Friday, February 23, 2007

Guns and Plastic

Rather chilling quote from an artist using plastic bags as a medium - he found a marked similarity between human beings and plastic - “Both are disposable in one hand and immortal on the other.”

Sculptures show opens at Rohtas Gallery
Daily Times, Lahore, Pakistan

An exhibition featuring images made from plastic bags began at the Rohtas Gallery here on Tuesday. The exhibition titled ‘I Love You’ displayed ...

Legacy of Plastic Trash

No matter how hard we try, in the end we may be remembered for nothing more than the plastic bags we leave behind:

Jan. 31, 2007
What's your legacy?
Comment is Free blog from the Guardian Unlimited

Cycling along the Regent's Canal through east London at the weekend, the scene was delightful - well, semi-delightful. The coots and moorhens, present in number, were bobbing and diving, looking almost joyful at the astonishing January warmth. They were bobbing and diving amidst plastic Lucozade bottles, Chinese take-away containers and the like, but they didn't seem to mind. ..

Grandmothers and Granddaughters

From an American living in Korea, she remembers her grandparents' deeply ingrained habits of conservation and searches for ways to reduce her own waste "Living in Korea has helped shaped my awareness of my wastes in small ways; living here has helped point my mind towards waste rather than just convenience."

January 31, 2007
Habits of Waste
Between pee and kimchee blog

When my grandmother stayed with us she used to drive my mom crazy. She had trouble with the stairs, so she'd sleep in the library on the ground floor, near the kitchen and powder room. In her obsession to conserve, she never closed the door when she went to the bathroom ...

Japanese Garden of Recycled Materials

Judith Selby Lang is an artist with a big, beautiful vision. She is creating "ReCycle Ryoan-ji", a 20' x 48' replica of Ryoan-ji Garden in Kyoto made entirely out of recycled materials as part of the 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. It will be presented in the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza. Check out her blog about the process of creating this installation.

Crafty: Plastic Bag Bra

Don't know where you would wear this...

More Zero-waste in Toronto

Inspired by the Toronto couple Sarah McGaughey and Kyle Glover, this writer is going for zero waste too:

January 31, 2007
Trying to achieve zero-waste goal is hard work
Kris Scheuer, Toronto Town Crier Newspapers, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

What if the city's garbage trucks pulled up to our houses and found all the trash cans empty? ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pricey but Pretty Reusables

Designer reusables, if 150 £ is not too expensive for you, they sure are pretty:

24 January 2007
Style Bubble

Ok, I caused a bit of a palava with the Louis Vuitton laundry/market bagsthat has now prompted a wee trend of carrying the real deal on the streets(quite possibly the easiest and cheapest way to bring a catwalk item toreality)...

Reusable Campaign at Virgin Megastores

Virgin Megastores launches recyclable bags
Marketing Week

Virgin Megastores is introducing 100% recyclable carrier bags and haslaunched an in-store campaign encouraging customers to reuse existing bags. The company currently uses 16 million bags annually across its 120 stores but wants to cut its contribution to the 10,000 tonnes of plastic bags thrown away in the UK each year...

Fee per bag at Giant

Some first hand experience of using a fee per bag system, from a graduate student in Maryland:

January 22, 2007
Fun at Giant Foods

So I'm back at school, and I went to the Giant to pick up some food, to get ready for living on my own again. A few things struck me...

Bags into Gas

This sounds like a toxic mess and it doesn't say how much energy must be expended to get a liter of gasoline back out of the plastic bags, but at least it is moving toward closing the loop:

Gasoline from old plastic bags

A litre of gasoline can be obtained from a kilogram of old plastic sachets by appying a technology being developed by the specialists of the D.I. Mendeleev Russian Chemical-Engineering University. This is one of unique examples how the scientists can use a material initially made of petroleum to get if not oil per se again but the product of petroleum refining - engine fuel...

Time to Reduce Packaging

24 January 2007
Supermarkets told to come clean about packaging
Cahal Milmo and Andy McSmith

Pressure mounted yesterday on Britain's supermarkets and retailers to reduce packaging drastically as political support intensified for The Independent's anti-waste campaign. Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, challenged leading stores to produce a detailed breakdown of how they contribute to the 4.6 million tonnes of household waste generated every year by packaging. Retailers are to be asked whether they would back a tax on plastic bags - similar to the one which has slashed carrier bag use in Ireland - and to reveal what proportion of their fresh produce is wrapped in plastic or placed on trays...

Another Opinion

This opinion piece argues that a plastax won't work for business, consumers or the environment. I have to say, it makes a good point about the increase in plastic use in Ireland, where, despite the fewer lightweight bags used since the plastax, there has been an increase in heavier bag use which use more resin. I have doubts about some of his statistics, and he doesn't take into account the CO2 emmisions and fossil fuel use of recycling vs. reusing. He puts a lot of faith in "take-back" (retailer based recycling) programs:

Jan 19, 2007
Taxing plastic shopping bags is not the answer
Serge Lavoie, Toronto Star, Toronto, Canada

Plastic shopping bags must not become the whipping boy for the garbage woesof the City of Toronto. In his drive to divert 70 per cent of Toronto'ssolid waste from landfill by 2010, the new chair of Toronto's public worksand infrastructure committee has declared war on plastic grocery bags. Hehas stated his intention to tax them out of existence.War it may be, but it's a phony war and the loser will be consumers,retailers, the City of Toronto and even the environment....

Close the Loop

Nicely put:

January 20, 2007
Green Dioxide blog

What are Apple, Big Bazaar, Motorola, Pepsi, Kellogg and Pizza Hut in the business of? Selling, among other things, computers, groceries, cellphones, beverages and pizzas respectively. What are they not in the business of? Selling waste...

Customer Reactions

Reusable bag company Spice Bags put this on their blog:

Jan. 19, 2007
IKEA Your consumer wants a resuable bag. Is she/he going to get it from you or from someone else?
Spice Bags Blog

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

Trying for a Ban in Marin

Official to pitch plastic bag ban
Rob Rogers, Marin Independent Journal, Marin, CA

Hoping to stem the tide of a "plastic plague," Supervisor Charles McGlashansays he plans to propose a ban on plastic bags at grocery and drug stores inunincorporated Marin...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's not as simple as it seems

Continued from last 2 posts. Editorial from the Examiner:

Jan. 26, 2007
Fighting our way out of plastic bags

Plastic bags, ubiquitous plastic bags, unsightly plastic bags — everyone uses them and everyone has an opinion about them. It’s not surprising, then, that these symbols of consumerism have evolved into yet another political issue in The City, betokening the long if oversimplified war between the Board of Supervisors and the business community...

SF saga continued

Continued from last post. Now they are trying a new approach:

January 19, 2007
City seeks to require compostable grocery bags
Charlie Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco officials said Thursday that they will pursue a new law requiring all grocery bags used in the city to be compostable after sparring with large supermarket chains over implementation of a voluntary reduction and recycling effort...

This AP story appeared from San Jose to London:

January 19, 2007
SF grocers say they used 7.6M fewer plastic bags in '06
Associated Press, San Francisco, CA

Grocery stores that participated in a citywide plan to reduce the use of plastic bags handed out 7.6 million fewer sacks to shoppers in 2006 than the year before, an industry trade group said...

SF struggles to deal with it's bags

A plastic bag saga: San Francisco city officials vs. the big supermarkets:

January 20, 2007
3 grocery chains give plastic-bags data
Charlie Goodyear

Three supermarket chains that operate in San Francisco met a Friday deadline to provide statistics on the number of plastic bags handed out to shoppers last year, city officials said...

January 24, 2007
Bill introduced to punish grocers for bags
Joshua Sabatini

After failing to adhere to a voluntary agreement to reduce plastic bag usage, large grocery stores in San Francisco may soon be required by law to use only environmentally friendly check-out bags...

Plastic Free Year in Vancouver

This lady rocks! She is making 2007 a plastic free zone - not buying products that contain or are packaged in plastic. Sounds simple? What about toothpaste (the cap), toilet paper (wrapped in plastic), the morning paper (rainy day protection)... She's blogging about her adventures in the no-plastic zone:

January 31, 2007
Progress Report
Plastic Free, Vancouver, Canada

I’ve finished my first month living plastic free in 2007. Wow, what a difference a New Year's resolution can make. Check out this picture of my plastic shrine...

Artists want photos of bags

These Chicago based artists are soliciting photos of your plastic bag collections. Before you crochet them into hammocks or wrap your leftovers with them (because your not going to throw them away right?!), take a picture and send it to these guys. They will do something interesting with it I'm sure:

Feb. 1, 2007

For the past few months we have been re-using plastic shopping bags in a variety of ways for upcoming projects in Chicago and Zagreb. The enormous waste created by these bags is a global phenomena with impact everywhere. Most people wind up with more of these bags than they can ever re-use....

Bring your own bag to the Student Co-op

A student at Swarthmore passes on a lesson from down under:

Feb. 1, 2007
Recycle bags
Marshall Morales, The Phoenix, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, US

Throughout Australia and New Zealand, I noticed a simple and powerful change for green living. Environmental action groups have worked with supermarkets and other stores to charge for the normally free plastic bags used to carry purchases...

Plastic Bag Free Month in York

Caroline Lewis, owner of The Good Food Shop, in York, has declared February "Plastic Bag Free Month":

Feb. 1, 2007
Owner claims bagging rights
The Press, York, UK

MORE than 100,000 tonnes of plastic bags are thrown away every year in the UK, taking up to 500 years to break down in landfill sites. That shocking statistic has inspired one York shop owner to take action...

O'Mama says "Pick up that mess!"

The crunchy mamas are getting the word out:

Reusable Bags Tackle Plastic Bag Mess
Vincent Cobb, O'Mama Report

Introduced merely 25 years ago, plastic bags are accumulating in our environment at an alarming rate. They're everywhere: strewn along roadways, stuck in trees, and piled up beneath our kitchen sinks. New, eco-conscious businesses are helping battle this growing problem by raising awareness and offering effective, affordable, high-quality products that help reduce plastic bag consumption...