Saturday, August 19, 2006

BYOB -- and save 3 cents

I've learnt BYOB doesn't mean Bring Your Own Booze, it is a new term for those of us who are into recycling. It now means: Bring Your Own Bag! BYOB is also the name of a niffy company that makes bags, some with sayings such as: F*@k Plastic. This company will be at the Splurge event in Victoria on September 16 (evening event/$25 ticket) and September 17 (day event $5 ticket at the door 10am-4pm) together with other Vancouver and Victoria small fashion designers, jewellery designers and craft people.

BYOB means cutting down on plastic bags, and although not all grocery stores offer an incentive to not use plastic, Thrifty's does give you 3 cents off your grocery bill for bringing back and using their plastic bags, or if you BYOB for each bag. This last shopping trip I used two returned plastic bags for a total of 9 cents off my groceries. Doesn't seem much. Except consider I go shopping every two weeks, 52 weeks/year divide two equals 26 times I go shopping x 9 cents = $2.34. Ok, still not much that I'm really saving here. But....I found this on BYOB's site and I may not be saving in dollars but I'm making a difference.

Plastic Facts:
Every year, an estimated 171⁄2 billion plastic bags are given away by supermarkets. This is equivalent to over 290 bags for every person in the UK. 171⁄2 billion seconds ago it was the year 1449.
Buy products that are refillable. For example, the Body Shop provides refills in its containers or takes them back for recycling. The recycled plastic is used to make items like nailbrushes and combs
Think of ways of reducing the need for packaging. Don't add extra packaging yourself - a melon, a grapefruit or a bunch of bananas already has natural packaging - does it need to go in a plastic bag as well as your shopping bag, and does that already efficiently packaged dairy product or piece of meat really need another wrapper?
We produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago!

Plastic bags start as crude oil, natural gas, or other petrochemical derivatives, which are transformed into chains of hydrogen and carbon molecules known as polymers or polymer resin. After being heated, shaped, and cooled, the plastic is ready to be flattened, sealed, punched, or printed on. North America and Western Europe account for nearly 80 percent of plastic bag use-though the bags are increasingly common in developing countries as well. Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags. (Only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.) In January 2002, the South African government required manufacturers to make plastic bags more durable and more expensive to discourage their disposal-prompting a 90-percent reduction in use. Ireland instituted a 15¢-per-bag tax in March 2002, which led to a 95-percent reduction in use. In the early 1990s, the Ladakh Women's Alliance and other citizens groups led a successful campaign to ban plastic bags in that Indian province, where the first of May is now celebrated as "Plastic Ban Day." Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom also have plans to ban or tax plastic bags. Supermarkets around the world are voluntarily encouraging shoppers to forgo plastic bags-or to bring their own bags-by offering a small per-bag refund or charging extra for plastic. Challenge: Try to go at least one week without accumulating any new plastic bags. If every shopper took just one less bag each month, this could eliminate the waste of hundreds of millions of bags each year. Compared with paper bags, producing plastic ones uses less energy and water and generates less air pollution and solid waste. Plastic bags also take up less space in a landfill. But many of these bags never make it to landfills; instead, they go airborne after they are discarded-getting caught in fences, trees, even the throats of birds, and clogging gutters, sewers, and waterways. To avoid these impacts, the best alternative is to carry and re-use your own durable cloth bags.

When 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved. Paper or Plastic? The energy and other environmental impacts embodied in a plastic grocery bag is somewhat less than in a paper grocery bag. But paper is easier to recycle, being accepted in most recycling programs. The recycling rate for plastic bags is very low. So, which is better for the environment? Neither! The fact is that the difference between paper and plastic RECYCLING is small compared with the REUSING bags.

No comments:

Post a Comment