Thursday, January 24, 2008

LA County Passes a Plastic Bag Ordinance

The LA County Board of Supervisors passed a plastic bag ordinance
yesterday. One of the links below includes the County's full report
on the issue (approx. 80 pages).

The main motion as well as all the suggested amendments passed; below
are the links to the specific language:
http://lacounty. info/bos/ sop/supdocs/ 36491.pdf
http://lacounty. info/bos/ sop/supdocs/ 36573.pdf
http://lacounty. info/bos/ sop/supdocs/ 36628.pdf

In addition the companion motion to push legislative fixes to AB 2449
also passed; here is the language for that:
http://lacounty. info/bos/ sop/supdocs/ 36209.pdf

Whole Foods to Stop Using Plastic Bags by Earth Day

Natural foods retailer Whole Foods has announced it will stop giving out plastic grocery bags by Earth Day due to the bags' ubiquity and associated environmental problems. The company is opting instead for bagging customers' groceries in 100 percent recycled paper bags and/or encouraging customers to bring their own reusable sacks. "More and more cities and countries are beginning to place serious restrictions on single-use plastic shopping bags since they don't break down in our landfills, can harm nature by clogging waterways and endangering wildlife, and litter our roadsides," said Whole Foods' A.C. Gallo. The grocery chain estimates that the plastic-bag ban at all its 270 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. will eliminate the use of about 100 million plastic sacks between Earth Day and the end of 2008. All together, Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags each year.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

China Bans Plastic Bags

Chinese authorities on Tuesday said they're outlawing the plastic shopping bag because of pollution and energy concerns.

China's State Council said the ban will start June 1. Firms that continue to sell, make and distribute bags thicker than 0.025 mm thick will be given fines and authorities may seize goods and profits, the State Council said.

"Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling," the government said in a statement, according to Reuters.

"We should encourage people to return to carrying cloth bags, using baskets for their vegetables."

According to Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research group, plastic bags dissolve over 1,000 years. The group also estimates consumers worldwide toss about 500 billion plastic bags annually.

In March 2007, San Francisco became the first North American city to ban non-recyclable plastic bags made from petroleum products.

Later in April, the Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids became the first Canadian municipality to prohibit plastic sacks.

Other regions in South Africa, Ireland and Taiwan have placed additional fees and taxes on the bags to discourage use.