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[GreenYes] Re: Sources of reusable shopping bags

Title: [GreenYes] Re: Sources of reusable shopping bags

Ann Schneider wrote:
I have replies from two of our instructors in the on-line sustainability
program (link at bottom of message):

The Chicago-based business works to raise awareness of
the routine act of using plastic bags, seeks to make it decidedly uncool
to use these bags, and sells a wide variety of reusable bags.
Content: Each year individuals in the U.S. use and discard over 380
billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps. This plastic consumption requires
an estimated 12 billion barrels of oil -- equal to just over a day's
worth of oil imports -- and costs US consumers an estimated $4 billion
in higher prices for retail goods. Plastic bags also contribute to air
and water pollution, litter and the costs of its cleanup, and to over
100,000 marine animal deaths per year.

The business in Chicago exists to raise awareness of
the routine act of using plastic bags, to help make it decidedly uncool
(kind of like not recycling or not eating your veggies), and to sell a
wide variety of reusable bags (dozens offered). The web site provides
background information on plastic bag production, consumption and
pollution, on 'paper vs. plastic,' on plastic recycling, and on
successful plastic bag taxes and restrictions.


When the question is Paper or Plastic for a one-use bag the answer is,
should be, and should always be -- NEITHER. We need to phase one-use
bags out of retail now, and world wide.

All of us should be looking for ways of promoting reusable options
anywhere we can. Ask your retailers to sell them in their stores, give
them as gifts -- hand them to strangers, just for fun.

Reusable bags can be uber hip (made from all sorts of fun and crazy
things), imprinted with store name (spreading the word about their great
ethics as a responsible retailer), sold as an impulse item at the
counter, and are a really easy sale. Reusable bags now come in so many
configurations, you can have one for every purse or jacket you own --
fitting even the tiniest of evening bags or pockets. Plus you can have
extra bigger fold-out bags for bigger day bags, coming in Messenger bag
size and bigger still to keep in your car (grocery bag size).

Needless to say -- not -- having a reusable bag handy is really
inexcusably irresponsible.

Really great options...
Reusable bags -- on a google search pops up all kinds of listings now.

Countries are banning one-use totes right and left. Especially PLASTIC
bags. Unlike paper bags, they simply stay in the environment forever,
clog up both drainage (making flooding worse) and digestion of wildlife
(killing and rekilling after the animal's body decomposes and the bag is
reingested by another hapless victim).

These particular links are VERY disturbing...

The only good plastic bag is a reusable plastic bag, or one from a
renewable that can decompose -- without -- the aid of a commercial
composter (in case it gets loose in the wild, as they like to do). For
the one-use bioplastic bag, things like medical waste, and messy wet
trash collection bags are their real chance to shine.

BUT, as we're not in that happy no-bag, or well defined use, space yet
-- when touting facts about the benefit of Paper OR Plastic, you need to
be very careful where those facts are coming form.

Comparing numbers
Two life-cycle studies -- from production to disposal -- of paper versus
plastic bags showed opposite results.

Study 1:
-- Plastic uses 23 percent less energy than paper
-- Plastic produces 76 percent less solid waste
-- Plastic contributes 57 percent less air emissions
-- Plastic has 96 percent fewer water emissions

Study 2:
-- Paper uses 80 percent less energy than plastic
-- Paper contributes 96 percent less to global warming
-- Paper contributes 52 percent less air emissions
-- Paper contributes 29 percent less water emissions
An analysis of the two studies showed that location and scope of the
assessments can result in drastically different conclusions.

Plus of course there are the issues of -- who -- funded the study, and
so on. AND of course, there is the issue of recyclability, paper bags
are recycled in every market, plastic bags aren't. Paper bags sequester
carbon from today's carbon cycle for the whole time they are being
recycled, over and over. Plastic bags from non-renewables are
resurrected carbon from millions of years ago, and simply add to today's
carbon load when burned. As is their fate in many markets.

But the best reason for NOT using one-use bags is a really simple one.
Why spend the money? Why use resources for a thing we have really handy,
durable-goods solutions for? Australia alone spends 175 MILLION or so
just for one-use totes each year. Imagine if that money were spent
instead on renewable energy, or sustainability education? Does anyone
have numbers for the US? Just thinking about it is staggering!

To drive the no-plastic-bag point harder, here are 3 more key links that
will change your life forever...

Want more? Google: plastic bags wildlife death


> Hi GRRN:
> Sierra Club folks have been asking me about where to go to buy large
> quantities of reusable shopping bags. And of course the hierarchy of the
> best bags.  So I have two questions:
> 1. Does anyone have a master list including company name, phone and
> website of companies that sell reusable shopping bags.  And if so, could
> you please send to me.
> 2. If disposable non-renewable plastic bags are at the bottom of the
> hierarchy, what kind of reusable bags are at the top?  Organic cotton
> locally grown?  Hemp again locally grown?  recycled fiber?  reusable
> plastic like the tyvex kind?  Are any of these bags made in the US from
> US grown fiber?  Or at least from north America?
> Thanks,
> I am checking to see if I can like supplier from the Sierra Club's
> website, I am not sure if this is a conflict with our rules. If not, we
> will be rolling out a commonly asked question and answer section as we
> are being inundated with all the ban plastic bag stuff.  San Francisco
> your new policies are killing me..... just kidding, clearly our members
> are excited about what the City is doing.
> Ann Schneider
> Chair, Zero Waste Committee
> Sierra Club - Environmental Quality Strategy Team
> Ann.Schneider@no.address
> to
> join our forum to discuss ZW & EPR Campaigns
> -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

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