Thursday, September 28, 2006

AB 2449 hijacked, call Arnold today!

Arnold has until Saturday to yeay or nay AB 2449. The bill, formerly-known-as-green, was "HIJACKED" by pro-plastic interests! I posted about this recently - the bill is now just days away from signage.

Which means you should call now, today, pronto. Phone: 916-445-2841

Don't take my word for it, read more about the implications this bill will have. The Earth Resource Foundation has been working hard to stay on top of this, and mobilize efforts to oppose the bill.

In a nutshell:

"The bill is unacceptable for 2 main reasons:
1. It inhibits the rights of local counties, cities and districts to make the best decisions for their own local area and for themselves. The amended bill now prohibits localities from imposing fees, bans, levies, and restrictions on plastic carryout bags. Local actions have often driven large, even global recycling improvements and innovations in the past, and it is critical to retain local power and flexibility so communities can control their own resource flows.

2. This bill, as written, will have very little discernable effect on the amount of plastic going onto the streets, into the oceans or into landfills. As stated above, stores already collect bags, but the vast majority (80%) is thrown away. The language of this bill is defeating environmental steps taken now and in the past to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The bill is now crafted to allow plastic bag manufacturers to continue to sell their polluting product without restraint or any form of responsibility for the environmental consequences."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Its 12:00 - do you know where your recycling is?

Trash here, recyclables here, end of story.

Wait, what REALLY happens to our urban waste once after the city carts it away? Do we recycle it here, or offshore? Who ends up using these recyclables once they're processed?

"Point of Return", a 17 minute video documentary, illustrates what happens to recyclables after they leave the curb and explores sustainable choices with regard to local, regional, and international consequences. Using Oakland, Northern California, and the Pacific Rim as a case study, Point of Return looks at economic policy and land use planning."

As this doc focuses on Oakland, I have no idea how applicable it is to our local Santa Monica recycling scene - something to look into. I'm guessing its pretty relevant.

And as the garbage gurus in the film suggest at the conclusion, recyling aside, we just gotta use less stuff, period......before the Texas-sized garbage patch in the ocean gets super-sized.

Oceans = Plastic Soup

Not sure how I missed this documentary - Alphabet Soup....documents a voyage with Captain Charles Moore to an area of the ocean so filled with plastic crap that its known as the "Eastern Garbage Patch". And in so doing, sheds some disturbing light on just how far reaching the impacts of our throwaway lifestyles are.....

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Captain Moore was my motivation to pursue the plastics crusade.

Much has been said about why plastics don't belong in the ocean - amongst other places. To reiterate:

*They attract toxic chemicals - PCBs, DDTs - at concentrations FAR greater than the seawater around them;

*Animals mistake plastic particles for food, filling their bellies with nutritionless nasties;

*Thousands upon thousands of marine creatures die from entanglement in plastic garbage/netting/etc.,


Even if you're convinced, check out the film, and do your tiny but noble part by kickin' plASStic - just don't use the stuff whenever you can avoid it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

URGENT: Ask Governor to Veto AB2449

Forgive my long gap in BYO blogging - a time consuming business keeping two blogs active....

Apologies aside, there's some fairly urgent business in the recycling policy world: YOUR HELP IS NEEDED.

A while back, the “Plastic Bag Litter and Waste Reduction Bill” (AB2449) passed the California State Assembly. The bill requires larger grocery stores in the state to provide visible and accessible recycling bins for plastic bags, makes bag manufacturers work with stores to ensure that plastic bags are properly collected, transported and recycled, and requires grocery stores to offer reusable bags for purchase to their customers.

All of which sounds great, BUT, as often happens, some disturbing language was added, which would essentially prohibit any local county, city, or township from imposing any fee, ban, levy, or restriction on plastic bags. See new language here.

The Earth Resource Foundation (ERF) has been working actively with other groups to give some teeth to the bill, and find this new turn devastating. In addition to the ban restriction part, there are other problems with the amendments, full list following.

Read on, and take action: ASK THE GOVERNOR TO VETO AB2449. It is important to let the Governor know the environmentally community and recyclers do not support AB2449, particularly its pre-emption of local government authority to impose any fee, ban, levy, or restrictions on plastic bags.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633
Or send an Email

Why recycling advocates/environmentalists/concerned citizens oppose AB2449:

1) Opening paragraph suggests there will be some type of recycled content in the plastic bags comparing it to the trash bag bill. Yet this is just about collecting bags;

2) This requires only plastic carryout bags, yet most stores collect carryout, dry cleaning, produce, newspapers, etc.

3) There is no requirement for plastic bags to be made out of recycled content;

4) There is no requirement for the store to reduce their plastic bag usage as was done in San Francisco;

5) There is no requirement to provide incentives for people who use
reusable bags or any requirement that so many consumers use reusable bags;

6) There is no money for enforcement, education, etc.;

7) The "store" requirement is for very large stores and doesn't even use the CIWMB definition for stores based on revenues, which would include more stores (we would like to include malls, 7-11, 99cent stores, etc.);

8) States that the manufacturer must develop educational materials and make available stores yet, doesn't require that stores put up the materials;

9) Doesn't include any education of clerks, managers and other staff on the harms of plastic, bag packing, or the economic/ecological benefits of using reusable bags.

Hope thats convincing enough......