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Day Without a Bag targets holiday shoppers

Bag photo

'Tis the season to go shopping -- and to collect dozens of single-use plastic bags in the process.

Now in its fourth year, Day Without a Bag seeks to replace those single-use bags with reusables that can be put to use all year long. On Thursday, Dec. 16, 25,000 reusable bags will be given away at about 200 L.A. County locations.

In keeping with the holiday theme, green elves will hand out many of the shopping bags, provided at grocery stores, libraries and other locations through a coalition of retailers, local governments and environmental groups that organized the event.

"Access to reusable bags should not be the limiting factor in getting people to use them," said Meredith McCarthy, director of programs for the nonprofit environmental group Heal the Bay, one of the event’s sponsors. "There are bags out there for everyone."

In conjunction with this year's bag giveaway is the inaugural Day Without a Bag Summit, Dec. 15. The event is designed to give municipalities information on enacting single-use bag bans, similar to the one approved for unincorporated parts of L.A. County last month. 

More than 6 billion single-use plastic bags are used by L.A. County residents each year, according to the 2007 report  "An Overview of Carryout Bags in Los Angeles County." Heal the Bay says an average Californian uses 500 to 600 plastic bags each year. Only 5% of single-use plastic bags are recycled, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board. A reusable bag that lasts two years, says Heal the Bay, holds the potential to save 1,000 plastic bags.

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-- Susan Carpenter

Photo credit: Heal the Bay

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I've been bringing my own bags to the market for a few years. I also started bringing my own bag to Subway.

I wish the standard "reusable" bags were sturdier. A lot of mine have torn over the years. I mend them with super strong packing tape (the kind with the fibers in it), but it's still annoying. Most of my bags are cloth for that reason.

Also, grocery clerks need to learn not to overfill reusable bags. I normally have to re-pack my groceries when I load them into my car because the bags are too heavy.

I remember about 20 years ago, some grocery stores gave you a 5 cent discount for every paper bag you brought back to re-use. Perhaps it would entice some people to switch to reusable bags if they got a few cents' discount per bag?

Commentator, For ever person like yourself that is thoughtful and conscientious there are many that are not.

Commentator, granny state? Isn't it nanny state?

100 Billion single use shopping bags are used in this country every year. Less than 1/3 Are recycled. 25% of all the garbage found in Ballona Creek (by volume) is single use plastic bags. And that is in a county that recycler at a much higher rate than most of the rest of the country. 25% of the garbage that LA dumps into the Pacific Ocean consists of single use plastic bags, that people want to keep using for what? Convenience? Your convenience shreds into strips that look like kels, and choke birds, seals and fish. I bet they find it convenient to die in such a worthy cause.

There is a misconception about recycling. The issue isn't just that you recycle your bags and others don't, but also that there is no market for recycled plastic bags here. Most bags that are collected to be recycled are sold to foreign markets. Bags aren't an easy thing to recycle; between contamination and energy issues, it's actually not an eco-friendly option. Is it really "punishment" to bring your own bags to the store?

I'm sorry, but as a recycler of bags myself, I don't understand why I should be punished because other dingbats can't manage to recycle them because of their own ignorance towards planet earth. This legislation is just another example of our nations trend towards becoming a granny state. Hey, alcohol and cigarettes are bad for us as humans, and I am sure that many people don't recycle their bottles and they throw their butts on the ground, should we ban those as well?

Yes it's going to be annoying not having plastic bags. Yes people will complain. But this is a good thing. This is something that will really help California and the country.

It's great news that 25,000 reusable bags will be given out this week! Not only will this help reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, but it will raise awareness in the Los Angeles community to prevent pollution and be more eco-friendly.


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