Tag Archives: single use plastic bags

Plastic Bag Bans

Bag Bans – Is That Really The Big Issue?

I recently read a short, but insightful, article surrounding the issues of bag bans.  The bag industry claims that banning bags will result in job loss, negative effects to local economies, hidden taxes, and lower environmental impact compared to paper, etc.  These are important issues to consider, but they really don’t address the real issue of lightweight plastic bags – litter.  The crux of the bag bans are associated with littering of bags whether intentional or not.  I think we have all seen these bags floating in the streets, in bushes and trees, and worse, marine environments. The bag littler looks ugly and in worse case scenarios it kills wildlife!

I think the real issue with bag bans is that we are not identifying the main problem, litter.

Yes, it is true that plastic bags are more environmentally friendly when comparing the carbon footprint, but in the whole scheme of things, should we really be pushing lightweight plastic bags over alternative bag solutions like reusable bags or heavy gauge plastics bags?  When is the last time you’ve seen a cotton reusable bag hanging in a tree?  You don’t!  They are much too heavy and they would end up going to the landfill, just like most of the other plastic packaging that comes with products we purchase.

Who is to blame for this problem? Can we change human behavior?  What can be done to improve processes so that bags are not the problem?  If there was a value to bags, like aluminum cans, would this result in a different outcome?  A recent study titled: “Plastic Film and Bag Recycling Collection: National Reach Study” found that over 91% of U.S. residents have access to bag recycling facilities, but consumers are not utilizing them.  Is bag recycling just too inconvenient?  Not profitable enough for the recyclers?   These are all questions we have asked to try to solve this problem, but perhaps there is a bigger question that we should be asking ourselves:  Are there applications that we should not utilize plastic in?

If we zoom out of the minutia and look at the overall problem, human behavior is at the cause of all of these issues.  But, maybe we can’t change human behavior. Maybe there are some plastic applications, such as bags, that we as humans should say, “let’s just get rid of them, because we aren’t able to solve the problem -other than to ban them”?

This blog is not going to solve the problem or answer the question “to ban or not to ban”, but to bring up the questions that we should be asking ourselves. Maybe we should be ok with banning certain applications of plastics, if they are resulting in damage to our environment.  But, that doesn’t mean that we need to get rid of all plastics!  After all, plastics do have a lower carbon footprint than the alternatives -and it is the material that 25 years ago the environmentalists wanted choose instead of paper.  Who knows the absolute right answer?  If we do now walk away from plastic bags, it would not be the first time our US society has come full circle in their overall opinion…

See what people are saying about plastic bag bans.


Plastic Bags get Recovered

I think that it is wonderful that stores will be reclaiming plastic bags from consumers. In this particular case I wonder if the bags will be recycled or what action will be taken. If single use bags must be biodegradable, depending on whether they can biodegrade in a landfill or biodegrade in a industrial compost consumers must be informed so the proper disposal method will be taken. Too often do consumers see the word biodegradable on a label and assume that if the product is thrown in the trash it will biodegrade. Products made with ENSO will definitely biodegrade in a landfill however PLA products must be taken to an industrial composting facility, if not they will just sit in a landfill like traditional plastic. As a consumer do you desire for more accurate labeling/claims on products? Have you ever been misinformed about a green product because of their marketing claims/labeling? If you have any examples please share them with me! If a store offered a program where you could return your bags would you take advantage of it? Check out the article, and let me know what you think in the comment box below!



Measure boosts plastic bag ban

August 27, 2011, 3:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The campaign to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags got a big boost after the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill requiring the store owners to provide biodegradable plastic bags to customers.

To be known as the Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011, House Bill 4840 is an initiative to address the impact of climate change.

Under the bill, stores are mandated to implement an in-store recovery program in which the customers can return the plastic bags they had used.

“The recovery system will lead citizens to exert effort and give their due share in protecting the environment by bringing used plastic bags to stores and commercial establishments which in turn shall provide the logistics for recovery of these plastic shopping bags,” Caloocan City Rep. Oscar Malapitan, the bill’s principal author, said

HB 4840 also provides that the bags must have a logo showing that they are biodegradable, with a printed note saying “lease return to any store for recycling.”

Under the measure, all business establishments shall have their own plastic bag recovery bins, which shall be visible and accessible to the customers.

For their part, the local government units (LGUs) shall be tasked to collect, recycle and dispose of all plastic bags recovered by the stores.

“The State must ensure that contaminants to the environment, such as plastic and plastic bags, be prevented from being introduced into the ecosystem,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who co-authored the bill, said.

It is expected that after the implementation of the HB 4840, there will be a phase out of non-biodegradable plastic bags within three years.

ACC demands positive marketing towards plastic bags

Group alleges ACC influenced comments about plastics in Calif. curricula

Posted August 22, 2011

WASHINGTON (Aug. 22, 2:35 p.m. ET) — An investigative reporting team alleges that the American Chemistry Council pressured educational officials in California to revise a section of an environmental curriculum to present positive information about plastic shopping bags.

Washington-based ACC says the allegation “distorts and misrepresents” what took place during a public comment period.

The California EPA also issued a statement, saying that all revisions to the Education and Environment Initiative curriculum were made for “accuracy and educational value” and “thoroughly vetted.”

California Watch, a reporting initiative of the Center for Investigative Reporting, claims that Gerald Lieberman, a private consultant hired by California school officials, added a new section to the 11th-grade teachers’ edition textbook called “The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags,” with the title and some of the textbook language inserted almost verbatim from letters written by the chemistry council.

California Watch posted the report on its website on Aug. 19.

The group also alleges that Lieberman added a workbook section that asks students to list some advantages of plastic bag, and that the correct answer in the revised teachers’ edition is that “plastic shopping bags are very convenient to use. They take less energy to manufacture than paper bags, cost less to transport and can be reused.”

The claim by California Watch “distorts and misrepresents public process and the role the ACC played in it,” said Steve Russell, ACC’s vice president of plastics. “When CalEPA developed its curricula, the agency … posted an invitation [for public comment] on draft versions of the curricula.”

“We submitted comments in response to the state’s public solicitation for input,” Russell said. “The purpose of our comments was to correct factual inaccuracies and to present a more complete view of plastic bags’ environmental attributes, including their benefits, which were absent from the draft. Our comments, and those of all other stakeholders, were submitted via email and through an online form on CalEPA’s website.”

Lieberman is director of the State Education and Environment Roundtable, a nonprofit group developed by 16 state departments of education to enhance environmental education in schools. He declined to comment on his role in editing the textbook, and referred Plastics News to CalEPA, which defended the EEI curriculum.

“We stand by the integrity of the EEI Curriculum and the open and transparent process in which it was created,” said Lindsey VanLaningham, director of communications for CalEPA. “The curriculum was thoroughly vetted by all appropriate state agencies and was ultimately approved (unanimously) by the California State Board of Education.”

“Throughout the development process, the state made revisions to the curriculum based on two primary factors: (1) accuracy; and (2) educational value,” said VanLaningham. “Teacher feedback supports our belief that the EEI engages students on issues of vital importance to them and their environment, including the role of plastic in our society.”

Regardless, state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, author of the 2003 legislation that requires that environmental principles and concepts be taught in the state’s public schools, plans to write ask CalEPA officials to tweak the current text to remove language that portrays plastic bags in a favorable light.

The curriculum covers science, history, social studies and the arts, and weaves in environmental principles and concepts. It is currently being tested at 19 school districts that include 140 schools and more than 14,000 students. And an additional 400 school districts have signed up to use it, according to Cal-EPA.

In its letter to CalEPA dated Aug. 14, 2009, ACC said that it felt the lesson plan on Mass Production, Marketing and Consumption in the Roaring Twenties was “extensive in its inaccuracies and bias about plastic and plastic bags.

“The ACC takes exception to the overall tone, instructional approach and the lack of solutions offered — most especially, the lack of mention of the overall solution of plastic recycling,” wrote Alyson Thomas, a senior account executive with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, who submitted the letter on behalf of ACC.

“We recommend that the list of concerns related to plastic bags be balanced with a measured response regarding efforts … to promote the recycling of plastic bags,” ACC said.

Plastic bags are referred to as “litter” in the text, ACC said. “To be clear, plastic bags don’t start as litter. They can become litter through behavioral actions leading to inappropriate disposal.”

The new text incorporated that view, as it now says that plastic bags “can become litter,” instead of calling them litter as the original version.

According to California Watch, the first teachers’ edition also had been highly critical of plastic shopping bags, noting the long decomposition rate of the bags and their threat to marine life and ocean health.

That information remains in the text, but a section on the benefits of plastic bags was added, after ACC made its comments.

“To counteract what is perceived as an exclusively negative positioning of plastic bags issues, we recommend adding a section entitled “Benefits of Plastic Shopping Bags,” ACC said in its letter.

It suggested that the text point out that plastic grocery bags require 70 percent less energy to manufacture than paper ones, that lightweight plastic bags save space and fuel in transport, and that paper bags are reusable, and also can be recycled and made into new plastic bags, and plastic lumber for decking, park benches and picnic tables.

“We recommend adding text referring to the second life of plastic products, and the increase in the recycling of plastic bags,” ACC said. “Recovered plastic bags and wraps can be recycled into many products, including backyard decking, fencing, railings, shopping carts and new bags.”

Buying Bio Degradable

buying biodegradable



Buying Biodegradable Bags Instead Of Standard Plastic Bags

Posted By Bob B Taylor On August 19th 2011.

Biodegradable bags are a hot subject of environmental protection. National’s Government propagandize everyone use these bags instead of normal bag; further they issue policy to forbid the using plastic without biodegradable additive.

There are numerous ways to classify the biodegradable. One of the ways is degradable condition, there are two main types: Biodegradable plastic bags and Degradable plastic bags. Bio-degradable is manufactured out of farmed items like cornstarch and additive; they’re decomposed in the aerobic condition, so they can not degrade in environment. It is not the ideal choice for the landfill in environment.

Alternatively, the biodegradable trash bags are a lot more environment friendly. It may decompose easily because they are made, almost, entirely from the natural wastes. These usually do not imperil the aquatic life since the biodegradable bags may also decompose in aquatic atmosphere. Moreover, if these are swallowed through the inhabitants of aqua, it may easily be digested owing to their natural composition. Using these bags may also save huge amount of money that it takes the municipal authorities to remove them from your sewage pipes. The assembly and subsequent use of these bags has, surprisingly, a zero net impact on the Fractional co2 of the atmosphere as these release how much carbon dioxide at the time of their decomposition consumed during their production. The sunshine weight, easy transportation and lesser price will also be one of the most substantial advantages of these bags.

There is a good news for packaging bag market is biodegradable material appeared. This is a great choice for protecting environment. Through the use of additive elements including EPI, D2W or ECM just 1 percent or 2 percent to combine into resin material, plastic bags may be degraded totally from 6 months to five years. However, the purchase price is just a tiny bit higher than normal ones with the same quality of plastic bags: durability, light weight, water resistance, printing quality, nevertheless it bring to persistent development for economic and also the life. There are a lot of main reasons why using eco-friendly products makes good business sense. The most importance thing is that benefit moves along with sustainability and morality of economic. It is recommended for business owner to lessen their foot print on the planet.


Reusable Shopping Bags Not Risk Free

The newest fad: The Reusable bag .

Reusable bags are being greatly pushed against the single use plastic bag and people seem to be latching on to the concept. It sounds like a good enough idea, and with all the design options you can really expressive yourself, but is the reusable bag really risk free? Just like many new products there may be some drawbacks that weren’t discovered before becomingso popular and “savior-esque.” The Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University conducted a study called the Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags. Now I am going to brief you on the results of this study!

So what is “Cross contamination” ?

Cross contamination occurs when disease-causing microorganisms are transferred from one food to another.

The assessment was divided into 3 Phases

1. Determine the occurrence of bacteria and bacteria of health concern in reusable shopping bags
2. Determine the potential for microbial cross-contamination in reusable shopping bags
3. Evaluate and recommend the washing/bleaching procedures necessary to decontaminate reusable shopping bags

They started off by collecting bags from consumers entering grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and Tucson, Arizona. 84 bags total were collected, 25 from LA, 25 from San Francisco and 34 from Tucson. All but 4 of these bags were woven polypropylene (a little softer than polyester which is what a typical plastic bottle is made out of.) Each bag owner was interviewed on bag usage, storage, and cleaning procedures. (4 unused reusable bags were also purchased and tested)


And the Results are in…

Large numbers of bacteria were found in all but 1 bag & coliform bacteria in half.

E-Coli was identified in 12% of the bags & a wide range of enteric bacteria & pathogens.

After meat juices were added to bags & stored in car s for 2 hours, bacteria increased 10-fold.



How to Clean your bags?

Hand or machine washing was found to reduce the bacteria in bags by >99.9%. So if you clean your bag after every separate use, you should be good! (Don’t forget to think of the water and energy that adds up over time)


What were the bag owners habits?

Cleaned bag at home?
97% No
3% Yes

Days bags were used in a Week?
49% 1 day
22% 2 days
18% 3 days
3% 4 days
2% 5 days
3% 6 days
3% 7 days

Bag used Soley for Groceries?
70% Yes
30% No

Other uses of Bag?
57% Other Shopping
19% Clothes
10% Books
9% Snacks
5% Biking Supplies

Separate Bags for Meats & Vegetables?
75% No
25% Yes

Transport in Car?
55% Trunk
45% Backseat

Stored at home?
55% Yes
45% No


As you are learning these bags get pretty filthy and are brought back into stores, which is proven to be not at all sanitary. So if reusable bag users do not make the continuous effort to keep their bags clean maybe this isn’t  the cleanest solution to the single-use plastic bag problem, why not explore another option like using Earth friendly  biodegradable and recyclable plastic instead, Like ENSO?

Take a few min to read the rest of the assessment it’s definitely worth your time!