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8 posts from February 2009

February 19, 2009

Recycled Clothing - Converting recycled plastic into fabric

Business Week 2.17.09 Businessweek

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.

Link: Recycled Clothing – converting recycled plastic into fabric

Senate committee backs ban on plastic bags

Msnbc MSNBC 2.12.09

A proposal in Colorado to ban plastic bags at supermarkets and other large stores by 2012 passed its first test at the state Capitol on Wednesday…

The proposed ban is opposed by supermarkets, big box stores and department stores. The bill would not apply to smaller stores and franchise operations.

Our Take:  Kudos to Colorado for standing strong amid the plastic bag industry’s significant efforts, which have squashed many other city and state bag initiatives. And while we still believe fees are the best way to change consumption behavior, it’s exciting to see this legislation move through the state Senate.

Link: Senate committee backs ban on plastic bags

New Safety Law Doesn't Mean All's Well in Toyland

NPR 2.12.09  Npr

A new federal law took effect this week banning chemicals called phthalates in children's toys and other kids' products. While the ban was hailed as a victory for children's health, it's no guarantee that the products are safe.

That's because companies currently aren't required to publicly disclose the chemicals they use in place of phthalates — and little is known about the health effects of one of the most widely used alternatives.

Our Take:  We’re glad to hear that phthalates have finally been banned from children’s toys (it’s about time!). However, as the article cautions, it’s tough to know whether toys contain the harmful chemical in the first place – making it difficult to regulate. Not to mention, the 80,000 phthalate substitutes being used in its place, whose toxicity isn’t known. We suggest steering clear of any plastics that aren’t thoroughly tested and from a trusted source.

Listen here

Link: New Safety Law Doesn’t Mean All’s Well in Toyland

I Lego N.Y.

Lego The New York Times 2.02.09   

During the cold and dark Berlin winter days, I spend a lot of time with my boys in their room. And as I look at the toys scattered on the floor, my mind inevitably wanders back to New York.

Our Take:   A cool, artistic take on the plastic bag issue that also shows the ubiquity of plastic bags in our trees, cityscapes and landscapes, sadly.

Link: I Lego N.Y.

Taxing Plastic Bags, From Pennies Here to Millions There

The New York Times 2.02.09  Nytimesarticle

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed a 5-cent fee on new plastic bags at the store register last week… The projected revenue for this “user fee” was $84 million — a sharp increase from the last figure floated, just $16 million.

That breaks down to one bag for every man, woman and child in New York City every single day of the year. The site Reusablebags.com estimates that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed annually around the globe.

Our Take:  We’re glad to hear the NYC bag fee has been expanded beyond grocery stores to include restaurants and other retailers – but we still think 5-cents just isn’t enough to change behavior. While the city may be looking forward to its potential millions in revenue, changing consumption habits is the true goal of a bag fee. Ireland’s heftier PlasTax cut plastic bag use by 90% in the first year alone! 

Link: Taxing Plastic Bags, From Pennies Here to Millions There

February 18, 2009

Reducing plastic bag use 'on target'

TheStar.com 2.07.09

Ontario shoppers carried home 269 million fewer shopping bags in 2007 than they did in 2006.

On the other hand, they still carted off a little more than 4 billion single-use bags over the course of the year. That's 316 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the province. And fewer than one in 12 of those bags found its way into a recycling program.

Link: Reducing plastic bag use 'on target'

Santa Monica: City Council delays ban on single-use plastic bags

Argonaut The Argonaut 1.29.09

The Santa Monica City Council was set to adopt an ordinance earlier this month banning single-use plastic bags from all retail establishments in the city, but postponed taking action…

A day before the meeting, the city received a 17-page letter from Stephen Joseph, an attorney representing SaveThePlasticBag.com, which is an association of plastic bag manufacturers and related businesses, stating its intent to file a lawsuit against the city after the ban is passed…

Link: Santa Monica: City Council delays ban on single-use plastic bags

Plastic chemical may stay in body longer: study

Reuters UK 1.28.09Bpa  

A controversial chemical used in many plastic products may remain in the body longer than previously thought, and people may be ingesting it from sources other than food, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

While the belief had been BPA was quickly and completely eliminated from the body through urine, this study found people who had fasted for even a whole day still had significant levels of the chemical.

Link: Plastic chemical may stay in body longer: study