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4 posts from August 2009

August 20, 2009

Plastic Toxins May Leach into Oceans

Wired.com 08.19.09

“Although plastic has long been considered indestructible, some scientists say toxic chemicals from decomposing plastics may be leaching into the sea and harming marine ecosystems.

WiredToxicSoupContrary to the commonly-held belief that plastic takes 500 to 1,000 years to decomposes, researchers now report that the hard plastic polystyrene begins to break down in the ocean within one year, releasing potentially toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and other chemicals into the water…”

Read Toxic Soup: Plastics Could be Leaching Chemicals Into Ocean

August 11, 2009

D.C. will charge 5-cent disposable bag fee in 2010

Washington Business Journal 6.15.09WashJrn

 “The District gave its final unanimous vote in favor of charging a nickel for each paper and plastic bag that residents get from restaurants, pharmacies and grocers in an effort to clean up the Anacostia watershed… Council members pointed to a recent analysis by the D.C. Department of the Environment, which found that plastic bags make up 20 percent of trash in the Anacostia River and 50 percent of trash in its tributaries. According to that same DDOE report, charging for plastic bags could eliminate up to 47 percent of trash in the tributaries and 21 percent from the river’s main stem.”

Read the full article.

Our Take: We champion bag fees as the most sensible legislative way to influence change in consumption habits.  We're not sure, but it will be interesting to see if a A 5-cent fee will have the same success as Ireland's PlasTax (a 20-cent bag fee that resulted in a 90% reduction in consumption). Regardless, this is a a major step in the right direction.

Bag fee coverage fails to address misperceptions driven by the plastics industry

National Public Radio 8.10.09

Npr The plastic bag industry has spent more than a million dollars in the fight against Seattle’s proposed bag fee.  This is an important battle because Seattle is the largest city in America to try to pass this kind legislation, and if it goes into effect, it sets the stage for other cities to follow suit. The vote is next Tuesday, but limited preliminary polling hasn’t provided a clear idea of what the outcome will be. However, one thing is certain: the 20-cent fee would be enough to incite many residents to change their habits. One shopper admitted to NPR that while she brings her reusable bags with her to the grocery store with good intentions, she forgets to bring them inside 80% of the time. Would the bag fee help her remember? “I would remember. For sure,” she said.

Listen to NPR's Debate Over Plastic Bags Heats Up in Seattle

Our Take: The plastic industry’s concern for lower-income persons is highlighted as it's reason for opposing the bill. Conspicuously missing from NPR's coverage is any acknowledgment that the opposition may actually be rooted in the blow that a dramatic reduction in plastic bag consumption would deliver to the industry. Unfortunately, common misperceptions about the bag fee were left unaddressed.For the real facts on bag fees and why they're the smartest solution to over consumption, check out our no-nonsense rebuttal to common bag fee myths.

August 07, 2009

Documentary Reveals the Steep Costs of Bottled Water

Tapped: The Movie 2009

Recently-released documentary Tapped takes a behind-the-scenes look at the bottled water industry, bringing a critical perspective to issues such as BPA, the water industry cycle, infrastructure, and the waste and oil consumption related to the plastic bottles. The film's showing at select theaters around the country, or you can pre-order the DVD through the movie's official web site.

Watch the trailer:

Our Take: Watch this video! It's a hard-hitting take with major mainstream appeal. Plus, the film's site provides a handful of sensible ways to take action, including using high-quality reusable bottles. This delivers a message that's hard to ignore and raises awareness of an issue we've been championing from the beginning.