Green News

  • Corvallis Oregon Says Goodbye to Disposable Shopping Bags

    The Corvallis Oregon City Council unanimously voted recently to ban disposable plastic shopping bags in retail outlets. This move makes Corvallis, a city of about 54,000 people located 82 miles south west of Portland and home to Oregon State University, the second city in Oregon to ban single use plastic bags. Portland was the first city and Eugene is making great strides in their quest to become the third Oregon city to ban disposable plastic shopping bags.
  • 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.
  • GREEN Northampton Laying the Groundwork for a Plastic Bag Ban

    A grassroots movement is underway is the town of Northampton, Massachusetts. The objective is to put an end to Styrofoam take out containers and disposable plastic bags. GREEN Northampton, a nonprofit, community driven organization is leading this charge. According to their web site this group’s mission is to foster Northampton's community bonds and promote environmentally sustainable, low-energy and healthy lifestyles in response to climate change and resource depletion. GREEN Northampton has many big and impressive goals and ultimately they want to make the world a better place, starting with their city.
  • 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.
  • Seattle’s Bag Ban Quickly Approaching

    July 1 is a big day – this is the day the plastic bag ban will take effect in Seattle, Washington. The ban was passed back in December and it has an impact on all stores from small mom and pop ventures to large retail chains. There are still some folks who disagree with the ban and there continue to be small movements to overturn the law. Most of the anti-ban groups are either financed by plastic bag manufacturers or residents upset that the law was voted in by the city council and never went before the people. Shortly after the ban was voted in there was a petition to get the issue on a ballet so the people of Seattle could decide on the matter; however this grassroots movement failed to get enough signatures for the plastic bag ban to go to a city wide vote. Overall the general mood among Seattle residents is that this is the right thing to do. So many plastic bags are used and are not properly disposed of and bags end up littering waterways and causing environmental harm.
  • 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.
  • NPR Asks About Disposable and Reusable Shopping Bags

    In a segment titled TELL ME MORE, Michel Martin of NPR News recently conducted an interview with Michel Bolinder of the group Anacostia Riverkeeper and Nick Gillespie, the editor-in-chief of the libertarian magazine, Reason. These gentlemen sat down together to discuss the pros and cons of fees or taxes levied against disposable plastic bags and outright bans on these disposable bags, as well as the environmental and societal impact of measures taken to curb plastic bag use.
  • Fort McMurray’s Curious Problem

    The folks of Fort McMurray in Alberta Canada have been living with a disposable bag ban for about 9 months, and while there have been some bumps in the road things are going very well. Fort McMurray is about a 5 hour drive northeast of Edmonton and in 2010 the regional council unanimously voted to ban single use plastic and paper shopping bags after the residents handed over a petition in favor of a ban with 2,300 signatures. The ban went into effect in September of 2011 and the rest is history. Fort McMurray’s ban only extends to plastic bags given out by retailers; liquor stores, pharmacies, and some restaurants are still allowed to distribute single use plastic bags.
  • Carmel and Pacific Grove Latest California Cities to Ponder Plastic Bag Ban

    At the rate things have been going it should not be long before there are more cities in the state of California with bans on disposable plastic shopping bags than cities and towns without such bans. Northern California is a hotbed of bag ban activity, although the southern portion of the state has been making tremendous strides in the past year. Carmel-by-the-Sea (more commonly referred to simply as Carmel) and Pacific Grove are two of the more recent California cities navigating the plastic bag ban waters.
  • 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.

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