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Of course, plastic and paper bags should be recycled

Of course, plastic and paper bags should be recycled and it’s important to remember most large retailers including Albertsons and Wal-Mart will recycle plastic bags for you.

Ten US cities have banned plastic bags so far, five within the past year. After all, the holidays are about giving back to our families, friends and communities. Here’s a an excerpt:

While visiting his sister-in-law in Taipei, Kansen Chu, elected to San Jose city council in 2007, went grocery shopping and was surprised to get charged for plastic grocery bags. In addition to the hundreds of years it can take for a plastic bag to decompose in a landfill, the bags also force downtime when fed into traditional recycling equipment. Even major retail stores like Target and CVS Pharmacy are taking action by enacting discounts at the register for customers who choose to BYOB or just carry-out their items without a bag. Several cities have already made gradual but significant progress in promoting the use of eco-friendly non woven reusable grocery bags in recent years. Most plastic bags end up in landfills and the rest often end up in rivers, ponds, lakes, streams or in the sea, where animals can ingest or become entangled in them. Typically, the bags get wound into conveyor belts or gears and must be cut out by hand.
. The city of 20 million now faces the realities of effective enforcement, which is not easy when the Mexico City Chamber of Commerce estimates there are 35,000 vendors in Mexico City’s downtown area alone. Even Mexico City enacted a ban on plastic shopping bags, which went into effect in August. Yes, bring your own shopping bag! As we begin the home stretch for the year of 2009 and the arrival of the holiday shopping season, it is crazy how much shopping we historically do here in America and world-wide during the coming weeks.

An estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags are consumed each year in the USA, according to the Wall-Street Journal. Through the fight to eliminate disposable shopping bag waste, we are giving a gift to our Planet, the finest gift of all, sustainability and reusage. Momentum is growing across the world, particularly in America. Motivating consumers with plastic and paper bag bans, discounts at the register for reusable bag usage and tax motivations are a few to speak of.

According to (Save the Bay’s) research, Californians use about 19 billion plastic bags each year, 3. One of the most blatant examples of this waste is disposable shopping bags. Here’s an excerpt of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Kelly Zito. That being said, a BYOB shopping strategy can make your life so much easier because there is no longer a need to accumulate that cupboard full of plastic bags or figure out what and when to do something about it. PlasTaxes, which tax consumers at the register for using plastic bags when shopping, were first introduced by the Irish. Tracy Seipel of the San Jose Mercury News reported that it was actually ONE man who really jump-started the ban, another great example of the power of one person. Keeping a few reusable shopping bags in plastic size clip your car or backpack is a good way to ensure you have them when needed. The 50-year-old environmental advocacy group focused on 10 specific bay-area sites where almost 15,000 plastic bags were retrieved in one day last year in their report. The average use time for the bags - made using about 12 million barrels of oil each year in the United States - is about 12 minutes. Look at the way smoking is becoming taboo in America. Whether it be frequent trips to the grocery store as we keep our kitchen’s stocked for wonderful meals and tasty treats or those sometimes dreaded, yet skillful “6 bags on each arm” walks through the packed local mall, it all adds up to so much unnecessary waste.Tis the season for BYOB. That’s what BYOB is all about, setting a proactive example for others to set a trend that will help our planet it’s valuable finite resources and secure it’s animals’ habitats. In the same way, who is to say the use of disposable bags won’t become taboo at some point in the near future? The use of eco friendly reusable shopping bags is definitely gaining steam.

Save the Bay’s 4th annual report on the most garbage-strewn sites in the region further demonstrates the need for bringing your own shopping bags. San Jose becomes the latest bay area city to enact some type of ban on disposable shopping bags; others include San Francisco and Palo Alto. John Roach of National Geographic reported last year on the worldwide momentum that’s been building since Ireland instituted a PlasTax in 2003. Household waste, shopping bags included, increases by more than 25% on average in November and December. The Irish showed they could reduce plastic bag consumption by 90% or more. The next day, he brought his own cloth bags back to the store. If we can raise awareness at this time, the positive impact for the environment is incalculable for 2009 and well into the future. Considering how many shopping bags are consumed and wasted at this time of year, the time is now to spread the word about the positive benefits of eco-friendly reusable shopping bags. So give back this holiday season by remembering to BYOB! Whether it be at a convenience store, the mall, or while grocery shopping, we can make a difference for the environment and help raise awareness one transaction at a time. This is a big victory for the Bay Area, which has one million plastic bags per year accumulating in and along the San Francisco Bay.

Bans on plastic bags aren’t the only effective way to reduce harmful waste caused by disposable bags. Our individual choices to bring our reusable bags when shopping this holiday season can go a lot farther than we think.

Right here in America, the San Jose City Council recently passed one of the nation’s strictest bans on plastic and paper shopping bags. But to some, the wide-spread adoption of eco-friendly reusable bags is inevitable.

Adopting a BYOB strategy in our individual shopping habits is a simple way to do just that. “I guess the question,” said Chu, “was, Why not San Jose?” He began a conversation with the city’s environmental services staff, which later moved to council committee discussions.8 million in the Bay Area. From Washington, DC to Edmonds, WA to North Pole, AK, communities and governments are spurring an international trend to reduce the harmful environmental effects of disposable shopping bags.

For the naysayers, it’s convenient to ignore recent momentum in reducing disposable bag waste. Indoor smoking bans have caught on like wild fire

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