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12 posts from April 2009

April 30, 2009

OUR SCOOP: The Bay vs. The Bag

ReusableBags.com 4.30.09

A must-see video from San Francisco-based Save the Bay and Free Range Studios shows the tidal wave of plastic bags that threaten our environment, waterways and shorelines.

The group is mobilizing thousands –fighting for legislation to ban or tax all single-use bags in the Bay Area and throughout California. Haunting visuals and powerful statistics combine to inspire us all to kick the disposable bag habit.

Our Take:  The best video we’ve seen yet that wakes people up to plastic bag waste. We’ve been an active supporter of Free Range Studios and their powerful, cause-related videos designed to effect change.

Go Green, Save Money

IMG_5649-1 - resized The Oprah Winfrey Show 4.22.09

Our plastic bag counter was featured on Oprah’s Earth Day Show, “Go Green Save Money,” as a reminder of the thousands of plastic bags consumed every second around the world.

We were also listed in the “Going Green Resources” page at Oprah.com – for our hand-picked selection of 700+ reusables. Many were featured in the Earth Day Lunch Challenge, which shows Oprah encouraging people to switch from disposable lunch options to reusable ones. 

See the Green Resources Directory here and our Plastic Bag Counter here.

Palo Alto sued over plastic-bag ban

Palo Alto Online 4.21.09  Saveplasticbag

Palo Alto's crusade against plastic bags faced its first legal challenge Tuesday, when a coalition of groups filed a lawsuit claiming that the city acted too rashly when it banned plastic bags from local grocery stores last month.

Our Take:  The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition strikes again…first Los Angeles, then Santa Monica, now Palo Alto – the lawsuit-happy group may be stalling city initiatives to reduce consumption of bags, but all eyes are on efforts across the country to adopt reusable bags.  

Link: Palo Alto sued over plastic-bag ban

Check It Off: Kitchen reusables

Kitchenreusables The San Francisco Gate 4.12.09


Sure those throwaway items in the kitchen - coffee filters, paper towels, napkins - are convenient, but eventually the cost of all that use-and-toss stuff starts adding up, and then there's the guilt from adding to landfills. Instead of using disposables, why not invest in reusables and save in the long run? Here are some ideas.


Our Take:  A great article that provides simple ways to reduce consumption – beyond disposable bags and bottles. Nice to see advice from a major publication that aligns with what we’ve been advocating for years with our family of high quality reusables.


Link: Check It Off: Kitchen reusables

Plastic Bags Blow...and Illuminate!

Finndustry 4.05.09 Plasticbagsblow

My malevolence for the plastic bag was temporarily immobilized today while being delighted by the art group Luzinterruptus' celebration of  the vessel, with an "impromptu garden of light," installed near The Prado Museum. The installation, called “A Cloud of Bags Visit the Prado” was illuminated for a period of about 4 hours and included roughly 80 recycled baggies, which were inflated with the aid of the wind.

Our Take:  Who knew plastic bags could be something beautiful? We’re seeing a growing number of artists using the object of our ugly addiction to raise awareness about over-consumption.

Link: Plastic Bags Blow...and Illuminate!

April 01, 2009

OUR SCOOP: Plastic bag climbs remote mountain

Maunakea ReusableBags.com 4.02.09

Our founder, Vincent Cobb, films a plastic bag as it climbs a remote location in Hawaii: the summit of Mauna Kea, elevation 13,803 ft.

Another sign that even in paradise, plastic bags are simply everywhere. Watch here and here... 

"Green" plastic bag fee to go before Seattle voters

Seattle Post Intelligencer 3.30.09 SeattlePostIntelligencer

Seattleites will get to decide whether they're willing to pay a 20-cent-per-plastic bag "green" fee to help the environment.

The City Council on Monday moved to put the question before voters on the Aug. 18 ballot.

Our Take: After a lot of feet-dragging, Seattle residents will finally vote on the bag fee, originally set to take effect Jan 1 of this year. The plastics industry was successful in stalling it, but we hope they won't ultimately derail it. At 20-cents, this bag fee targeting both paper and plastic is a model for cities everywhere to reduce consumption.

Link: “Green” plastic bag fee to go before Seattle voters

Wash. bill to ban BPA in baby bottles appears dead

Seattle Post Intelligencer 3.30.09  SeattlePostIntelligencer

Washington won't be the first state in the nation to ban a controversial chemical from baby bottles and other food and drink containers for children 3 and younger.

Our Take: We applaud Washington for its leadership in trying to ban BPA at the state level. Too bad the bill won't make it through the legislature. We hope the FDA will make it federal law to ban BPA when it gives the data a second look this year. (We aren't holding our breath. Until then, our advice remains the same - avoid the stuff.)

Link: Wash. bill to ban BPA in baby bottles appears dead

Plastic? Time to Bag It.

DCbagfee The Washington Post 3.27.09

ELEVEN OF the 13 members of the D.C. Council are endorsing legislation that would place the District in the forefront of national efforts to reduce local pollution…

In truth, there really is no such thing as a free bag. The cost of bags is built into the prices consumers pay for food. And they pay again -- to the tune of $50 million a year in the District -- to pick up litter and trash, including a lot of plastic bags.

Our Take: As this editorial says, there is no such thing as a “free bag.” Bag fees reveal the invisible cost of paper and plastic bags, normally built into products in the form of higher prices, and give us all the choice to just say ‘no.’ Unfortunately, the 5-cent fee is way too low to change consumption behavior.

Link: Plastic? Time to Bag It.

Palo Alto passes shopping bag ban; lawsuit looms

San Jose Mercury News 3.17.09

"Paper or reusable?" is the question Palo Alto shoppers will face at grocery checkout counters beginning in September.

The city council Monday night voted 7-1 to ban plastic bags at supermarkets in hopes of reducing the stream of harmful litter in local creeks and the San Francisco Bay.

Our Take: Following in San Francisco's footsteps, Palo Alto bans plastic bags at supermarkets, effective Sep. 18. We like their commitment to reducing consumption, however it's fees - not bans - that are the best way to go. Ireland's PlasTax reduced plastic bag consumption by 90% in its first year alone.

Link: Palo Alto passes plastic shopping bag ban; lawsuit looms

No BPA For Baby Bottles In U.S.

The Washington Post 3.06.09  WashingtonPost

The six largest manufacturers of baby bottles will stop selling bottles in the United States made with bisphenol A, a controversial chemical widely used in plastics but increasingly linked to a range of health effects.

The manufacturers declared their intentions after Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, joined by the attorneys general in Connecticut and New Jersey, wrote to the bottle makers and asked them to voluntarily stop using the chemical.

Our Take: It's about time bottle manufacturers respond to pressure to stop using BPA in their products. Congrats to the Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey Attorney Generals for demanding regulation of this harmful chemical - if the FDA's not going to do it, someone has to.

Link: No BPA For Baby Bottles In U.S.

Plastic-Bottle Boat Ready to Sail

Plasticboat National Geographic 3.2009 

Explorer, environmentalist, and British celebrity David de Rothschild will set out on a 11,000-mile (17,703-kilometer) journey across the Pacific Ocean at the end of March—in a boat made of plastic bottles.

Our Take: The "Plastiki" has set sail - bringing awareness to the issue of out-of-control plastic bottle consumption and offering us a glimpse into how at least some of the 25 billion bottles trashed each year can be reused.

Link: Plastic-Bottle Boat Ready to Sail

Watch a video about the "Plastiki" here...