A growing national trend turns plastic bags into bedding for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless; photo by Debra Atlas

As cities around the country are banning or placing a tax on plastic bags, some people are turning lemons into lemonade. A growing number of church groups and students are turning single use plastic bags into bed mats for the homeless. Continue reading

The Grocer – not just another reusable shopping bag

The Grocer 3

ADK Packworks’ “Grocer” is an innovative, sturdy reusable bag that stands up and stays open as needed.

Here in the U.S., and perhaps other places, we’ve become a throwaway society.  We use 100 billion plastic bags and 10 billion paper bags annually

There’s a steadily growing trend to ban or tax single use plastic bags. A number of countries have already banned their use. In the U.S. cities and counties in 13 states already ban them and many more are considering it. One South Texas town charges a $1 per transaction fee for plastic or paper checkout bags. In California, 62 cities and 8 counties have banned them.

Because of this, consumers are being forced to turn to reusable bags.

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Potential Plastic bag ban fails in California

photo by Sascha W., flickr

photo by Sascha W., flickr

The story just broke. The California Senate has rejected a ban on single use plastic bags.

The usual arguments were made, particularly that jobs would disappear if the bill passed. The one ray of light here is that The bill will be allowed to be reconsidered, meaning it could be back before a Senate committee or the Senate floor. But given that the Senate has been the stumbling block in the past (the Assembly passed a similar bill last year), one wonders if it will have any chance the next time around.

You can read the details of the story here.

Celebrate Earth Day every day with earth-friendly products

Go Green Readers reading glasses made with recycled materials

Go Green Readers are made with recycled materials

As quickly as winter has morphed into spring, Earth Day has come and gone. An estimated 1 billion people in more than 192 countries around the world celebrated this global conversation on how to have a more positive impact on the planet.

With so many of us moving towards greening our lifestyles, I thought it would be fun to look at some earth-friendly products.

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The two-edged sword of banning plastic bags

Ban plastic bagsAs more and more communities and countries pass a ban on single use plastic bags – over 50 so far in California alone – high-end small retailers find themselves placed in sometimes awkward positions. Charging top prices for luxury products such as fine jewelry, the thought of adding a 5 or 10 cent fee because a customer doesn’t have a reusable bag for their purchase seems ludicrous.

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Colored plastic bags may contain lead

Colored plastic bags may have toxic chemicals in them

Colored plastic bags may have toxic chemicals in them

According to recent tests conducted by the Vermont-based nonprofit Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, bright solid-colored plastic bags may contain high concentrations of lead.  This industry/public interest advisory group – formed in an effort to reduce the amount of heavy metals in packaging and packaging components that are sold or distributed throughout the U.S. – screened 125 single-use shopping and mailing bags for the presence of the four regulated metals: lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium in the inks used to print or color the bags.

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A plastic bag tax is working – in Wales

As more cities and countries jump on the bandwagon to ban plastic bags, the question remains as to whether or not a ban or even a tax will be effective in changing consumer habits. Now there’s concrete evidence in the British Isles that it’s making a difference.

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Environmental progress often dubbed “job killers”

It’s been my observation that whenever decisive action is taken that would benefit the environment, the scream goes up that taking such steps will surely mean the death of jobs in that area or region.

Case in point.

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Another (California) town bans plastic bag use

Dana Point, a town located in Orange County, California with a population of 33,000, has become the 67th town in the US to ban the use of plastic bags – the 42nd city in California to do so.

After being approved on March 6th, the new ruling goes into effect on April 1st – and it’s no April Fool’s joke!  Unlike many similar bag bans, it won’t include an added fee for paper bag use.

Restaurants will be exempt from the ban, after the threat of a lawsuit by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition. The Dana Point plastic bag ban also won’t apply to businesses in the city with less than $4 million until Oct. 1, 2013 — six months after it goes into effect for all other businesses in the area.

Love to see this trend growing. Now if Congress would just step up and make it national.

Seattle – the latest city to ban plastic bags

Seattle joins the ranks of cities banning plastic bag use (photo by Sascha W., flickr)

On December 19th, the City Council in Seattle passed an ordinance banning single use plastic bags.

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