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The truth about reusable shopping bags

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 0:47
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The truth about reusable shopping bags
Jan. 11, 2014, 2:00pm EST
Los Angeles is the latest American city to ban the use of single-use plastic grocery bags, but experts say their most common replacements—paper and reusable bags—come with environmental and financial costs of their own.
Indeed, some reusable bags need to be used over 100 times before they’re better for the environment than single-use plastic bags. Polyethylene bags need to be used four times, a polypropylene bag must be used at least 11 times, and a cotton bag must be used at least 131 times, according to a study by the U.K. Environment Agency .
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council has prohibited the use of plastic bags, joining nearly 90 other cities around the country in banning what environmentalists say have been the scourge of oceans for decades. Consumers in L.A. will now have to pay 10 cents for a paper bag provided by the supermarket or bring their own reusable bag to the store. But the cost of paper and reusable bags goes beyond just the 10-cent fee. “If we are really going to change behavior we need to come up with some other way than relying on shoppers to buy paper bags or carry their own bags,” says Phil Lempert, CEO of grocery information site SupermarketGuru.com . In other words, find an alternative to both single-use “carryout” and reusable plastic, Lempert says.
The widespread use of single-use carryout plastic bags raises significant environmental concerns, according to a 2010 report by professional technical-services company Aecom Technology Corp /quotes/zigman/457273/composite ACM +1.95%  . It cited the short and long term adverse effects to marine ecosystems, solid waste management, global resource consumption and litter. In most instances, a switch to reusable bags provides the greatest environmental benefits, the report found, “if used at least a minimum number of times.” Many major retailers sell reusable bags in biodegradable canvas, plastic or “bioplastics” manufactured from natural materials. But some of these materials “are very, very energy intensive material to manufacture,” says Stephen Joseph, counsel for the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, a San Francisco-based coalition of plastic bag manufacturers.
People may not want to carry food in the same bag for extended periods for fear of contamination, experts say, although cotton bags may be the most easily washed and reusable. At the end of their life, only 5% of reusable plastic bags are recycled in the U.S., according to a 2011 report by California State University, Chico, and Clemson University. That’s the same recycling rate for single-use plastic bags.
Another problem: Many reusable bags being sold at the country’s major retailers are imported. Wal-Mart /quotes/zigman/245476/composite WMT +1.32%  sells reusable bags with slogans like “A little green goes a long way.” In fact, many have also come a long way—over 7,000 miles. Wal-Mart’s standard reusable bag (50 cents) is made in China. Whole Foods has a variety of 99-cent “ Better Bags ” that are made from 88% recycled materials, but they’re not exclusively made in the U.S., a spokesman says. (Whole Foods shoppers are offered a rebate of 10 cents for each reusable bag they use.) Home Depot /quotes/zigman/229488/composite HD -2.56%  also touts a store-branded orange nylon tote (99 cents), which is made in China. And Trader Joe’s polypropylene reusable bags (99 cents) are made in Vietnam.
Paper bags are biodegradable, but some experts say cutting down trees is no answer either. Some 46 million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2011—a recycling of almost 66%—and accounts for over half of all recyclables collected in the U.S. by weight, according to the government’s Environmental Protection Agency. That includes all paper, of course, and not just bags. “By volume, it’s still enormous,” says Joshua Martin, director of the Environmental Paper Network, a global coalition of over 100 nonprofit organizations. Still, Martin welcomes the move away from plastic bags in L.A. and elsewhere, and favors a surcharge for each paper bag to encourage more people to think twice—and then some—about recycling. “You won’t find a whale washed up on the beach with its belly full of paper,” he says, “so I support the ban.”
Aecom Technology Corp
Linda M. Griego is a director at the AECOM Technology Corporation, and was a Los Angeles (CA) deputy mayor.
Note: Los Angeles (CA) City Council is the government council for Los Angeles (CA).
Nancy Sutley was the deputy mayor for Los Angeles (CA), the deputy secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency, a special assistant to the administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the chair for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Daniel R. Tishmanis a director at the AECOM Technology Corporation, and the chairman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Natural Resources Defense Council is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.
Barbra Streisand Foundation was a funder for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Open Society Foundations was a funder for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
George Soros is the founder & chairman for the Open Society Foundations, Jonathan Soros’s father, and was the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society.
Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the New America Foundation, and the Climate Reality Project.
Jonathan Soros is a director at the New America Foundation, and George Soros’s son.
Terry Tamminen was a senior fellow & climate policy director for the New America Foundation, a special assistant for energy and environmental technologies, cabinet secretary for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special assistant for energy and environmental technologies, cabinet secretary was Terry Tamminen, was the California state government governor, Margaret Fortune was his senior adviser, education adviser, and Garrett Ashley was his deputy chief of staff for operations.
Margaret Fortunewas Arnold Schwarzenegger’s senior adviser, education adviser, and is a trustee at the California State University.
Garrett Ashleywas Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deputy chief of staff for operations, Pete Wilson’s deputy director of advance, and is the vice chancellor for the California State University.
Pete Wilson’s deputy director of advance was Garrett Ashley, and was the California state government governor.
James Gustave Speth is an honorary trustee at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a director at the Climate Reality Project.
Climate Reality Project is a merged organization with the Alliance for Climate Protection, and The Climate Project.
Albert A. Gore Jr.is the chairman for the Climate Reality Project, a friend of Orin S. Kramer, was a donor for The Climate Project, and Nancy E. McFadden was his deputy chief of staff.
Orin S. Kramer is a director at the Climate Reality Project, a friend of Albert A. Gore Jr., and was an administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Lee M. Thomas was a director at the Climate Reality Project, and an administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Nancy Sutley was a special assistant to the administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the deputy mayor for Los Angeles (CA), the deputy secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the chair for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
James L. Connaughton was the chairman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and a partner at Sidley Austin LLP.
Sidley Austin LLP was the lobby firm for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Michelle Obamawas a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP.
Barack Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin LLP.
R. Eden Martin is counsel at Sidley Austin LLP, and the president of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Newton N. Minow is a senior counsel at Sidley Austin LLP, and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Commercial Club of Chicago, Members Directory A-Z (Past Research)
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Kathleen L. Brownis a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, Pat Brown’sdaughter, Jerry Brown’s sister, and was the California state governmenttreasurer.
Pat Brown was Kathleen L. Brown& Jerry Brown’s father, and the California state government governor.
Jerry Brownis Kathleen L. Brown’s brother, Pat Brown’s son, the California state government governor, and Nancy E. McFadden is his executive secretary for legislation.
Nancy E. McFaddenis Jerry Brown’s executive secretary for legislation, was Gray Davis’s deputy chief of staff & senior adviser, senior adviser, a director at the Apollo Alliance, and Albert A. Gore Jr’s deputy chief of staff.
Gray Davis’s deputy chief of staff & senior adviser, senior adviser was Nancy E. McFadden, Debra S. Farar was his senior adviser on education policy, and the California state government governor.
Debra S. Fararwas Gray Davis’s senior adviser on education policy, and is a trustee at the California State University.
Robert Redfordwas a director at the Apollo Alliance, and is a trustee at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Natural Resources Defense Council is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.
Barbra Streisand Foundation was a funder for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Daniel R. Tishmanis the chairman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a director at the AECOM Technology Corporation.
Linda M. Griego is a director at the AECOM Technology Corporation, and was a Los Angeles (CA) deputy mayor.
Los Angeles (CA) City Council is the government council for Los Angeles (CA).

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