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...