Sunday, April 29, 2007

Modbury Joins the Club

English town bans plastic bags
AP, London, UK

A small town in southwest Britain is banning plastic bags in a bid to help the environment and cut waste — a move environmentalists believe is a first for Europe.
Shopkeepers in Modbury, population 1,500, agreed to stop giving out disposable plastic bags to customers on Saturday. They said paper sacks and cloth carrier bags would be offered instead...

Canada Moving Beyond the Bag

This is a summary of what's going on in Canada these days:

Apr 28 2007
Age of plastic belongs in the past
Mitch Wright, Nanaimo News Bulletin, Vancouver Island, Canada

Paper or plastic? How about neither!
Few shoppers still choose the once-ubiquitous brown paper grocery bags, opting instead to save a tree or two by choosing their now even more prevalent plastic counterparts. But there’s a growing movement afoot to outlaw the non-biodegradable polythylene bags...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Changing Face of Shopping Bags in Ethiopia

This is an opinion piece from Ethiopia on the potential ban there. The writer makes some good points, namely that there needs to be a public education campaign to accompany any ban. But the piece quotes a New Scientist article that I have a big problem with (couldn't find the original link): "As greenhouse gas emission rise to the top of the environment agenda, plastic begins to look even better, as anything that reduces total energy demands has to be progress." This is, once again, not seeing the forest for the trees.

Ethiopia: Outlawing Plastic Bags; Will That Take Shopping Backwards?

April 25, 2007
B. Mezgebu, The Daily Monitor via, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Before its collapse in Europe, socialism had made it almost fashionable and it must be said essential, for people in those countries to carry shopping bags wherever and whenever they went outside their homes. The logic being that someone might stumble on some critically scarce consumer good on their daily errands...

Bagging reusables in plastic

Time to go OFF autopilot here folks, if your goal is to actually make a difference that is. If it's more greenwash, then, I guess it makes sense:

April 25, 2007
Bags you win!
Lynn Morris, Dorset Echo, UK

SHOPPERS queued for hours to buy a designer shopping bag emblazoned with the words "I'm not a plastic bag". It was sold to them in - you guessed it - a plastic bag...
Here's another link about the story from New Scientist

photo: Matthew Waite and Ian Roe finally get their hands on a limited-edition Anya Hindmarch bag at Sainsbury, Castlepoint

Monday, April 23, 2007

Feminist Mormon Housewives use Reusables!

I had to post this one, from the Feminist Mormon Housewives Blog. Wow, who knew there was such a thing? They look like a cool bunch of ladies actually:

April 23, 2007
Paper or Plastic? Neither please
fMhLisa, Feminist Mormon Housewives

I’m sad to admit that my attempts at being eco-friendly are mostly a bit lame. I don’t shower in a pan, and reuse all my water ten times like some people. But I have been making an effort to take baby steps toward helping Mother Earth. (Where I grew up in Southern Utah “environmentalist” was a dirty word much more vile than “feminist”, so the path is a long one.)...

ADM and Bio-plastic

The label "Biodegradable" can be misleading. I must say that I am suspicious of anything ADM does. Even if they ARE plant based, these bags could create the same problems the much-touted ethanol "solution" will - using huge amounts of energy to farm the corn, plus the pesticide runoff and other pollution, and the insanity of using food to run cars or manufacture bags. We should be focusing on reducing our use:

ADM and Metabolix will make bio-plastic. What about Novamont's Mater-bi?
New Energy Watch

A press release today says Archer Daniels Midland and their partners, Metabolix, will be producing "a family of high-performance natural plastics that are biobased, sustainable, and completely biodegradable," to be called Mirel Natural Plastics...

Los Angeles Next?

Hey, maybe my hometown will jump on the bandwagon too!

L.A. County Supervisors Considers Options to Combat Plastic Bag Problems
Recycling Today Magazine

On April 10 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors discussed the possible banning of plastic bags in the county. San Francisco recently passed legislation banning the bags, with New York State considering the move...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Leaf Rapids beats San Francisco

The little Canadian town of Leaf Rapids beat San Francisco to be the first town in North America to ban plastic bags:

Apr 2, 2007
Tiny Canadian town enacts ban on plastic bags
By Patricia Launt, Reuters, Toronto

A small Canadian town claimed the honor on Monday of being the first municipality in North America to ban retailers from using plastic bags, in an effort to maintain its pristine environment. The town's administrator said Leaf Rapids, a northern Manitoba mining town about 975 km (610 miles) northwest of Winnipeg, has ordered retailers to stop giving away or selling single-use plastic bags as of Monday. Stores that break the law face a C$1,000 ($865) fine....

Brooklyn Assembly Bill to Ban Introduced

April 21, 2007
Assemblyman: It’s time to bag the plastic
Gary Buiso, Courier Life, Brooklyn, NY

Assemblymember William Colton recently introduced a bill seeking to ban plastic grocery bags from large supermarkets statewide...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

God Forbid We "interrupt the checkout flow"

Elizabeth Royte, author of the newly published Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash makes some excellent points here - recycling the bags desn't really "close the loop"; feel-good, green-washed activities are not enough; and corporate profits are still trumping real change:

April 18, 2007
Elizabeth Royte, The Huffington Post

When I was asked to speak at something called BagFest at Indiana University South Bend, last week, I was initially skeptical. Why did we need a festival to collect bags for recycling, and what good did recycling them do, in the larger scheme of troubling environmental problems? But when I walked into the cafeteria and saw the ten-foot - and growing fast - mountain of plastic, I had a change of heart.

Santa Cruz Next?

It's so exciting how other cities have been inspired by San Francisco's bold move:

Non-biodegradable plastic bags could be banned in Santa Cruz
The Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.- Plastic bags may soon be banned in Santa Cruz.
Taking a cue from neighboring San Francisco, the city is considering a ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags used by supermarkets and other retailers. The petroleum-based sacks have been blamed for littering streets and choking marine life...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fewer Bags = Money Saving in Canada

Storeowner says ban will save him money:

April 18, 2007
Fewer grocery bags would mean big savings: storeowner
SHERRY MARTELL The News, Nova Scotia, Canada

A North Shore grocer wants more people to shop with reusable, environmentally friendly bags.Mike Belliveau, owner of Mike’s Foodland in Tatamagouche, said reducing disposable bag use would benefit both businesses and the environment.“We have a number of customers bringing their own bags here but we would like to see more, it would be a big benefit because we don’t want to be using them (disposable bags) either.”He said recycling is a struggle and his refuse disposal costs have increased to about $12,000 annually...

Berkeley Considers Ban

Berkeley may soon follow it's neighbor San Francisco:

April 18, 2007
Berkeley considers banning plastic grocery bags
By Kristin Bender, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA

BERKELEY — The question "paper or plastic?" may soon be a thing of the past in Berkeley.
The city that was the first in the state to ban Styrofoam coffee cups and takeout containers in businesses and the first in the nation to convert its entire fleet of diesel vehicles to biodiesel is considering banning plastic grocery bags.
On Tuesday, the item from Mayor Tom Bates will come before the City Council, which likely will ship it to the city's Zero Waste Commission for several months of study...

Sainsbury's One Day Ban

April 19, 2007
Sainbury's bans plastic carrier bags for a day
David Adam, environment correspondent The Guardian, UK

The supermarket giant Sainsbury's is to ban disposable plastic carrier bags - for a single day. Shoppers passing through the checkouts on Friday next week will instead be given 10p reusable bags for free, a move that Sainsbury's called a "revolution in supermarket shopping"...


I didn't get to post on this important vote last month because my blog was down. SF rocks!

March 27, 2007
SF supes vote to ban plastic bags in stores
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 this afternoon to make the city the first in the nation to prohibit petroleum-based plastic checkout bags in large markets and pharmacies...

Rochester's Ban Bill

Rochester NY may follow San Frnacisco's lead in banning the bag:

March 30, 2007
State Senator Wants Plastic Bag Ban Channel 13, Rochester, NY

State Senator Jim Alesi (R-Perinton) is drafting a bill that would make drug and grocery stores cut their non-biodegradable plastic bag use in half by the end of 2010 and stop using them altogether by the end of 2012...

Plastic Bag Kites

This Japanese artist living in NYC makes interesting work from plastic trash - both bags and bottles:

Miwa Koizumi
Since I moved to NY four years ago, I have started to see garbage as small creatures. Everywhere I go they are waiting for me. I pass by and they want to talk with me.
I think this is based on an Asian mentality. ( also I use a lot of ephemeral materials to make a meaning for nothing) Especially in Japan, we have many spirits in our everyday life. Even if an object doesn't have a mind, its spirit affects me. This idea gives me a different point of view when observing things.

"PET" and "kite project

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Back at last! plus the Ditty Bops

HA! At last I have access to my blog again!

It's been almost 2 months. Big apologies to my readers. I got caught in Blogger's switch to a new version. Suddenly I couldn't get on through the old or the new portal, or whatever it's called.

Here's a sweet little ditty from my friends The Ditty Bops called
Paper or Plastic - the musical
Please sign their Plastic Reduction Petition and help stop the pollution and over-use of plastic bags.