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  • California Youth Making Waves and Encouraging Sustainable Reusable Bags

    In some regards southern California is on the right track when it comes to caring for the environment and reducing the amount of plastic shopping bags used within the area. Several towns and cities have either outright banned plastic shopping bags or are mulling the idea over. Evan Lewis, of La Jolla, feels these changes cannot come soon enough. This enterprising 11 year old is researching the cause, speaking at city council meetings, writing articles and doing everything he can to make plastic shopping bags a distant memory.
  • Student Art Centered on Zero Waste

    In an effort to spread environmental awareness and encourage artistic expression the annual Resource Recovery and Recycling Division’s 2012 Art of Recycling Sustainable Student Sculpture Contest was recently held. As part of the contest Santa Monica students are invited to create and submit sculptures made from materials which are usually recycled or thrown away. The goal was to get people thinking about zero waste, as the theme "Zero Waste—Imagine a Waste Free Santa Monica" clearly identified. By creating art from trash not only did the students find new uses for discarded items, but they also were forced to think about how much garbage they create and how they currently dispose of it compared to how they should manage it.
  • Reusable Bag Banks Popping Up in Aspen

    An interesting experiment is happening in Aspen, Colorado. Reusable bag banks are being setup throughout the city. Aspen voted a bag ban into law back in September and it took effect on May 1 of this year. The ban outlaws disposable plastic shopping bags and levies a 20 cent fee on paper bags. One month into the ban and it is estimated that 80-90 percent of shoppers are bringing their own reusable bags when they head out to the store. The concept of the bag bank is similar to the ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ trays you may see at a convenience store counter. The bag banks are metal baskets in which residents can deposit their extra reusable grocery bags for others who may need a bag to take as needed. Only reusable bags are to be placed in the basket.
  • Illinois' Law to Recycle Instead of Ban Plastic Bags

    The state of Illinois is on the verge of some groundbreaking legislation regarding disposable plastic bags and as to be expected not everyone is on board with it, but the surprising thing is that most of those opposed to the ban are from the environmentalist camp. The proposal has already been approved by state lawmakers and all that is left to make this proposal an official law is the approval and signature from the governor, Pat Quinn. If this proposal gets the Governors autograph (Quinn has not indicated publicly if he intends to sign or veto the proposal) it will go into effect on July 1, 2013. What sets this measure apart from every other plastic bag ban and the countless taxes and fees levied against these disposable bags is that Illinois is looking to pass a statewide law that would make the plastic bag manufacturers step up efforts to recycle bags.
  • Corpus Christi Urges Retailers and Residents to Fix Litter Problem

    Corpus Christi, Texas has a litter problem. While the litter is varied, plastic bags are a main component and the City spends about $190,000 annually cleaning up disposable plastic shopping bags lifted by gusts of wind from the city landfill. Not only is the litter an eyesore, but the cleanup is expensive and the litter does not do any favors for the tourism industry, which is a vibrant part of the local economy given the City's prime location on the beautiful Corpus Christi Bay.
  • Cleveland Collaborating with County to Reduce Plastic Bags

    Cuyahoga County in Ohio is home to the City of Cleveland and both municipalities are joining forces in the fight against plastic bags. As has been seen time and time again getting rid of plastic bags is no easy task and the City and County Councils are working with the county health department, solid waste district and community activists to figure out how to completely do away with plastic bags. The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County want to stop the use of plastic bags and they understand the enormity of this undertaking. They hope that by working together they can pool their ideas and resources and make plastic bags a distant memory.
  • Litter Causes Street Shutdown

    A stray plastic bag recently caused a street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn to be shut down. No one knows for sure where the bag came from, but the discarded bag was stuck in a tree and a resident of a building near the tree alerted police to a 'suspicious' looking plastic bag. Emergency crews blocked off the street to vehicle and pedestrian traffic and had residents and employees from local businesses remain indoors while they investigated for about an hour until the situation was deemed safe and the street was re-opened. In the end it was determined that the plastic bag contained a battery with wires attached to it – this most certainly added to the suspiciousness of the ordeal.
  • Toronto Mayor Wants to Quash Plastic Bag Fee

    In 2009 the City of Toronto issued a 5-cent fee on disposable plastic bags. The objective was simple: to discourage shoppers from using the environmentally harmful plastic bags and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. By all accounts this bylaw has been a tremendous success. About 215 million plastic bags are used annually in Toronto these days, down from 457 million before the fee was in place. Despite this, Mayor Rob Ford is looking to do away with the fee. On his weekly radio show Ford recently stated, "This bag tax has been around too long." When questioned further, Ford stated, "I don't believe taxpayers want to pay the 5 cents anymore."
  • Build with Bags Helps the Environment and Communities

    The Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) decided something had to be done about the disposable plastic bag problem. The bags are eyesores which are seldom recycled as they should be, and instead they float around as litter or take up space in landfills. Many municipalities implement bans of the bags, and while that may work for some people in some places the IGIA felt that was not the best fit and solution for the folks of Iowa. The IGIA came up with an ingenious plan of action and created the Build with Bags program. They secured sponsorships from some likeminded organizations, including Keep Iowa Beautiful, the Des Moines Area Metro Waste Authority, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and The Des Moines Register and they laid out a plan.
  • The Facts Behind Plastic Bag Recycling

    A recent study confirmed that while 91% of Americans have access to recycling plastic single use bags locally, most do not. The study was conducted by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. and focused on flexible polyethylene film, of which disposable plastic bags are made. It turns out there are over 15,000 locations throughout the United States where disposable plastic bags can be dropped off for recycling. Most of these designated drop-off locations are at stores. Many major retailers, such as Target and Wal-Mart, place bins near the door where shoppers can deposit their old bags as they make their way into the store.

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