Friday, December 29, 2006

Consciousness Raising in Ontario

Dec 29, 2006
The true cost of disposable bags
Laurie Nielsen, Ancaster News, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

Ah...the plastic bag. While they are found everywhere these days, there was a time when they were more difficult to find. Today they're found in the streets, tree branches and streams - in every corner of this planet.

CRAFTY: Sweet bag

Frankly, I don't know what a Samina bag is, but this is a super cute handbag, made by a women's cooperative in India of old plastic bags!

29 December 2006
VivaWoman! blog, Singapore

This Samina bag is fun, fresh, and is good for the planet because it’s made of recycled plastic bags, which are a huge environmental hazard. Handmade by cooperatives in India, the project collects plastic bags that litter the streets and neighborhoods of New Delhi...

CRAFTY: Elegant Jewelry from Trash

Check out Australian Mark Vaarwerk’s innovative jewelry made from sterling silver and plastic shopping bags:

December 27th, 2006
Polymer Clay Notes

Mountains of Christmas Rubbish

How was Christmas for you? Rubbish
Alice Miles, The Times, London, UK

Householders must pay for their waste

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . . three bin-liners, two packing cases and the bubblewrap from the plastic Christmas tree....

Consciousness Raising in New Zealand

Dec. 27, 2006
By Sue Newman, Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton, New Zealand

Each week, the petroleum used to make the plastic shopping bags used in the Ashburton District is sufficient to drive one car from Ashburton to Mt Hutt and back 9300 times. And while those bags can be recycled, many are finding their way into landfills around the district, Ashburton Recycling Centre manager Mike Henderson says...

photo by Johnnie McKenzie: Wastebusters staff member Sandra Cigobia gets up close and personal with an armload of the thousands of shopping bags used in the Ashburton District each week.

Pay Per Bag at Farmers Market

A vendor at a Vancouver Farmers Market is charging a per-bag fee to encourage the use of reusables:

July 2006
The Plas Tax: A Tax with an Environmental Conscience
By Vicki Baker, Coquitlam Farmers Market (originally published in "The Cream of the Crop", CFMS newsletter June 4, 2006)

You may have noticed that one of our vendors is now charging a small fee for plastic bags. This vendor was motivated by a similar initiative by the Government of Ireland which in 2002, began charging consumers a 15 cent levy on each plastic bag used at the checkout counter: the "Plas Tax", as it's come to be known...

India doesn't go for total ban

18 December 2006
Govt rules out complete ban on plastic bags
Sahara Samay, New Delhi, India

The Government today refused putting a blanket ban on usage of plastic bags in the country but noted that certain categories of plastic bags are prohibited...

Taiwan reverse 3 year bag ban

Taiwan bans disposable utensils, but reverses their 3 year ban on disposable plastic bags:

Dec 18, 2006
Many support EPA ban on throw-away utensils
By Shelley Shan, Taipei Times, Taiwan

A recent survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Admin-istration (EPA) showed that only 20 percent of the population reported that they frequently brought along non-disposable utensils to dine out...

Pigouvian Taxes

The Tax Foundation, a "nonpartisan" tax research group, don't like the plastax, saying "Policymakers have a myriad of other tools at their disposal for dealing with environmental issues". They don't like that plastaxes veer from the original purpose of the tax system, to generate revenue for government operations. I guess the free market is supposed to solve all. Ha.

December 15, 2006
Cleaning up the Environment Without Polluting the Tax Code
by Alicia Hansen, Tax Foundation Blog, Washington DC

There has been much talk lately of Pigouvian taxes, or taxes imposed on certain goods to counteract or prevent the damage to society caused by production or consumption of those goods. Pigouvian taxes are frequently advocated as a solution to environmental problems.
An example is the PlasTax, a tax imposed on plastic bags to reduce consumption and thereby prevent environmental damage caused by the manufacture and disposal of the bags....

25 million less bags in Malta

17 December 2006
With 25 million less plastic bags, eco-taxation makes an impact
James Debono, Malta Today, San Gwann, Malta

The eco-tax has had a positive impact on the environment. In two years, the number of plastic bags has been reduced by 25 million. And yet the environmental tax has failed to encourage the use of biodegradable plastic bags, the only bags which can be turned into compost, and which remain largely absent from Malta’s shopping shelves...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kerala India Ban

Kerala bans plastic items less than 50 micron thickness

Dec 13, 2006
Kerala News , Thiruvananthapuram, India

In an attempt to check environmental pollution, Kerala cabinet today decided to ban the use of plastic bags, bottles and cups with thickness less than 50 microns in the state...

Football fans get reusables

Giving out reusable bags at football games - great idea:

One Watford way to greener environment

Dec. 13, 2006
By Martin Booth, Watford Observer, UK

MORE than 1,000 reusable bags were distributed to shoppers attending Watford Football Club's clash against Reading...

IKEA's Green Consumers

Consumers want green products. Are you listening?

December 12, 2006
Rajiv Badlani, American Chronicle, Beverly Hills, CA, US

IKEA announced it wouldn’t give away free plastic bags and would charge for a sturdier reusable bag. How do you think their customers reacted? Here are some actual customer comments...

Local Government Encouragement

This little English town didn't go for the plastax, but instead "believe in working through persuasion and encouragement":

Incentive scheme to cut waste plastic

13 December 2006
The Diss Mercury, Norfolk, UK

A Norfolk council is taking action to reduce the amount of waste plastic by introducing an incentive scheme for shops and businesses...

Wish List for Santa

I like Ms. Grodinsky's list - a Farmers market and environmental stewardship in the kitchen (including canvas bags):

A food editor's holiday wish list

Dec. 11, 2006
By PEGGY GRODINSKY, Houston Chronicle, Houston TX, US

Dear Santa,
Before I moved to Houston from New York City, I had never been to Texas. I accepted a job as food editor in what was to me terra incognita (Texas incognita?) in part because so many people assured me that Houston is a terrific food town...

More on Paris Ban

I'd like to see what those rolling carts "which French housewives traditionally used for shopping" lool like. Sounds cool:

Paris to Ban Non-Biodegradable Plastic Bags Next Year

December 10, 2006
Mens News Daily, Paris, France

It is six p.m. on a weekday evening in northern Paris, and Charles Chetrit is fielding his usual crowd of customers shopping after work.
Chetrit rings up their groceries and then offers them an item that will soon be disappearing from the city: A disposable, plastic bag...

Turtle Love

The Sea Turtle is my inspiration in this "No plastic bag" endeavor. Here's a post that is all about how cool turtles are: how old they can grow, how important they are to their ecosystems. I didn't realize that In the next 10 to 20 years, as many as 40 turtle species may go extinct. Many Leatherbacks die from ingesting plastic bags. which when floating, look like jellyfish, their favorite food. Check out the video link too:

All but Ageless, Turtles Face Their Biggest Threat: Humans

Dec. 12, 2006

This was no euphemistic brushoff, no reptilian version of “Sorry, I’ll be busy that night washing my hair.” Paddling around in a tropically appointed pool at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the husky female Gibba turtle from South America made all too palpable her disdain for the petite male Gibba that pursued her....

video "Extinction Looming"

Plastic Free Zone

Time to tackle the plastic menace

Dec 12, 2006
by Shyama Rajagopal, The Hindu, Kerala, India

Declaring a place or an institution as `plastic-free' has come to be a primary step taken by the people in the drive against plastics.
The use of plastic carry bags has become one of the biggest problems as people use these bags, as they are very handy. Anything and everything is carried in a plastic bag. It will be hard to take plastic bags out of people's lives.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Viva La France!

Paris to Ban Non-Biodegradale Plastic Bags Next Year

10 December 2006
By Lisa Bryant, Paris, France

The city of Paris has decided to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags in large stores as of 2007, in an effort to cut down on pollution. The City of Lights is hardly the first to tackle its plastic woes. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports for VOA that from Ireland to South Africa, the throwaway bag is heading for the dustbin - of history...

Tips to remember your reusables

Leave your bags on your front doorknob so you'll remember to bring them when you go out:

Get hooked

Dec. 8, 2006
Freya, Little Green Dot, PA

I really don't know what's wrong with me. I mean, I care so much about the environment and I know damn well that plastic bags are a bad thing, and yet four out of five times, I'll get to wherever I'm shopping and realize I've left my cool string bags...

Hanover High Kids spreading the word

Cool! Treehugger picked up the story about the Hanover High kids in New Hampshire:

One Bag at a Time....

December 7, 2006

Hanover High School students in Hanover, NH have decided to help protect their environment by taking on the challenge of convincing consumers in their town to switch from disposable shopping bags to reusable ones. The whole project sprang out of a family trip one of the kids took to Australia, where they learned about a similar grass-roots project that spread in that country...

CRAFTY: How to use Furoshiki

From the Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan:

How to use Furoshiki

Furoshiki is a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth which is used repeatedly in a stylish way. (The utilization of this "Mottainai Furoshiki" will contribute to reducing household waste from plastic bags)...

Mermaids Tears

Listen to this BBC radio program online. It is part of the program "Costing the Earth". It will be up until Thursday 12/14:

Mermaids Tears


New research shows that plastic fragments are to be found everywhere in our oceans. Samples taken from around the world show the presence of tiny particles of plastic, otherwise known as Mermaids Tears. These plastics will remain in the environment possibly for hundreds of years...

British Study Extends proof of plastic's damage to the sea

Dr Thompson's findings estimate there are 300,000 items of plastic per sq km of sea surface. He's taken samples from all over the world. This is so depressing:

Plastics 'poisoning world's seas'

Dec. 7. 2006
By Maggie Ayre, BBC, UK

Microscopic particles of plastic could be poisoning the oceans, according to a British team of researchers. They report that small plastic pellets called "mermaids' tears", which are the result of industry and domestic waste, have spread across the world's seas...

Pay per bag in China

Charging for shopping bags

Lu Yuying, CCTV

China's supermarket industry spends five billion yuan on shopping bags and packing boxes each year. The financial and environmental costs are tremendous. Now some supermarkets in the southwestern city of Kunming City have begun to charge for plastic bags, but response has been lukewarm...

CRAFTY: snowflakes from plastic bags

Crochet a snowflake from plastic bags:

Use Strips Of Plastic Bags To Crochet Snowflakes!
10,000 Great Ideas

Cut plastic bags into long strips and then crochet into lovely snowflakes. These will be waterproof so can be used to decorate outdoors or inside - providing you with decorations for free whilst using up old plastic bags.

9 Out of 10 Aussies Prefer Ban

Strong support for plastic bag ban

Dec. 7, 2006,22606,20883901-2682,00.html
The Sunday Mail, Adelaide, Australia

SOUTH Australians lead the nation in their support for a ban on plastic bags, a Newspoll survey says. Nine out of 10 people surveyed (91 per cent) said they were in favour of a ban on plastic bags to help reduce landfill, damage to marine life and greenhouse pollution. The survey was commissioned as part of the 2007 Clean Up Australia campaign.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

School Fundraiser: Bag Recycling

Elementary schools recycling bags for cash

December 1, 2006
By Pat Hambrick, The Daily Citizen, Searcy, Arkansas

People do a lot of extra shopping this time of year and end up with stacks of empty shopping bags that have to be dealt with. An alternative approach allows locals to support a local school, declutter your home, and do something good for the environment — all by simply taking your plastic shopping bags to your local elementary school, where students are earning money...

Kids lead the way

Summarizes some recent student run campaigns:

Kids can see the writing on the wall

Dec. 2, 2006

Kids can see the writing on the wall. Businesses should learn from them.

Kids are faster than businesses in catching on that plastic bags are a big issue for the world today and one of the easiest problems to solve...

Students plan to ditch bags

More from Wales, the Guild of Students at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth:

Ditching Plastic Bags

December 02, 2006

This Monday, at the Guild General Meeting at 6.15pm in The Joint, in the Union, I will be proposing a motion, seconded by Jenny from The Ethical Living Liason (TELL), for the Union shop to start charging for giving out plastic bags.This would be a 5p charge for every plastic bag that a person takes with them, and the funds raised will go back into campaigning for environmental improvements in the Union and elsewhere on campus...

Don't Trash Nevada

They are even talking about it now in Las Vegas:

Paper or Plastic?

Dec. 2, 2006
Las Vegas

It's a common question. We thought we were doing good things when plastic grocery bags came out. After all, those plastic bags consume 40% less energy to produce and generate 80% less solid waste than paper bags. The bad news is that one of those plastic bags will last on the side of the road for about 1,000 years, as opposed to about a month for a paper bag. Don't Trash Nevada provided me with some interesting data about the paper vs. plastic dilemma...

Paris moves toward ban

France’s capital seeks early ban
on non-biodegradable plastic bags

By David Vink, Paris, Plastics & Rubber Weekly, Croydon, UK

Paris aims to enforce ban before 2010.

As the Emballage packaging fair drew to a close on Friday last week, the Paris city hall issued a statement that it is launching a plan to “put an end to the distribution of plastic bags” from 2007...

Keep Wales Tidy & Employed

Keep Wales Tidy (love that name) responds to recent accusations that a plastic bag ban will cost jobs:

'Jobs not at risk in bags ban'

Nov 27 2006
Martin Shipton, Western Mail, Wales, UK

THE Keep Wales Tidy group has hit back at claims that banning plastic bags from Welsh supermarkets would have undesirable consequences.
Recently the Carrier Bag Consortium, representing bag manufacturers, criticised Environment Minister Carwyn Jones for suggesting such a ban...

Tanzania leads the way

Another story about Tanzania, this one from a San Jose CA paper. Plastic bag campaigns are definitely getting increased coverage:

Tanzania is latest African country to ban cheap plastic bags

Dec. 03, 2006
By SHASHANK BENGALI, McClatchy Newspapers, San Jose, CA

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania - The fabled marketplaces of this East African island once lured traders from across the Indian Ocean with soft ivory, exotic spices and slaves. Now Zanzibar is taking a stand against a staple of modern-day commerce: the plastic bag.
Last month the nation of Tanzania, which includes semi-autonomous Zanzibar, banned cheap plastic bags, becoming the latest African country to crack down on what's increasingly seen as an environmental menace...

Enviro costs of paper & plastic

This is from the Village Green blogger in Akron Ohio again. She/he has included some interesting statistics from the New England EPA about paper bags:

Lots of Luck

December 02, 2006

Long Live the Village Green Blog, Akron, Ohio

Shopping today at a Tops Store, now holding going out of business sales at various locations, I had with me my cloth shopping bags. So when the clerk began to bag up my groceries without asking, "paper or plastic?" -- I stopped her by saying -- "I brought my own bags, I'm trying to save the planet."She gave me a disgusted look and said, "Lots of luck," then turned her back on me and swaggered away like I was some kind of nut...

Paper or plastic? Neither in Poughkeepsie

Company helps environment with reusable bags

December 3, 2006
By DAN SHAPLEY, Poughkeepsie Journal, Poughkeepsie, NY

Her answer to paper or plastic? Neither.

Last year, Lisa Foster, a Los Angeles resident, gave up her career as an English teacher to proselytize for reusable shopping bags. She started a company, 1 Bag at a Time, to distribute polypropylene bags to grocery stores, including some in the Hudson Valley."My campaign is a national one to educate consumers about the impact of those paper and plastic bags we throw away daily," she said...

Grab That Bag

Grab That Bag

December 2, 2006 CASSIE MACDUFF, Press Enterprise, Riverside, CA

Like shabby, wayward balloons, they float on currents of air swirling above the freeway.They catch on roadside shrubbery and electrical wires. They pile up against fences and curbs. They make perfectly trimmed landscapes look, well, trashy...

Support Independents & Use Reusables

Leithers asked to boycott big shops and bag a green carrier

Dec. 4, 2006
BRIAN FERGUSON, Edinburgh Evening News, Scotland

A HIGH-PROFILE campaign is being mounted to persuade Leithers to shun supermarket giants like Tesco, back independent stores and boycott plastic bags. Thousands of cotton shopping bags are being distributed to local businesses in a bid to spread the word about Greener Leith...

Hong Kong extends No Plastic Bag Day

'No plastic bag day' extended to 2007

December 5, 2006
Environment News, Hong Kong

Thanks to the wide support of major supermarket and retail chains, the 'No plastic bag day' campaign will be extended to 2007...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

High School Student Campaign

Students promote greener bags

November 29, 2006
Lebanon Valley News, HANOVER, N.H.

A group of Hanover High School students is hoping to persuade consumers to give up disposable shopping bags.
The group of 14- and 15-year-olds has laid out plans and secured sponsors for a publicity campaign to boost the use of reusable polypropylene bags at stores in Hanover...

Plastic bags in Scotland

Taysiders using 300 bags per person per year

29 November, 2006
Evening Telegraph, Dundee, Scotland

The average person in Tayside uses a staggering 300 shopping bags a year with most going to landfill after only one use. Figures release today, at the launch of a new campaign to reduce the amount of corporate and household waste, revealed the shocking extent of Tayside’s wasteful practices...

It's in the bag Canada

Eco-geek to eco-chic: It's in the bag

Nov. 29, 2006
ROBYN STUBBS, 24 HOURS, Vancouver, Canada

How many plastic bags are hiding under your kitchen sink?
According to the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Canadians take home 55 million plastic bags every week.
Most of those bags end up as litter or in landfills...

Hong Kong voluntary pact showing success

Supermarkets dole out fewer plastic bags

November 29, 2006, Hong Kong

Supermarkets have handed out 80 million fewer plastic bags since the launch of the voluntary pact on plastic-bag reduction, Secretary for the Environment, Transport & Works Dr Sarah Liao says. The three major supermarket chains have achieved 24-29% cuts, far above their 15% target...

Paying Indirect or Direct Costs?

In what is being called a radical move, the Kenyan government is trying to reduce plastic waste by increasing the thickness of bags and thus the cost:

November 30, 2006
Kenya: Plastic Shopping Bags to Cost More
Jeff Otieno, The Nation, Nairobi

Shoppers will pay more for plastic bags come next year.
It is expected that the price of the bags will more than double, approximately from Sh1 to between Sh2.50 and Sh5. The extra cost will be transferred to consumers indirectly...

For a different take on this, here's something from Gathura's World, a blog from Nairobi. He makes a very good point:

November 30, 2006
NARC-otics in a Plastic Bag

"Instead of asking shoppers to pay directly for the bags when and if they want them, the government has chosen to charge all consumers regardless of whether or not they make the environmentally sound decision to reject the bags. This is unlikely to result in fewer people asking for the bags at the supermarket counter. For that to happen, consumers who make environmentally foolish choices would need to bear the full cost of those choices, not share the burden with those who chose otherwise."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

CRAFTY: placemat into reusable bag

Make a quick and pretty reusable tote bag out of a placemat:

Nov. 20, 2006

from Musings of a Domestic Goddess blog, Utah

Tasmanian Bag Levy: Enviros vs. Liberals

Liberals slam the door on plastic bag solution

24 November 2006
Paula Wriedt, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania led the charge today on phasing out single use plastic bags, despite a lack of support from the Federal Liberal Government to implement a national levy.
Environment Ministers from around Australia and New Zealand met in Christchurch, New Zealand, for the fourteenth Environmental Protection and Heritage Council Meeting.
Tasmanian Minister for the Environment, Paula Wriedt, said that a national levy provided the easiest and simplest way to achieve a reduction in plastic bag use and the desired environmental outcomes...


Think before using another plastic bag

Nov 24, 2006
Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada

Ah... the plastic bag. While they are found everywhere these days, there was a time when they were more difficult to find.
Today they're found in the streets, tree branches and streams - in every corner of this planet. Around landfills they come loose from the other waste, become airborne and fly onto the neighbouring lands. Worldwide, stray plastic bags present problems when they clog sewer drains or endanger animal life.
Maharashtra, India has moved to ban all plastic bags after storm drains became blocked by bags and caused widespread flooding resulting in more than 1,000 deaths.
Many nations are implementing various levels of bans...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Shopping in Akron

This is from a green blogger in the midwest. It's these kinds of small actions from regular folks, putting pressure on stores, corporations, city governments, that is making a difference:

Shopping with bags in Akron

Sunday, November 19, 2006
Village Green Blog, Akron , Ohio

Recycling, in order to be effective, has to become an everyday routine. Take shopping, for example. When I remember to return my shopping bags to my vehicle, they are there to be used whenever I stop for groceries or books or any other items I might buy...

and here's today's entry with a follow up:

Roots & Shoots

Jane Goodall's wonderful family environmental organization Roots & Shoots has a new reusable bag campaign. The website has materials like posters and fact sheets that kids can use to educate their neighbors about plastic bags. There's a great letter from Dr. Jane about why this campaign is important. They are even running a letter writing campaign to the President Kikwete of Tanzania, thanking him for banning plastic bags in his country.

Roots & Shoots Reusable Bag Campaign

Another Aussie City Bags the plastic

Bag the chance to get rid of plastic

15th November 2006
by Michael Newhouse, Star News, Melbourne, Australia

BRIMBANK City Council is encouraging residents to ‘Say No to Plastic Bags,’” giving locals the chance to exchange their old plastic bags for reusable ones as part of a new council campaign to cut the number of bags in Brimbank...

also, from the Brimbank City Council itself:
Residents are set to give plastic bags the boot in favour of reusable bags when Brimbank’s “Say NO to plastic bags!” campaign kicks off later this year...

What's IN the bag matters

Paper or plastic ... or is it what's in the bag that matters?

November 9, 2006
By Cathy Donohue, Times Argus, Barre, Vermont

"Paper or plastic?" the checkout clerk asks. Over the years it's become a pretty common question, and one that's been debated among people concerned about the environment. Let's take a quick look at the possible pros and cons of each, and dig a little deeper into the real question at hand...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Biodegradable plastic bags?

Is there really such a thing as a biodegradable plastic bag? Apparently there are some imposters out there. It's more complicated than it first seems - biodegradable vs. "totally degradable" vs. photo-degradable. I'm still confused:

Warning: Misleading claims being made to fool you!

Nov. 1, 2006
Norquest Bags Blog, Ahmedabad, India

What exactly are biodegradable plastic bags? You can be forgiven for believing that they would be bags that will do you and your environment no harm at all. But there’s too much dishonesty and sophistry being practiced in the areas of recycling and biodegradability.
Unfortunately some people are passing off photo-degradable bags as biodegradable....

One of the comments to this mentioned another website as a source of more info on the ways plastic can degrade:

Artists Design Reusable Bags

Great idea!

Sainsbury's launch "desirable" shopping bags

Nov. 3, 2006
By Andrea Height, Materials Recycling Weekly, UK

Sainsbury’s and the Arts Council England have joined forces to produce a range of limited edition shopping bags designed by well-known artists
Launched last week, the 50p “art in your hand” bags mark the Arts Council England’s 60th anniversary. They aim to promote the use of reusable shopping bags as well as raise awareness and debate about the role the arts play in people’s lives...

Take it all off at the checkout stand!

This is great! A UK minister advises his constituents to drive home the point about excess packaging - by pulling all the extra stuff off at the checkout stand! 3 reporters tell their personal stories about following his advice:

'The government told us to do it'

November 15, 2006,,1948099,00.html
The Guardian, UK

This week environment minister Ben Bradshaw urged shoppers to teach supermarkets a lesson by dumping wasteful packaging at the cash till. It's not often a member of the government recommends direct action.

What would the big chains make of it? We sent three writers to find out ...

a sampling:

"The ready meals deserve a whole packaging exhibition to themselves: there is foil wrapped in plastic, and plastic wrapped in cardboard, with cardboard labels wrapped over everything wherever possible. Maybe the cardboard is recycled, but really, it ain't good enough."

"I hear the tutting from the people in the queue. "If you don't stop I'm going to have to get the manager," says the woman in the body warmer. "I'm just taking the packaging off, like the environment minister told us to," I reply."

""Don't worry about the smell," I grin desperately, ripping open a plastic packet of mint three times as large as its contents. A minty aroma fills the air. Shopping this way is so much more sensual."

Keep Australia Beautiful Award goes to bag campaign

Marrickville wins reusable shopping bag award

November 16, 2006
ABC News Online, Sydney, Australia

An inner-west Sydney council and the manufacturers of a reusable supermarket shopping bag are this year's winners of the Keep Australia Beautiful Awards for reducing plastic bag use.
Marrickville Council has won the government prize for its successful 'Bagbusters' campaign, including distributing free reusable bags to residents and producing educational brochures in 10 languages...

Big Supermarkets launch reusables

Stop & Shop and Giant Launch Reusable Shopping Bag Program

Nov. 17, 2006
Commerce, CA

Earthwise Bag Company, Inc. today announced that The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company and Giant Food, two of the East Coast’s largest food retailers, will make Earthwise’s reusable bags available in all 565 of their stores throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

China's chain stores: 50 billion bags

China's chain stores use 50 billion plastic carryout bags a year

Nov. 10, 2006
People's Daily Online

China's shops hand out 50 billion plastic carrier bags to customers each year, according to a report by the China Chain Store and Franchise Association (CCFA).
The report on issues of energy conservation in chain stores was based on a three-month survey into the country's 30 high-profile retail chain stores and franchises, according to CCFA.

Bras for Bag Ladies

Bra-maker to turn Japanese women into bag ladies

Nov 8, 2006

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese women who don't indulge in the national passion of buying designer bags and who care about the environment may soon have an alternative -- their bra. A lingerie maker, in a bid to discourage Japanese from using plastic bags, on Wednesday unveiled a bra whose cup padding unfolds to become a handheld shopping bag...

Friday, November 17, 2006

CRAFTY reusable bags

Some crafty projects for making reusable bags out of recycled materials:

Recycled sweater totes
By Leigh Radford, with instructions adapted from her book, AlterKNITS

Give old sweaters a second chance by turning them into one-of-a-kind handbags

By Kristi Porter
More bags from sweaters. Bags are really fun to make, because you can hardly go wrong. They are a great place to experiment, they don't have to fit, it's okay to have lots of them and they make great gifts.

Bags Valuable for Making Lumber

There are more markets for recycled materials from bags. The plastic lumber market is growing:

Plastic bags 'valuable'

November 15, 2006
By ROSS ROMANIUK, STAFF REPORTER Winnipeg Sun, Mannitoba, Canada

One man's trash is an industry's treasure -- or at least a valuable and reusable tool. That message comes from an industry group as it urges Winnipeg residents to return plastic shopping bags, or reuse or recycle them, rather than toss them out....

Welsh Jobs at Risk?

What a surprise - Plastic bag manufacturers say "there is a popular misconception that plastic bags are bad for the environment. The fact is that view is based on junk science.":

Plastic-bag ban, 'jobs will be at risk'

Nov 15 2006
by Martin Shipton, Western Mail, Wales, UK

ENVIRONMENT Minister Carwyn Jones has been accused of being badly-informed about plastic bags - and warned that his idea of banning them in supermarkets could cost Welsh jobs...

Zanzibar bans plastic bags

Zanzibar bans thin plastic bags

Business in Africa Online, TANZANIA

A ban on thin plastic bags blamed for environmental degradation and harming wildlife has taken effect on Tanzania's tourism-dependent Zanzibararchipelago, officials said...

A Million a Minute

A million a minute. A million a minute. A million a minute. Think about that. And less than .67 percent of plastic bags are recycled:

Plastic bags costly for environment

November 13, 2006
Red&, Athens, GA

Every minute in the United States, we use approximately 1 million plastic bags. Target alone purchases 1.2 billion bags yearly for their customers - add to that Wal-Mart, Kroger, Best Buy and almost every other place you shop, and you can start to see how our annual total is more than 100 billion bags...

Singapore using fewer plastic bags

Singaporeans asking for fewer plastic bags when grocery shopping

07 November 2006
By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia, Singapore

NTUC Fair Price says Singaporeans are becoming more environmentally friendly,as many are asking for fewer plastic bags when grocery shopping. This is good news as Singapore marks Clean and Green Week...

Botswana Ministry Bans Plastic Bags

Ministry bans thin plastic bags

07 November, 2006
Daily News, FRANCISTOWN, Botswana

A ban on the use of plastic bags will effect on February 1, forcing shoppers to either provide their own bags or pay for the new-style thicker recyclablebags. Wildlife, environment and tourism minister Mr Kitso Mokaila said in an interview that the new law aims to protect the environment...

The plastic garbage pit of the Pacific

A new Greenpeace report just came out on the dangers and sources of plastic in the great Pacific Garbage Patch:

The plastic garbage pit of the Pacific

November 6, 2006
Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer, San Francisco Gate, San Francisco,CA

Trash particles, looking like food, imperil sea life

Plastic trash caught up in a swirling vortex in the North Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii is killing sea life, choking birds and fishand entangling seals and sea lions, a new Greenpeace report says....

See the whole Greenpeace report here:

Maids urged not to use plastic bags

Maids urged not to use plastic bags

November 06, 2006
by Caroline Kim, The Standard, Hong Kong

Volunteers of the environmental group, the Green Student Council, took to the streets Sunday to promote awareness among the territory's more than300,000 domestic helpers of the need to cut down on plastic bags usage...

Waste Professionals say "No plastic bags"

Even waste professionals say "No plastic bags!" But the company who did the survey didn't like the results:

Cromwell contests results of own bag survey
Recycling & Waste World, UK

OVER 70% of waste professionals who responded to a survey on plastic bags carried out by plastics recovery and recycling specialists, CromwellPolythene, believe that the best thing for the environment is to have no plastic bags at all...

A plastic bag free Cowra

Another city wide program that works. The previous collection program removed 38,000 plastic bags from the environment:

A plastic bag free Cowra

13 September 2006
Cowra Guardian, Cowra, Australia

Cowra Council has recently reinstated its successful plastic bag replacement program, in an effort to make Cowra a plastic bag free shire.The program encourages residents and businesses to exchange twenty plasticbags for an alternative reusable bag. The exchange is free to participants and can be repeated as many times as necessary...

Filipino Celebrities use straw bag to shop

"The plastic invasion of the Filipino culture and society must end." Yeah! According to this, 76% of the waste in Manila Bay is plastic:

Filipino Celebrities use straw bag to shop

Sept. 4, 2006
By Blanche Rivera, Inquirer, Quezon City, Phillippines

CELEBRITIES gave grocery shopping a twist on Monday as they declined plastic bags at the supermarket and instead brought out "bayong" or straw bags and cloth bags to carry their goods...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Niger Paves Problem With Plastic-Bag Bricks

Niger is turning its plastic bag problem into filler for its crumbling roads:

Niger Paves Over Its Garbage Problem With Plastic-Bag Bricks

Nov 27, 2005
by Natasha BurleyNiamey, Niger (AFP c/o TerraDaily)

It's a familiar joke across Niger that the national bird of the northwest African desert state is a black plastic bag, winging its way from market stall to trash heap to flock to the bare-branched trees around the dusty capital...

Hong Kong says no plastic bags for a day

Every day, Hong Kong consumes more than 30 million plastic bags, or five bags for every resident. They are trying to do something about it:

Hong Kongers saying no to plastic bags for a day

14 April 2006
By Channel NewsAsia's Hong Kong Correspondent Steven Jiang

HONG KONG : Hong Kong holds its first No Plastic Bag Day on April 15 as part of city-wide efforts to go green...

Plastic bags banned in Bombay

Plastic Bags not only use up fossil fuels, release CO2, and kill sea turtles, they cause serious clogs in municipal drainage systems:

Plastic bags banned in Bombay


State officials tie flooding that killed 1,000 to clogged gutters

"The western Indian state of Maharashtra on Friday said it is banning most plastic bags, blaming them for choking drains and causing floods a month ago that left more than 1,000 people dead, most in Bombay..."

Irish bag tax hailed success

The Plastax really works. We need one in the US:

Irish bag tax hailed success

20 August, 2002,
BBC News

Stores including Tesco have welcomed the tax.

A tax on plastic shopping bags in the Republic of Ireland has cut their use by more than 90% and raised millions of euros in revenue, the government says...

Paper vs. Plastic

This breaks down the ecological footprint of paper vs. plastic. From Greenfeet, a natural products store:

Paper vs. Plastic - The Shopping Bag Debate

October 2002

You step up to the register, the cashier asks if you've found everything ok and then the inevitable question is asked: "Will it be paper or plastic?"
What decision did you make? Was it an informed choice? Was it the best ecological choice? Well, to answer that, we need to start at the beginning and review each option and its impact on the environment...

Altered Oceans: Plastic Plague

The LA Times did a brilliant job in August 2006, reporting on the dire conditions that our earth's oceans are in. Though it may make you sad and angry, I highly recommend you read at least some of the 5 part series.

This is part 4. It was what drove me to make my "No more plastic bags" vow:

Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas

August 2, 2006,0,3130914.story
By Kenneth R. Weiss, Times Staff Writer

On Midway Atoll, 40% of albatross chicks die, their bellies full of trash. Swirling masses of drifting debris pollute remote beaches and snare wildlife.


We use approximately 1 million plastic bags every single minute in the US. If you've ever participated in a river or beach cleanup you know where many of them go. The damage they do to waterways and sealife is huge. And they are made of non-renewable fossil fuels for which we are fighting a losing warin Iraq. Isn't conservation the smart thing to do here?!

For that 2 minutes of convenience we get, the bags stay in the environment for up to one thousand years! Come on people, get over it. Grab a cloth bag and don't be part of the problem anymore.

This blog is going to be a compilation of current news stories about the worldwide campaign to eliminate the single use plastic bag. Thanks for reading.