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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Promoting your brand can seem like a hassle and you may ask yourself how useful is it really to print your company’s logo on some tchotchkes? It turns out it can be very useful. Printing your logo on a commonly used item is a great marketing ploy because every time your clients reach for the item they will be reminded, at least subconsciously, of your brand. Particularly useful items that people will use again and again will have that many more opportunities to stamp your marketing message on their mind and increase your brand recognition. Creating a stellar promotional item is more than just picking a neat or practical item and slapping your logo on it. Think about items your customer base will be interested in or have a need for and will find value or use in. Also think about the materials the product is made from and how that will shape people’s opinion of the item and by extension your company.
In the battle against disposable bags some types of bags have been spared. Even under the strictest of bag bans plastic bags found in the produce department or in a bulk candy section usually make it out unscathed and paper bags used in pharmacies are typically A-Okay. These bags are normally allowed for sanitary or privacy reasons. Their inherent function or discreteness of these bags does not make them any less dangerous to the environment. Plastic produce bags are not biodegradable and like their shopping bag equivalents they are most likely destined to take up space in landfills or whether intentional or not become litter.
It is understood that reusable bags are safer on the environment, but once you decide to make the switch to reusable bags your decisions do not end there. Reusable shopping bags are definitely better for the environment than disposable plastic bags, but not all reusable bags are the same. Bags constructed from bamboo offer an unparalleled level of sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Located in the Pacific Ocean are a number of circular currents that run several thousand miles wide and are known as the North Pacific Gyre. Most vessels making the journey between the mainland United States and Hawaii typically try to avoid this high-pressure system in the central Pacific Ocean because the water lacks the nutrients necessary for fruitful fishing and it lacks the wind needed to propel vessels relying on the winds power to thrust them across the ocean. Trash and debris that find its way into the ocean from Pacific Rim countries travel via these currents and accumulate about 1,000 miles off the California coast all the way to the coast of Japan into what has come to be known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.