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Category Archives: Green Issues

Reusable Bags Only? The Single Use Plastic Bag Loophole

o-PLASTIC-BAG-570On July 1, Hawaii became the first state in the country to enforce a ban on single use plastic bags. However, a loophole in the law is opening the door to a plastic bag that’s even worse for the environment than the old bags.

The fault lies in the way a reusable bag is defined: “a bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse” and is made of durable materials, including plastic that is at least 2.25 mils thick. So, plastic bag manufacturers starting making—you guessed it—THICKER single use plastic bags. Only now…they’re calling them reusable bags! Continue reading

The City of Ventura: Folding Reusable Bag Case Study

Folding Reusable Bag vs plastic bag
Folding reusable bags are larger and more durable than single-use plastic bags.

We recently sat down with our long-time client at the City of Ventura to talk about reusable bag campaigns and learn more about the overwhelming success of theirs. The City has integrated reusable bags into its environmental sustainability programs and has given out more than 6,000 PET Folding Carry All bags in less than three years! How? Read our interview!

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Plastic Bag Bans: Kids Enacting Change

plastic bag bans in York, MaineKids all over the world make things happen every day. When it comes to plastic bag bans, sometimes the kids’ voices are the loudest.

In York, Maine, a group of high school students are trying to ban plastic bags. Ambitious? Perhaps. But that’s not stopping them from trying to make their hometown the first in the state to successfully enact a ban. Continue reading

Paper or Plastic? Choose Reusable Grocery Bags!

The paper-versus-plastic debate is an international issue. San Francisco was the first city in the country to ban plastic bags, and London may soon follow suit. Ireland charges a fee to use plastic bags, as does Denmark and Switzerland. A growing number of municipalities, like Boston, Los Angeles and Phoenix are considering bans or fees to reduce plastic bag consumption.

reusable grocery bagsWhy Switch to Reusable Grocery Bags? Continue reading

Recycled, Recyclable, Reusable—What’s the Difference, Anyway?

america_recycles_dayNovember 15 has marked America Recycles Day since 1997. It’s the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States.

But what’s the difference between a recycled item, an item that’s recyclable, and something reusable? The three words are often interchanged, but they shouldn’t be. Continue reading

A Country Without Plastic Bags?

Imagine a nation that eliminates plastic bags. Think it’s a pipe dream? Perhaps, but if Jim Moran has his way, the US could be one step closer to making that a reality.

thoughtfully_committed_citizens.jpgU.S. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) unveiled a bill on Earth Day that he calls the Trash Reduction Act of 2013.  If passed, a five-cent fee on single-use plastic AND paper bags will be imposed at every retail store across the country.

“According to the Environment Protection Agency, the average American throws away about 4.4 pounds of trash each day. The results of this waste can be found in our oceans, now home to floating landfills ten times the size of Virginia. Small steps like replacing plastic bags with reusable ones yield large returns in reducing the amount of trash we create,” said Rep. Moran. Continue reading

Plastic Bag Recycling? Not So Fast …

thoughtfully_committed_citizens.jpgLast month, we wrote about a draft ordinance in Portland, Maine, to ban plastic bags. While it ultimately didn’t take off here (yet!), it has definitely gotten the community talking.

Local landfill and waste managers are speaking up about the damage that plastic bags are doing at their facilities. Three years ago, we first talked about how plastic bags wreak havoc at recycling facilities. Well, that problem hasn’t gone away. C’mon. You really can’t be surprised.

Even though there is a recycling symbol on plastic bags, and even though modern recycling technology makes it possible recycle almost any household item, plastic bags should not be recycled in your curbside bins. Automated single-stream recycling equipment can’t sort them—even if they don’t blow away first.

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Hemp Reusable Bags Made in the USA: Closer to Reality?

industrial_hempThe Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a bill that creates an administrative framework for industrial hemp production in Kentucky.  The bill passed by an overwhelming 88-4 majority. The Senate concurred in a House floor amendment, 35-1.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said, “By passing this bill, the General Assembly has signaled that Kentucky is serious about restoring industrial hemp production to the Commonwealth and doing it in the right way. That will give Kentucky’s congressional delegation more leverage when they seek a federal waiver allowing Kentucky farmers to grow hemp.”

Proponents of the bill cite its potential to help Kentucky’s farmers and bring thousands of jobs to the state, should the federal government lift the ban on the crop.

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