Monday night, I attended a showing of the film Bag It in San Francisco, finally getting to see it in a real theater on a real screen. Then, the following day, the Santa Clara, CA Board of Supervisors passed a ban on plastic bags and a 15 cent fee on paper bags.
So, what can you do to reduce plastic bag pollution in your community? There are resources out there to help you.
1) The Plastic Pollution Coalition has put together a Bag Ban Tool Kit, which they’ve posted on their new site, Plasticfree Times. The toolkit compiles many useful links on community organizing for bag bans and fees from all over the Internet.
2) The Bag It filmmakers want to help your community become a Bag It Town, and they too have created a toolkit to help.
3) My Plastic-free Life reader Alyssa Pasquale, who guest posted here two years ago, has an extra copy of the resource book, Ban the Plastic Bag, to give away to one U.S. reader of this blog. Ban the Plastic Bag is written by Rebecca Hosking, who worked to get a voluntary bag ban in her town in Modbury, England. The book is so small it can fit in the palm of your hand, but it’s chock full of information. I had to order my copy from Amazon UK, but all you have to do is leave a comment here to get one for yourself.
Here’s what Alyssa wrote me:
Five years ago, I finally became an adult. I moved into an apartment and started paying rent, cleaning up after myself, and buying groceries. I quickly became overloaded with plastic bags, and then realized that there were options. I always loved to bring tote bags shopping, so why not to the grocery stores? The strange looks I got at the check-out aisles at my local Price Chopper made me feel like a self-righteous hippie at times, but I was glad to do away with all of the plastic waste. I was also able to carry all of my groceries in two hefty tote bags instead of 10 flimsy plastic bags.
These days many retailers have awakened to a public who is more hesitant to blindly accept plastic bags. My local Whole Foods doesn’t even carry plastic bags at check-out anymore (although they still offer plastic produce bags), and no longer do I get strange looks when I bring tote bags to the more conventional grocery chains.
But imagine living in a city, county, state or country that doesn’t even pose the dilemma of “paper or plastic.” Rebecca Hosking’s book Ban the Plastic Bag details some very successful campaigns in the UK that have led to bans on the plastic bag. This book proves that a dedicated group of individuals does have the power to change local laws and help aid the environment, which is a nice antidote to depressing tales of climate change and pollution. I’m hopeful that similarly dedicated individuals in the US can learn from this book and help lead to plastic bag bans on this side of the Atlantic.
Win a Copy of the Book
To enter to win a copy of the book, please leave a comment here letting us know what you personally have done or plan to do about plastic bag waste, pollution, and litter in your community. Ideas could be as simple as remembering to bring your own bags to bringing extra bags to give to strangers who forget theirs, talking to store merchants, talking to your city council, picking up bags you see on the street, etc. I just want to know that everyone is involved in some way.
1) You get one point for leaving your comment here on this blog. Update: Be sure and read the paragraph above first. Your comment needs to include “what you personally have done or plan to do about plastic bag waste, pollution, and litter in your community.”
2) You get another point for leaving your comment on the My Plasticfree Life Facebook page. (Hint: you have to “Like” the page before you can leave a comment.) Update: Your Facebook comment should also include “what you personally have done or plan to do about plastic bag waste, pollution, and litter in your community.”
3) You get still another point for posting a plastic bag related photo on the My Plasticfree Life Facebook page. Photos could be of plastic bag litter or of you carrying a reusable bag or anything else that might motivate people visually to care about reducing plastic bag production and waste.
We will choose a winner by the end of next week.
I’m leaving for my semi-annual meditation retreat tomorrow and may not have a chance to post again before next week. So please leave lots of comments and share ideas about reducing plastic bag waste. Our strength is our power to communicate with each other.