Plastic bag backlash gains momentum

Once heralded as a cheap, convenient way to carry groceries, the humble plastic bag has earned a reputation among some as a scourge of modern society.

First invented as a sandwich bag in 1957, by the 1970s, plastic carriers had displaced paper bags as the method of choice for transporting shopping.

In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban thinner plastic bags after they were found to have choked the drainage system during devastating floods.

Other countries including South Africa, Rwanda, China, Australia and Italy followed suit.

This weekend Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced plans to introduce a 5p charge for plastic bags in England, in a bid to discourage their use.

The charge, which will only apply to supermarkets and larger stores, will begin after the 2015 election, with plans for the proceeds to go to charities.

Modbury in Devon turned its back on plastic bags in 2007

Film maker and local resident Rebecca Hosking launched an anti plastic bag campaign after she was brought to tears filming a turtle with a plastic bag in its mouth and albatrosses feeding plastic to their chicks off Hawaii for the BBC2 programme Natural World.

She persuaded all 43 shopkeepers in the town to replace their plastic bags with reusable ones, making Modbury the first town in Britain to become plastic bag free in May 2007.

A spokeswoman from replica watches uk the town Lazy Cow gift shop and cafe said being plastic bag free was “a way of life down here”.

The government should charge more p replica watches uk er bag, she said.

“If it was 50p a bag, it would make people think twice,” she said. “Five pence is nothing.”

Kay Freeman, the owner of Wild Goose Antiques in the town, added: “I think people thought that could have been a publicity stunt but it wasn “When we first started to charge for bags, it lost us money be replica watches uk cause plastic bags are so much cheaper to buy in than paper bags.

“It hits the smaller shops more but we seem more prepared to do it.”

In 2008, proposals to introduce a ban on plastic shopping bags in London were withdrawn by council leaders after ministers pledged a minimum charge on plastic bags.

A company spokesman said charging had resulted in 80% fewer bags being handed out.

He said M foodhalls handed out 464 million carrier bags in 2007. By 2012, that figure had dropped to 116 million.

“It a simple way our customers can get involved in our eco and ethical programme,” he said.

He said there were currently no plans to increase the 5p charge, which has so far raised 6m for environmental charities Groundwork, the WWF and and the Marine Conser replica watches uk vation Society.

But a spokeswoman from Wrap, a government funded organisation which helps firms and individuals reduce waste, said a charge should apply to all carrier bags, regardless of what they are made from. Indeed, the initiatives in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland apply to both plastic and paper bags.

Plastic Bag Backlash CBS Sacramento

camel plastic bags

A friend of mine recently unveiled an exhibit at UC Davis about plastic bags. One artistic piece is a of about 1,000 bags, which, she says, is what an average family used in just one year. Another piece is actually a disturbing find: a solidified mass found inside a dead camel in the middle east. Apparently, a veterinarian in Dubai is finding camels, sheep and goats keeled over after consuming the floating refuse. And it might not just b replica watches uk e happening there. The artist, Ann Savageau (UCD Associate Professor of Design) says a landfill supervisor told her he spotted cows in California eating plastic bags. Apparently, the bags often escape from landfills and are caught by the breeze and end up stuck in brush and vegetation.

A more uplifting part of Ann project: chic ready to wear bags created from recycled materials. For every one she and her students made, another was sent to someone overseas. Across the Globe is the title of that part of the installation. But now the reach of Ann project has prompted action within her own community. A local activist who saw the exhibit told her it replica watches uk inspired her to push for a plastic bag ban city wide.

According to the Davis Enterprise, as of right now, the city Na replica watches uk tural Resources Commission Zero Waste Committee plans to consider the idea later in March (the City Council would also need to approve it). If approved, the ban would begin January 1, 2012. Retailers and grocers would carry no plastic bags, offer paper bags for 25 cents and/or offer reusable bags either for sale or as a free giveaway. Some exemptions are being considered.

Interestingly, there already a backlash on the paper website. I blogged about this general idea before, and once again the controversy seems to focus on personal choice and freedom potentially being taken away. Of course, in the last election, voters turned down a proposed statewide plastic bag ban. But it will be fascinating to see what happens in a city with a zero waste movement and official goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. And I, for one, will be watching closely to see if art actually can inspire action. The exhibit was intended to do something like that. On the UC Davis Design Museum website, it explains this is global collaborative piece, or what contemporary artist acti replica watches uk vists call an intervention Now we see how that idea works. The exhibit ends on March 11th.

Plastic bag art

Diane Kurzyna’s project entitled “Ephemeral replica watches uk Folks” an installation of four archetypal figures that roamed the City of Olympia in a variety of ways. Created from humble materials such as unwanted plastic wrap, used bubble wrap, and tape, these sculptures became a metaphor for the transience of replica watches uk life, their presence a reminder that even commonplace moments may possess a quiet magic. This dress is all hand knit from grocery bags that were the result of actual trips to the grocery store. Via BoingBoing.

Art replica watches uk ist Judith Selby Lang created Ryo replica watches uk an ji a 20 x 48 replica of Ryoan ji Garden in Kyoto made entirely out of recycled materials. It one simple way to go green in your daily life. Includes enlightening statistics about paper and plastic bags, bagging solutions from around the world, tips to remember your bags, and links to related sites. From the San Francisco Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition.

The City of Westminster Reusable Grocery Bag campaign you with an opportunity to use your own bags at the grocery store and answer when asked by baggers whether you want or plastic. By utilizing these bags, you are reducing litter in our beautiful city, supporting sustainability of our natural resources and reducing waste in landfills.