Day Without a Bag targets holiday shoppers
'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.
-- Susan Carpenter
Photo credit: Heal the Bay