A ban on single-use plastic bags goes into effect in West Hollywood today for stores (including clothing stores and newsstands) larger than 10,000 square feet. The gradual rollout gives smaller stores until August 20 to comply. Shoppers must either bring reusable bags, or buy paper bags made with at least 40% post-consumer recycled content for 10 cents.
This ban is just one of many in effect, or being debated, across the country as the negative effects of plastic bag use are increasingly being highlighted.
A Sacramento City Council subcommittee is also considering the issue, yesterday asking city staff to begin drafting an ordinance that would ban the bags and place a 5-cent or 10-cent charge on paper shopping bags.
Also on the table is a statewide ban of plastic bags in Rhode Island. Their proposed law would be the first of its kind in the US and would dovetail a ban already in effect in Barrington, RI.
If you aren’t
living in an area where plastic bags have been banned, there are other options
to cut down on the rubbish! Texas Disposal Systems has begun operating a citywide,
single-stream bag recycling program in Georgetown.
recycle large quantities of single-use plastic bags by putting them into a special
bag. That container is then placed in the regular curbside recycling bins for
bag restriction law is set to take effect in March. TDS says the city currently
doesn’t include bags in its curbside collection and recycling program. Here’s
hoping that changes soon—restricting plastic bags while enabling easy,
effective recycling options are both key to reducing the impact of plastic
On February 7, two fourth graders in Weston, Connecticut, will be submitting a petition to their town selectmen. They are trying to ban plastic grocery bags, and have collected 150 signatures on a petition in support of that.
Colleen Moore, 10, had the idea for the petition as part of an assignment in her Project Challenge class at school. “I wanted to do something that was good for the environment and this seemed like a good idea,” she said. Fellow student Julia Morledge, 9, has partnered with Colleen to help move the idea forward.
Their goal is to have the issue on the town’s budget referendum, scheduled for April 24. Naturally, however, the ban proposal isn’t without opposition.
Jim Magee, the owner of Peter’s Market (the only grocery store in Weston that would be affected by a ban) claims there would be a huge impact on the store if he had to switch to all paper.
Still, he said, he understands where the girls are coming from with their environmental concerns.
“We’d like to meet with Mr. Magee and see what he can do. Maybe he could sell reusable cloth bags and make up the cost difference,” Julia said.
(Thanks to Kate Moore/Weston Forum for the great photo!)
Each year, on the third Thursday in December, Southern California shoppers are urged to forgo plastic shopping bags in favor of reusable grocery bags in an effort to encourage reusable bag use throughout the year. This year, the sixth-annual A Day Without A Bag is on December 20.
Over 9 million residents in California live in communities that have either banned plastic bags or are actively working on bag ban ordinances. When these ordinances pass, nearly 1 in 3 Californians will have embraced reusable bag use!
Sponsored in part by the City and County of Los Angeles, and organized by Heal the Bay, the goals of the annual event are to encourage shoppers to adopt more sustainable practices during the holidays and coming year and to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags throughout California. Each year Heal the Bay partners distribute free reusable grocery bags to patrons throughout the region. A diverse mix of retailers also supports the event through in-store promotions or giveaways at stores countywide.
In a follow up to the blog we wrote about 13-year-old Abby Goldberg, an Illinois plastic shopping bag recycling program was rejected last week. Lawmakers there declined to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of the plan. Earlier this year, Abby successfully lobbied Quinn to veto the legislation that lawmakers had approved in the spring.
The proposal would have required manufacturers of plastic bags and films to recycle more material, but opponents decried the legislation because it wouldn’t let local communities come up with their own recycling programs or even ban the bags outright. The rejection is great news for Abby, who wanted plastic bags banned in her town (the ban has yet to be approved).
For every step forward in increasing reusable grocery bag use, though, there seems to be a step backward…
City councilors in Toronto have squashed a single-use plastic bag ban that would have gone into effect on January 1. The ban had divided the city politically, and in November, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association filed a lawsuit against the city of Toronto in an effort to block the ban. The Canadian Plastics Industry Association also—not surprisingly—opposed the ban.
But the most misguided comment we’ve seen on the subject in a LONG time came from plastics industry spokesperson, Joe Hruska, who said, "We're very happy. Council made the right decision today on behalf of all Torontonians. We just believe that the plastic bag has never been a problem for the environment. So this is a good day for Toronto and for consumer choice."
Hey Activist Abby, can you please go to Toronto and turn this ship around? Please?