April 3, 2008
What really happens to all those plastic bags?
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"Anything we reuse has a lower lifecycle impact," she said, adding that her polypropylene bags, which each take the resources of 11 plastic bags to create, are designed to replace more than 400 plastic bags. One Bag at a Time, to date, has sold more than 2.5 million reusable bags.
CoejlSC's Wallach also advocates reusable bags, which the organization sells, and, under the Faith2Green banner that comprises CoejlSC and the Interfaith Environmental Council, continues to promote under its "Practice Smart Shopping" public awareness campaign.
The push for reusable bags has spawned some trendy -- and not inexpensive -- designer models. Stella McCartney's organic canvas tote, for example, sells for $495 and the Hermes SilkyPop tote, which folds up into its own leather case, costs $960. The wildly popular, less costly $15 "I'm NOT a plastic bag" totes by British handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, however, which sold out within hours at all U.S. launches last summer, are still available on eBay.
Meanwhile, many stores themselves are making changes.
On April 22, Earth Day, the Whole Foods Market chain will end the use of disposable plastic bags in its stores nationwide. Instead, customers will have the option of using paper bags made from 100 percent recycled material or purchasing low-cost reusable bags.
And while Super Sal Market in Encino plans to continue offering only plastic bags, according to owner Sahib Ofengart, Pico Glatt Kosher Market in Los Angeles, which also currently provides plastic bags, is working toward offering a reusable tote.
"People are complaining to us. They are realizing that they should have a bag to carry all the time," manager Benjamin Gold said.
That's the solution that Encino resident Nancy Endman discovered when her daughter, Rabbi Becky Hoffman, gave her a nylon tote as a gift last Chanukah. She takes it with her everywhere.
"It folds up, snaps up and fits in my purse," Endman said. "I wish I had more."
For more information, visit "An Overview of Carryout Bags in Los Angeles County," A Staff Report to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, http://www.CoejlSC.org
One Bag at a Time, http://www.onebagatatime.com
Californians Against Waste, http://www.cawrecycles.org
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