovering and revitalizing their local economies and sustainable industries, many of which were abandoned over the past 10-20 years during the initial lure of the plastic bag phenomenon.

Link: Uganda - Government Advises On Buveera (plastic bags)

Christmas Plastic Bag Ban Urged

BBC News 06.12.07

Plastic_aint_my_thing Shoppers and retailers are being encouraged to join a campaign for the UK's first plastic-bag free Christmas. Promoted by the non-profit group that was also the force behind designer Anya Hindmarch's sell-out "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" shopping bag, they say that plastic bag carrying should be as unacceptable as wearing fur. Shops will display logos saying "Plastic Ain't My Bag" while consumers will be encouraged to use reusable, eco-friendly bags.

Our Take: While "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" is a great slogan, the bag produced is not a very practical reusable shopping bag. "Plastic Ain't My Bag" is another great slogan - we hope it makes it onto a more practical shopping tote. Similar to the shopping totes that carry our "Plastic Bags Blow" slogan.

Link: Christmas Plastic Bag Ban Urged

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  

Plastic Bag Revolt Spreads Across Britain

USA Today 06.20.07

Following the British city of Modbury's ban on plastic bags in May, larger cities are following suit and retailers are promoting plastic bag free days, reusable totes, or even buy-your-own bags to discourage usage. Eschewing plastic bags was one of the most frequent responses for a recent poll of top suggestions to make the world a better place and their impact on climate change is being more widely recognized.

Our Take: While those who bring their own bags may still be in the minority in many places, the movement is becoming more mainstream, especially in Britain.


Link: Plastic Bag Revolt Spreads Across Britain