May 27th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
The highly anticipated decision by the city of Los Angeles on whether or not to ban the single use plastic bag from retail stores and restaurants was announced last Wednesday, with an overwhelming 13 to 1 vote in favor of the ban, making Los Angeles the nation’s largest city to prohibit plastic bags and the state’s 48th city overall, joining San Francisco, San Jose and Long Beach.
Read More:Banned! Los Angeles Nation’s Largest City to Prohibit Plastic Bags
November 18th, 2010 - Jill Ettinger
Sixty-seven supermarket and pharmacy chains are considering whether or not to seek a block on the ban of plastic bags that passed on November 16th in Los Angeles County.
The ban would not only prohibit the use of plastic bags in more than 1,000 stores in Los Angeles by January, 2012, but it would also include a steep 10-cent surcharge on all paper bags used in place of plastic, encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusables or simply go without. Malibu and the ever-progressive San Francisco have also banned plastic bags from being used by retailers, but neither city has instituted the paper surcharge.
Read More:Plastic Bags Banned in LA; Paper Bag Surcharge
June 22nd, 2010 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Plastic bottles are bad news. Sure, the water inside might be from a “natural spring” but the bottle itself is risky business.
You can find a lot of nasty stuff in plastics used to package our foods, such as water bottles. The most notorious is BPA – short for Bisphenol A – a compound used to make plastic, which has been linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and neurological disorders in fetuses, infants, and young children.
Not to mention all this plastic is polluting our planet by clogging up landfills and floating around our ocean, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; a giant island of trash and plastic roughly the size of Texas in the North Pacific Ocean.
But one Washington, DC supermarket is doing its part to cut out plastic, banning water bottles from sale in its six regional supermarkets.
MOM’s Organic Market has launched its “Battle the Bottle” campaign, kicking plastic water bottles out of stores. And instead MOM’s will be installing water filtration machines in stores, allowing shoppers to refill their own bottles for free, but only up to one gallon. The filters will be up and running in a few weeks.
A spokesperson for MOM’s said, “Societies are truly addicted to plastic, much in the way we are addicted to oil.
MOM’s campaign is in support of DC’s anti-plastic push. The city already adds a 5-cent tax on plastic bags, which has slashed their use dramatically.
I shop with the reusable bags and when I moved I used any plastic bags I did have for box stuffing. I’m a genius!
Image credit: Ozville
Read More:Supermarket in DC Bans Water Bottles
April 6th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I’m 27-years old, tattooed and pierced and apparently I don’t look like the sort of person that would use reusable shopping bags, but I do, and I sometimes get funny remarks from cashiers. One even said, “Wow, a man, a young man even, using these bags. I’ve never seen that.”
Actually, I’ve got five bags and they’re always in my car, ready to go. Now, while using them is better than traditional plastic shopping bags. They might not be as green as you think. In fact, some have a rather dubious upbringing. It’s pretty scary:
Reusable fabric bags are most commonly made from cotton, but the cotton-farming process is extremely fossil-fuel-intensive because of the machinery involved.
According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Worldwide, cotton growers use more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25 percent of the world’s insecticides.
Cotton is also responsible for 25 percent of all chemical pesticides — insecticides, fungicides and herbicides — used on American crops. Chemical fertilizers are used to enrich the soil.
Well, then, what about organic cotton? Those crops generally yield less usable fiber, which means an organic farmer needs more land to make a profit.
Most of the cotton grocery bags are woven outside the U.S. where labor is less costly, but that increases the use of fossil fuels in getting them from the factory to these shores.
Typical shopping bags have drawn heavy fire lately with cities like Washington, D.C. considering fees for paper and plastic bags and New York State has passed legislation for statewide recycling of plastic bags.
But if you’re too leery about reusable shopping bags as they are, you could be like this whacky lady and use creepy bags made from cat fur. Eek!
Read More:Is That Reusable Shopping Bag Really Green?
March 18th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
It’s always weird to see what mundane things like phone booths, parking meters and trash cans look like in other countries. Recycling bins are no different. Here’s a snapshot tour from around the world, including places like Austria, England, Australia and many more.
Now, if you’re wondering how all those plastic bottles and aluminum cans go from useless throwaways to brand new bottles and cans, RecycleBank has animated the whole process. It reminds me of the board game Mouse Trap, minus them mini bathtub and plastic cheese.
In related news, big cities are taking aim at plastic bags. New York has established a statewide recycling program for plastic bags and Washington, D.C. is wants to impose a fee on plastic shopping bags. Eh, just use reusable bags, I do.
Read More:World Tour of Recycling Bins
March 6th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. So I’m at the supermarket fairly often and I always bring my reusable bags with me. But I still see plenty of people opting for plastic shopping bags, even double bagging it.
Now, I’m no eco-fascist. I wish people didn’t use them, but it’s their choice. So I don’t preach. I just hope they’ll change their mind some day, but many cities are being more proactive.
Washington, D.C., wants to impose a fee on plastic bags.
District of Columbia lawmakers are considering a 5-cent fee on plastic or paper shopping bags used at retail centers, including grocery stores, liquor stores and other businesses. A portion of these funds would be used to distribute free reusable bags to old folks and residents of low-income neighborhoods.
Our nation’s capital isn’t the first to crack down on plastic bags. Last year, San Francisco banned plastic shopping bags and Seattle legislators are now looking to charge 20 cents for each paper or plastic bag; ENN reports.
New York City and New York State have taken action too, requiring all retailers to offer collection bins for recycling plastic bags and wraps.
Read More:Washington, D.C. Debates Fee for Paper, Plastic Bags
January 27th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
In Brooklyn, an old building, originally constructed in the 1880s and newly renovated into 25 commercial spaces, gets a green overhaul.
The Nassau Brewery, once called the Budweiser Brewery until a lawsuit by the more well-known Budweiser forced a name change, is the first commercial net-metered solar power array in New York City.
Net-metering allows customers to use their own power generation systems to offset energy costs, by sending excess electricity back into the grid, i.e. spinning their electric meters backwards.
Green builders Big Sue, LLC renovated the Nassau Brewery, located at 925 Bergen Street in Brooklyn. In addition to its 40 kilowatt solar panel system, the building features radiant heating, a 4,000 square foot green roof and locally salvaged materials, such as lights and sinks.
Nassau Brewery’s sister building at 1024 Dean Street, once used as an ice house, now houses 6 residential apartments and also sports a green roof, solar system, radiant heating and recycled amenities.
Actually, New York has really taken the green bull by the horns, other eco-innovations:
Read More:Brooklyn Rooftop Goes Solar