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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 

Paper or Plastic?

Try neither. Bring your own. It's an idea whose time has come.

Paper or plastic? Not anymore in San Francisco.

The city's Board of Supervisors approved groundbreaking legislation Tuesday to outlaw plastic checkout bags at large supermarkets in about six months and large chain pharmacies in about a year. - SFGate

Last year, 1 Bag at a Time, an online eco-tote company in California, sold 100,000 reusable bags. Sales leaped to 250,000 totes in the first three months of this year -- a change its owner attributes in part to Al Gore's global-warming film, "An Inconvenient Truth."

...Change already has swept Australia, where public concern over the pileup of plastic bags -- and talk of a bag tax -- gave rise in 2003 to a reusable, polypropylene tote called the Green Bag. Though made with petroleum products, it's considered eco-friendly because each one eliminates dozens of throwaway bags.

Two years after the campaign took off, the Sydney Morning Herald said at least 10 million to 15 million of the bags were in circulation. They even had become a fashion icon, the paper reported -- though "they come, mostly, in the sort of bright, unnatural green that looks good on no one."

Australia's success has brought Green Bag look-alikes to the U.S. and inspired hope that consumer habits can change.

"I was in Australia last year," said Jackson, the Snohomish planner, "and I have to tell you it was just unbelievable being in Melbourne. Everyone has got their Green Bag. It's a citywide phenomenon. You don't see anyone using paper or plastic -- either one."

...Flimsy plastic shopping bags have been banned outright in some countries, including South Africa, Rwanda, Bangladesh and parts of India, where plastic-bag litter was blamed for drain blockages that contributed to fatal floods and landslides during monsoons.- Seattle PI

1 Bag at a Time
Bagit System
Reusable Bags (member of 1% for the Planet)

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I am not sure about the authenticity of Gore on Global Warming but that is not important. The important thing is that a lot of people are becoming more aware of the plight of our environment. it's nice to see that something is being done to improve the condition of our planet. We need action and less debates.

Australians still use 4 billion plastic shopping bags a year - in spite of those environmentally damaging green bags. I worked out that if all Austrlains used them and left them in their car so they would not forget to take them (as most people do) we would collectively be using more fuel to transport several thousand tons of shopping bags around as we travel.

So much for helping the environment. An Australian government funded study of costs and benefits of banning plastic shopping bags showed that the cost of a ban would exceed $1 billion, mostly due to reduced efficiencies at the check-out as operatots struggled with re-usable bags.

SF residents are being conned by their politicians!

Gerard, Sydney, Australia

I think banning may be going to far, but I do agree that something needs to change. We all need to take part in this change without the government coming in and forcing us too. The sad thing is, the goverment is forcing this because people don't care enough on their own.
Very interesting post.

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