Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pakistan EPA says situation is grim

January 22, 2007
Polythene bags an imminent threat to environment
Daily Times, Islamabad, Pakistan

Hanging from branches, flying in the air, stuck in corners and racing along vehicles, polythene bags can be seen everywhere nowadays. Thousands of plastic bags are thrown away everyday, which results in choked drains, bacterial germinations, water borne diseases and the spread of mosquitoes...

Toronto debating ban

January 18, 2007
Should plastic bags be sacked?
John Spears, Jim Byers, Toronto Star, Toronto

Toronto councillors appear split on the idea of banning plastic shopping bags as a way of cutting down on the city's garbage. But they're all in favour of having them recycled...

San Francisco Supermarket Agreement Failing

January 18, 2007
Deal to reduce plastic bag use hits the skids
Charlie Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle

Large supermarket chains that agreed in 2005 to help reduce the number of plastic grocery bags in use in San Francisco have refused to release the number of bags they distributed last year, breaking a deal they made with the city...

Illinois Recycling Bill 259

Law would force retailers to recycle plastic bags
Blackwell Thomas, Bloomington Pantagraph, Bloomington, IL

The sight of a plastic bag dancing gently in the breeze might have provided inspiration for the Oscar winning movie “American Beauty,” but one lawmaker does not see any romance in the image.

Santa Cruz Reusables

An activist from Santa Cruz is working on promoting reusables - specifically those great little Chico Bags:

A New Year . . . .
The Breeze from San Juan Blog

I am taking on addressing disposable bags this year. I think there is an opportunity to create a conscious moment when we are offered that bag when we shop.

Aussie Green Party on Levy

16 January 2007
Government plays catch up on plastic bags
Larissa Waters, Queensland, Australia

The Greens welcomed today’s national release of a Regulatory Impact Statement on options to reduce plastic shopping bags, an issue which the Greens have been campaigning on for years.

Somaliland flowers

I was struck by this photo from Somalia. This is a blog from an Italian woman working for an NGO in Somalia:

January 16, 2007
Somali Prayer Flags?

Johanna Dellantonio

Today, on my way to a local NGO, I noticed thousands of plastic bags caught up in a fence. Management of solid waste is a growing problem in Somaliland, and it is not the first time that my eyes catch pictures of colored plastic bags lying or flying around...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Living Garbage Free

I posted a story about this couple last week. They are endeavoring to live completely garbage-free in Toronto. This is their blog so you can follow their inspiring story directly:

January 22nd, 2007
Grey Areas
No More Garbage Blog

We’re in Montreal!!! Our hosts (friends) are doing so much to ensure that we can do no garbage at their house. It’s very sweet. I feel like the most difficult house guest in the world. We will take compost home with us, unless we can find someone in Montreal who has a backyard composter. If you live in Montreal and have one, please contact me!...

New Law Implemented in Ventura

California Retailers are starting new recycling plastic bag programs, thanks to new law:

January 14, 2007
Recycling plastic bags will get easier
By David Goldstein, Ventura County Star, Ventura, CA

The paper vs. plastic debate gets a lot of attention because there are good points on each side. At grocery store checkout stands, shoppers have to make a split-second decision, and many wonder about things like which type of bag is best for reuse at home, which requires more resources to manufacture, or which can safely hold more groceries...

Skiers and Global Warming

Skier Sheila Kealy writes from an athlete's point of view about personal actions, including various ways to limit waste:

January 14, 2007
Can your eating habits affect global warming?
By Sheila Kealey, Sheila's Nutrition Digest, Ottowa, Canada

The weather this winter has heightened our awareness about global warming. With little snow, compromised recreation and training, and the cancellation of many World Cup cross country and downhill events, winter athletes are taking notice, worried about their sport and the future of our environment...

Plastic Trash in La Ceiba, Honduras

January 13, 2007
More Americanization of Honduras
La Gringa Blogicito, La Ceiba, Honduras
I've written a lot about plastic bags in Honduras. I have never seen so many plastic bags anywhere in all my life.While plastic bags do take up less space in the landfill than most other kinds of containers, a whole lot of them end up in the streets, sewers, rivers and ocean instead...

More from Canada

January 12, 2007
Toronto councillor wants to eliminate plastic bags
Jamie Pulfer, 680 All News Radio, Toronto, Canada

The plastic grocery bag may soon soon be on Toronto's endangered list.
Currently we use on average four bags a week in Ontario, which means that 2.5 billion bags end up in the trash every year...

Jan 13, 2007
Tax On Plastic Bags called for by City of Toronto Councillor
Digital Journal, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A City of Toronto Councillor wants to follow in the steps of Countries or Cities such as Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Eritrea, Ireland, Italy, Paris, Mumbai, India, South Africa,Taiwan, Tanzania where they have either banned the bags or instituted taxes on them, use has fallen from 69-90 percent...

Call for Levy in Toronto City Council

January 12, 2007
City Councillor Calls For Tax On Plastic Bags
City News, Toronto, Canada

Some use them to tote their groceries, their lunch, or to line kitchen garbage bins and our dependence on plastic bags has prompted one city councillor to call for a levy on the disposable items...

Canadian Quits Plastic Bags

A Toronto blogger shares his story about quitting plastic bags:

January 12, 2007
City Waste: Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
Kevin in City, Fresh Daily Blog, Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Star is reporting today about the City's plan to divert 70% of household waste from the dump by 2010. According to the article, 2.5 billion plastic grocery bags are consumed in the province each year, at a rate of 4 bags per person per week. They can't be recycled right now, and even though there are plans to introduce plastic bag recycling next year, there are no solid plans in place. When I moved into my current apartment, I quickly accumulated a hoard of plastic bags from buying groceries and housewares. It got to the point where I was trying to find bigger bags to put all the smaller bags in...

Japan Charging for Bags

January 11, 2007
Aeon to charge for shopping bags
Japan Today, Tokyo

Aeon Co, a nationwide supermarket chain operator, plans to begin charging for plastic shopping bags at all of its outlets in the near future in a bid to contribute to environmental protection, company officials said Wednesday...

Eco-Stylish Reusables

January 10, 2007
Grocery stores flaunt eco-style
By Jenifer Gee, Amador Ledger Dispatch, Jackson CA

While you may not see them on the arms of models strutting the runways in Paris, environmentally-friendly grocery bags are becoming more of a must-have accessory for eco-conscious county residents...

Women's Group Honored for Recycling in Swaziland

‘Umtamo wabomake’ a Swaziland women's organisation that picks up plastic bags and other trash and recycles/sells it, has won some awards:

Arrest those who litter says Lutfo
By Cassandra Shaw, The Swazi Observer, Mbabane, Swaziland

MINISTER of Enterprise and Employment Lutfo Dlamini has stated that there is a need for government to come up with a law that will ensure that anyone caught littering is arrested. The minister said littering was a bad habit and harmful to the environment.
He was speaking during the official closing of a workshop convened by the Municipal Council of Mbabane for ‘Umtamo wabomake’ organisation held at Thokoza Church Centre last Friday...

CRAFTY: Great bags knitted from bags in France

January 15, 2007
Maya of Saya blog, Antibes, France

As a person who's trying to act on what she believes in, I try to find a solution to this plastic problem by bringing my own shopping bag and saying NO to another plastic bag as often as I can. Also those plastic I had collected since I've been here (2yrs), I use and cut them up to make a bag by knitting them...

2 other projects:

A Different Opinion on Australian Ban

This Australian has a different opinion about the possible ban:

January 8th, 2007
In defence of the plastic bag
HeathG, Catallaxy blog

Today I’d like to talk about my good friend the plastic shopping bag, or PSB. When it comes to achieving its designated purpose of providing a convenient and cheap means of carrying home one’s shopping, the PSB is a hands down winner. But the PSB’s usefulness doesn’t stop when you unload your groceries...

Plastic Bags Seized in India

8 Jan, 2007
Drive against plastic bags results in seizures
Times of India, Rajkot, India, RAJKOT

As part of its cleanliness and environment awareness drive, officials of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation seized 20 kg of prohibited polyethylene bags from four different vegetable markets of the city. The official also fined a hospital for dumping medical waste in a public dustbin. According to an RMC notification, inferior quality polyethylene bags below 20 micron thickness are not allowed to be used with within city limits, but vegetable vendors frequently use them and pollute the city.

No Plastic Bag Day

January 08, 2007

Super Recycler Margaret from Newcastle

This lady rocks!

Jan 3, 2007
Margaret's recycling is plastic fantastic
Daniel Thomson, Newcastle Journal Live, Newcastle UK

It is not just the environment that benefits from recycling carrier bags. Great-grandmother Margaret Hann has come up with a host of imaginative uses for the everyday plastic bags most of us throw away after unpacking our shopping.The 92-year-old, of Blenheim Court, Windy Nook, Gateshead, crochets hats, bags, draught excluders and even rugby balls out of carrier bags to raise money for charity.

The Thing says Plastic Bags are for Chumps

Jan 2, 2007
Quit your day job blog

I made the decision this year to be a little more environmentally aware and do my part - which means NO plastic bags any more - I HAVE to remember to take our own bags in. Show your support by posting the image below on your own blog and saying that you agree with The Thing and you aren’t going to use plastic bags where ever possible!!!..

This refers the previous Thing post and adds more reasons why everyone should quit the plastic bag habit. He offers a challenge to his readers:

Jan. 2, 2007

Plastic Activist in Alabama

Jan. 2, 2007
Taking Up the Battle
By Amanda Hardy, Lagniappe, Mobile AL

Heaps of paper, glass, plastic and aluminum in landfills reaching higher than the RSA tower, millions of Styrofoam take out containers forming one horrifying monster who haunts the earth for an entire millennia before it biodegrades: these are the images in the nightmares of environmental crusaders around the world. Many feel the environment is being mindlessly destroyed everyday, even here in Mobile, but there are a few people who are taking up the battle to make our planet and city beautiful again...

Monday, January 15, 2007

CRAFTY: Sea Creatures

Whip Up recommended this beautiful work. In a lovely twist, these sea creatures are crocheted of yarn made from plastic bags by artist Helle Jorgensen in Australia.

Ban all plastic bags

Ian Kiernan is calling for a total ban on plastic bags in Australia:

Ban all plastic bags Says Clean Up Australia Chairman
Border Mail, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia

THE failure of a levy to curb use of plastic bags in Ireland confirms a complete ban is necessary, the founder of the Clean Up Australia movement says.
Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan said yesterday that privately commissioned polling showed Australians would support such a ban...

OR Audubon Pledges to Use Reuse

“Plastic bags are the ecological bane of the world,” said John Gaylord, board member of Oregon's Audubon Society. The organization is recommending 14 ways for members to green up, and asking them to pledge:

Jan. 15, 2007
Corvallis Audubon Society goes green
Theresa Hogue, Gazette-Times, Corvallis, OR

An organization such as the Corvallis Audubon Society, which focuses on wandering the wilderness looking for bird life, would seem a good place for folks with an interest in sustainability and “green” living to naturally congregate...

Bio Wrap in Sri Lanka

This is really cool -- Viraj Senewiratne of Sri Lanka has invented a 100% bio-degradable starch wrapping material to replace the plastic bags now banned there. They decompose in 160 days:

Sunday Times, Columbo, Sri Lanka

Lunch sheets, sili-sili bags and grocery bags will be taboo in the New Year, under a ban on polythene, with a thickness of 20 microns and below, to be strictly enforced on January 1, 2007...

Plastic bag levy failing

The success of the Irish plastax is dimming. Bag use is back up:

January 8, 2007
Plastic bag levy failing
Sunanda Creagh

IRELAND'S levy on plastic bags, once heralded as a market solution to an environmental problem, has failed to curb the country's plastic addiction, prompting calls from Australian environment groups for a total ban here.

The number of bags used in Ireland dropped to 85 million in a year after the levy was introduced in 2002, but was back up to 115 million in 2005 and has risen steadily since.
At the end of this month, the Irish Government will increase the levy by seven Euro cents (12 cents) from 15 Euro cents...

CRAFTY: Beyond Lightbulbs

Nice graphics "Beyond Lightbulbs" from Emme in Minnesota, Simple Living Blog. You can download them to use yourself.

The Courage to Use your Reusables

This mom had a lot of trepidation about using her reusable bags at the grocery store but she overcame that and tells this story:

January 05, 2007
I Can Do It!
Princess and the Pea blog

This week on our baby-steps journey through 2008 at IndieMom we've dedicated ourselves to taking our own bags shopping, something I've wanted to do for a long time but have never had the guts, so while I wasn't able to do it exactly as I had planned I did follow through with the challenge as best I could and was pretty darn proud and happy when all was said and done...

Saving Money Saving the Environment

January 06, 2007
Saving Money and Saving the Environment
WAGblog, Pamela Spiro Wagner

Say it costs the chemical companies $1-$2 to produce 500 grocery bags, which I hate to say but that may be all it takes. Still, think how many grocery bags a large store uses, at least millions a year. Multiply that by the number of stores there are that use plastic bags, Walmart and all such stores included, and you can see why stopping the use of them could save quite a bit of oil as well as reduce a lot of landfill and unsightly litter.

Australia Call to Ban

January 7, 2007
Call to ban plastic bags
Peter Weekes

CLEAN UP Australia wants a total ban on plastic shopping bags after a voluntary scheme among large retailers to reduce their use failed to meet targets. Chairman Ian Kiernan said retailers had agreed to reduce the use of plastic bags by 50 per cent but fell short of the target by 5 per cent last year...

Zero garbage? Can do

A Toronto couple is striving for an empty trash bin this year. One way they do it is to wash and reuse each plastic bag until it begins to deteriorate (which takes about three months):

Zero garbage? Can do
DALE DUNCAN, Special to The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sarah McGaughey loves to talk trash. While the rest of us try to go to the gym more often, her resolution for 2007 is to make absolutely no household waste -- and she and her husband, Kyle Glover, might just pull it off.
In 2005, the couple produced one garbage bag of trash. In 2006, they took one grocery bag to the curb every two weeks. But this year, the committed environmentalists are striving for zero...

CRAFTY: Tablecloth to Bag

Handmade in Sussex, England from recycled table cloths and ticking. Pretty idea, wouldn't be hard to make one yourself:

More Shopping Bags
Bonnie Alter, Treehugger

We love carrier bags and regularly resolve to carry them around all the time so that we won’t have to resort to using nasty plastic bags at the supermarket. Here is yet another variation on the theme; this one made of vintage fabrics for a country-chic look...

go direct to the company's site

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Great Short Film - Watch it!

This is GREAT! a short film about the problems with plastic bags, highlighting the beautiful reusable bags of I'm going to put this on my sidebar so it remains easy to find:

Produced, filmed and directed by Petica Watson, Edited by Anthony Alexander. The company is called Connected Pictures

2006 in Review

Edie is an environmental business directory in the UK:

Waste & Recycling - Review of the Year 2006
Surrey, UK

The year saw the notion of producer responsibility pick up pace, as regulations designed to make manufacturers pay for the waste produced by their products began to bite...

Army chooses Paper Over Plastic

Even the US Army is cutting back on plastic bag use, though from a purely cost-cutting motive. According to this article, paper bag costs have increased 34 percent in the past three years, while plastic bag costs have risen 84 percent. Reusables are just an afterthought here:

Dec. 21, 2006
Choose paper over plastic bags at U.S. commissaries
Army News Service, Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Lee, VA

Commissaries are hoping shoppers in the U.S. will say yes to paper bags for bagging their groceries as part of the Defense Commissary Agency's measures to offset major cost increases of plastic and paper bags...

Tips for Retailers

Planet Ark is an Australian environmental group. These are simple but effective ideas for distributer-based education:

Tips for retailers to encourage the use of reusable bags
Planet Ark, Sydney, Australia

Inventor of the Dreaded Bag Passes Away

In the late 1970s, this North Carolina inventor developed the high-density plastic grocery bag. He helped make it the ubiquitous plague it is today. He must have recognized the problems at some point, because after he retired, Gordon Dancy started Phoenix Recycling, dedicated to recycling many of the plastic bags used in grocery stores:

Dec. 23, 2006
Myrtle Beach tinkerer dies
Kelly Marshall Fuller, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, NC

A Myrtle Beach man who helped spread the phrase "paper or plastic" died Wednesday at Georgetown Memorial Hospital. Gordon Dancy, 67, who developed the high-density plastic grocery sack, spent his time improving items that would make the world run more smoothly, said his son, Mark Dancy...

Recycling Programs Failing in Greece

Greece's citizens resisted a plastax in 2005, but they are dealing with some big trash problems now:

Trash piles up as recycling fails
Kathimerini, Athens, Greece

The amount of rubbish produced per person in Greece has increased 43 percent to 440 kilos per year since 1995 with packaging waste – from food and consumer items – adding to household garbage, experts said yesterday. Most of the household rubbish ends up in any one of the 1,200 legal and illegal landfills that can be found across Greece...

2006 Positive Changes

Nov. 9, 2006
No More Plastic Bags - Action in Japan and Zanzibar
The Lazy Environmentalist blog, UK

Having long been a supporter of the highly successful 'plas tax' in Ireland (which has reduced plastic bag consumption by over 95%), and having written elsewhere at length on this issue, I was delighted to read yesterday not only of action in Japan, which comes hot on the heels of Zanzibar's decision to ban the import and production of plastic bags to protect its environment and tourism industry.

Where to Get Reusable Bags

Reusable bags seem to be hanging on every chair back and doorknob at my house, but some people might not be so lucky. Californians Against Waste has a website full of helpful info, including this list of places to get reusable bags:

Bye-bye Sili-silis!

New plastic bags (sili-silis) law kicks into effect in Sri Lanka. It ends with "it's time to pull out your old cane baskets or invest in some handy cloth bags the next time you go shopping":

Wish you a sili-sili-free New Year
Nadia Fazlulhaq, Sunday-Times, Columbo, Sri Lanka

Go to a supermarket today and you will, no doubt, come home with more than half a dozen sili-sili bags containing your purchases. Tomorrow, though, it may be a different story as Sri Lanka takes the significant step of doing away with thin polythene in the New Year...

New Laws in CA

Several plastic waste related bills have become since Jan. 1, including AB 2449:

New environmental laws taking effect
The Times-Standard, Eureka, CA

California residents will notice changes next year as a result of new laws that will affect plastic bag recycling programs to larger fines against illegal dumping on private property...