May 22 â€" Reuse Incentives Reduce Plastic Bag Waste in Marin

The Marin Independent this weekend reported, that while some residents want more to be done to address the problem of plastic bags, Marin grocery stores are ahead of the curve in providing incentives and opportunities for bag reduction and reuse:

Almost all Marin supermarkets pay customers to use reuse bags. "If you save us a bag, it's a nickel (refund)," says Tama Weidner, store director at Paradise Foods in Corte Madera…

Will Americans buy into reusing? Even environmentalists doubt if the mentality about consuming plastic grocery bags can be changed, says Brian Halweil, a researcher from the World Watch Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington. "It stands for the deep-rooted American mindset of being able to repeatedly use and throw away, without thinking about the consequences," he says. "It is a perfect metaphor for our disposable society."

Yet Halweil also sees hope in other, analogous efforts. "Putting up with smoking in public places used to be second nature," he says. "Now it is not tolerated anywhere."

The Full Article describes how re-use incentives utilized by Marin grocers provide consumers with a little benefit in not taking a litter-prone, non-biodegradable plastic bag.  Many stores fail to encourage re-use, and policies are poorly publicized when existent.  As such, few people know where to recycle their bags, and are unfamiliar with the benefits of reusable totes.

What you can do:

CAW is currently sponsoring AB 2449 (Levine), which requires all grocery stores to accept plastics bag for recycling, provide signage on the bag recycling option, and to also sell reusable carriers for purchase. 

In Related News Around the World:

In the British Columbia, Canada, the Lower Mainland Municipal Association has endorsed a proposal on a bag tax, and is asking the Union of B.C. Muncipalities to consider supporting a bag tax in British Columbia itself.  Read the Full Article in the BC paper, The Surrey Leader.

In Australia, supermarkets did not meet the negotiated two-year target to reduce plastic bag generation by 50%, and government officials may now consider bans or levies.  The State of  South Australia has been pressing for such measures for over a year.  Read the Full Article in Australia’s “Sunday Times”.

In Ireland, the plastic bag levy amount could soon be raised to maintain the early reduction levels if investigations prove that some retailers have not been instituting the levy in full.  So far, the measure has generated substantial environmental funding and has also generated a reputation; both Belgium and Japan are considering banning plastic bags.  Read the Full Article in the “Sunday Times” from Ireland.