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12 posts from September 2007

September 21, 2007

Catalog Critic - Green Grocer

Wall Street Journal 09.21.07

The Wall Street Journal’s Catalog Critic critiques reusable shopping bags: “we wanted lightweight, strong bags spacious enough for lots of locally grown produce and organic spelt flakes. But -- this was harder -- we also sought chic sacks with no strident slogans. To test our five candidates, we brought them to the store and loaded them with half-gallons of milk, canned goods, a baby watermelon -- the usual.”

Best Overall, the Acme Workhorse 1500, was styled like a typical plastic grocery sack. Of nearly weightless nylon, it folded into a tiny rectangle for storage.

Our Take: We are very proud to have our Acme Workhorse bag selected as "Best Overall" -- we spent over 2 yrs developing and refining this bag - as with all bags we develop, we really sweat the details! Since its introduction back in early 2003 it has been one of our most popular bags and has inspired lots of knockoffs. Look for more outstanding products and innovations from our award-winning line of Acme Bags!

Link: GreenGrocer

September 20, 2007

New Eco-Friendly Packaging Triggers Boom In Guilt-Free Littering

The Onion 07.21.07Onion

The growing "green" trend in product packaging, which emphasizes the use of recycled, biodegradable post-consumer paper-based materials and relies less on petroleum-derived polymers like styrofoam, has unleashed a spontaneous trashing of sidewalks, roadsides, and pristine wilderness by gratified consumers. Though some environmentalists and scientists were caught off guard by the movement, experts say it is here to stay.

These 'eco' products are amazing—they've totally changed my life," a 37-year-old Nick Sundin said. "Now, I just toss my used Seventh Generation–brand paper plates out the car window, knowing they'll soon be absorbed into the earth."

Our Take: Some entertaining satire, but not too far off from where society could end up if we blindly pursue biodegradable packaging as the answer (as opposed to consuming less). As we pointed out in an article on biodegradable bags we created a few years ago, "bag littering could easily increase as people start to believe that biodegradable bags are less harmful to the environment..."

Link: New Eco-Friendly Packaging Triggers Boom In Guilt-Free Littering

Man Bags Himself to Promote Reusables

The San Angelo Standard Times 09.08.07

In San Angelo, Egan Sanders is lobbying for increased use of reusable shopping bags instead of the plastic shopping bags that carry so much of the city's groceries to pantries and refrigerators.

He will be spreading his message by enclosing himself for 24 hours in what has been called "the world's largest reusable shopping bag."

BigBag1 is the name for the large canvas bag. It is 8 feet high, 6 feet wide and 5 feet long and was made by the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in San Angelo. It will serve as the screen for the movies that will be projected onto it as part of the Plastic Bag Film Festival.

Our Take: Kinda cool / kinda weird. Bottom line: offbeat efforts like this are raising awareness for the issue. If you know of any, be sure to tell us!

Link: Man Bags Himself to Promote Reusables

Tapped Out: The True Cost of Bottled Water

National Geographic: The Green Guide (July/August 2007 issue)

From childhood, we're told to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Unfortunately more and more Americans drink those eight glasses out of plastic bottles—a convenience that stuffs landfills, clogs waterways and guzzles valuable fossil fuels.

Not only does bottled water contribute to excessive waste, but it costs us a thousand times more than water from our faucet at home, and it is, in fact, no safer or cleaner.

Water aside, the plastic used in both single-use and reusable bottles can pose more of a contamination threat than the water. A safe plastic if used only once, #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the most common resin used in disposable bottles. However, as #1 bottles are reused, which they commonly are, they can leach chemicals such as DEHA, a known carcinogen, and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a potential hormone disrupter.

While single-use water bottles should never be used more than once, some reusable water bottles simply shouldn't be used. The debate continues over the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical known to leach out of the #7 polycarbonate plastic used to make a variety of products.

Our Take: As the battle over bottled water rages on, the best reusable choices come in stainless steel, aluminum and non-leaching plastics. Our store offers several of the brands endorsed in this story.

Link: Tapped Out: The True Cost of Bottled Water

Carrefour Announces 600,000 Reusable Bags Sold in Six Months

CNN.com 09.04.0744846carrefourbags

Carrefour's reusable bag campaign that was launched on February 26th, 2007 in the UAE, aimed at creating awareness on the impact of plastic bags that pollute the ecosystem and encouraging shoppers to reduce their use, has registered total sales of 600,000 reusable plastic bags.

Available at checkout counters as an alternative to plastic bags, the Carrefour reusable bag are sold at cost price. "If they are damaged at any point, the bags can be replaced at any Carrefour outlet free of charge," added Jean Luc Graziato, Vice President of Marketing and Sourcing at MAF Hypermarkets (Carrefour).

Our Take: Here is an example of a growing trend among retailers - virtually giving away massive quantities of cheap reusable bags (even plastic bags in this case!) as a major tactic to address the problem. There is a host of problems associated with these kinds of "freebies". The primary one being - are consumers actually going to use these cheap shopping bags or are they going to sit and start accumulating in people's closets? (This is what happened in Australia). In essence we've merely replaced one "use and toss" bag with another!  Our advice is to own a handful of attractive, high-quality, bags that you really like and will use. Looking for suggestions? Visit our store

Link: Carrefour Announces 600,000 Reusable Bags Sold in Six Months

Plastic Bag Kills Polar Bear??

4kmov.com 08.21.07

Polar bear Churchill, of the Saint Louis Zoo, died during exploratory surgery which revealed that a piece of cloth and pieces of a plastic trash bag had obstructed his digestive tract.

Our Take: We hear a lot about the environmental impacts of plastic bags on animals in the wild - for example, hundreds of thousands of marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. It's sad that this phenomenon is now being observed in a zoo too. Testament to the pervasive nature of plastic bags in our environment - they are absolutely everywhere!

Link: Plastic Bag Kills Polar Bear??

ReusableBags.com Nominated for Co-op America's Green Business of the Year for 2nd Consecutive Year

Co-op America 09.14.07

Coopnewsroom_2 Co-op America, whose mission is to harness economic power to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society, has been holding an annual competition since 2005 for Green Business of the Year. The Co-op America People's Choice Award celebrates leaders of the green economy and challenges corporate America to follow their path.

ReusableBags.com is one of the only companies to be a Top-Ten Nominee for the second year running - a testament to the impact the company is making:

  • Moving the plastic bag issue into the mainstream consciousness & promoting the wisdom of reusable shopping bags as an important part of the solution
  • Offering high-quality, practical products made from truly sustainable materials with fair labor/fair trade practices
  • Enabling 70,000 customers to reduce their consumption of use-and-toss items by an estimated 190 millions units
  • Joining the likes of Patagonia, 1% of sales are donated to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment

Vote Today!  If you applaud ReusableBags.com's efforts please click here to cast your vote and help them win the Green Business of the Year award.

To learn more about ReusableBags.com mission, click here.

Link: Co-op America’s People Choice Award

Shopping Responsibly

Ampolo.com 09.04.07

A very well made short video highlighting the advantages of reusable bags.

60,000 Plastic Bags = Consumption Art

ReusableBags.com 09.20.07

Running the Numbers, An American Self PortraitConsumption_art_zoom_out_2 
Wanna see what 60,000 plastic bags looks like (the number used in US every 5 seconds) or 2 million plastic beverage bottles (the number used in the US every five minutes)?....

We discovered this new art series, which looks at contemporary American culture through the use of statistics. Happy to see the artist chose plastic bags and bottles - two issues we are helping to tackle  - to convey his powerful messages. The series of images portrays a specific quantity of something (like 106,000 aluminum cans which represents thirty seconds of can consumption). Since statistics can often feel abstract, the artist’s hope is that these images will have a different impact than just readingConsumption_art_zoom_in the numbers alone. The project visually examines a number of bizarre measure of society, including ones of plastic bags and bottles.

This series will be exhibited at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles, opening Sep 8. Click here for more info.

Link: Consumption Art

September 19, 2007

Reusable Bags: Paint them, Use them, Love them

Newbury Current 08.24.07

When I finally made the decision six years ago to begin to use reusable bags I thought it would be easy. In fact, it was far from simple.

Look around your home for some bags that you can bring to the store. Make it a family project to decorate your reusable shopping bags. Local grocery stores and other local stores sell affordable and reusable handle bags. Try it, you just might like it!

Link: Reusable Bags: Paint them, Use them, Love them

Going Green at the Grocery

New Jersey Star Ledger 08.23.07

Concerned over the environmental damage caused by the billions of paper and plastic shopping bags discarded every year, shopper Denise Miller simply brings her own canvas bag to fill with groceries and carry home. She may not be in the minority for long.

With environmentalists targeting plastic shopping bags as a massive source of litter and waste, a growing number of cities and nations are passing laws and levies to reduce their use.

In the United States, the trend is being pushed by another simple reality: while certain forms of plastic packaging would be hard to do without, plastic shopping bags are easily replaceable. Vincent Cobbs, founder and president of reusablebags.com, a Web-based business which sells environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable shopping bags, drinking bottles and other products, said business is up 20 percent in the last two months, with most people buying canvas shopping bags. 

Link: Going Green at the Grocery

All About Plastic

CNN.com 09.16.07Arthkplasticbagsafp

Plastic, once hailed as a modern-day wonder, has faced increasing scrutiny over its impact on the environment. The estimates of how many plastic bags used annually vary wildly from 500 billion to anywhere up to 1 trillion. Even taking the more conservative estimate of 500 billion still roughly translates as 1 million every minute, according to Reusablebags.com.

According to Fast Company, in any given week in the United States, 1 billion bottles of water are being moved around the country, with Americans consuming 50 billion bottles each year. Of that, a whopping 38 billion of them are being sent to landfills, while on a daily basis 60 million just get chucked away.

The conclusion that more people appear to be coming to as the best choice for the future of plastic is one of two options: reuse or stop production at source.

Link: All About Plastic