Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ireland's Plastic Bag Tax, Etc.

I got the idea to create a list of things I love and hate from the blog Do You Realize...

Love It: That a plastic bag tax in Ireland has curbed plastic bag use by 94%, according to a recent New York Times article. This just goes to show that with a little persuasion people can be convinced to change their ways and kick bad habits. Unfortunately, it sounds like it's difficult to get plastic bag taxes passed because of "heated opposition from manufacturers as well as from merchants, who have said a tax would be bad for business." Now, I understand the manufacturers point of view, but the merchants are just wrong. People will buy stuff regardless of whether they have to bring their own bags. They just have to adjust the way they do things a little bit.

Hate It: That there is a swirling vortex of plastic trash known as the North Pacific Gyre circulating in the Pacific Ocean. Researchers have found that plastic debris in samples from the vortex exceeded that of zooplankton by six times, and that birds and marine life often mistake plastic for food and consume it, thereby introducing plastic into the food chain. Gross! Check out a blog by the researchers studying the Gyre.

Love It: That Whole Foods is ending plastic bag distribution. I think Whole Foods is making a bold move by doing this, and I truly commend the organization for sticking its head out and taking this step. Check out the letter that I wrote to Whole Foods in support.

Hate It: That it is almost impossible to avoid plastic at the grocery store. It's even hidden in places where you least expect it. Fake Plastic Fish did a great and informative post about this a while back.

I've found that to avoid plastic, you've gotta load up on fresh fruits and veggies, buy from bulk bins, bring your own grocery and produce bags, and have meat and cheese either wrapped in paper or put into containers brought from home. You can also buy milk in reusable glass bottles, although since I can't get organic milk in glass, I' ve been buying Organic Valley in a paper carton with a plastic liner.

  • What environment-related things do you love? Hate?
  • What do you think of the idea of taxing plastic bags?
  • What are you doing to avoid plastic these days?
Image courtesy of and Shawnimals.


Anonymous said...

Love your blog! I am also on a waste-reduction quest of my own. I design stylish reusable grocery bags that will hopefully make more people steer clear of plastic bags at the checkout. Check out my website at and on the site there's a link to my blog where I discuss waste reduction issues, too.

N. & J. said...

What environment-related things do you love? Hate?
Love- that people are becoming much more aware of environmental issues and are trying to make a difference. That there is a community of like-minded individuals online to provide inspiration and support. And I love all the resources available to learn how to go green or build green.

Hate- that "green is the new black" Being eco minded is becoming so trendy these days that its hard to find truly eco friendly products because lots of products say "green" or "natural" but still have lots of unnatural chemicals. One example is chlorox's green line that while better than other chlorox products they aren't as good as other product lines like seventh generation. Or that people in their desire to "go green" are throwing out cleaning products, clothes, furniture etc in order to buy organic or green versions. While I admire the desire to support these products I don't think the solution is to fill up the landfill so you can redecorate and show off your green apartment to your friends.

What do you think of the idea of taxing plastic bags?
I would rather just see them gotten rid of entirely.

What are you doing to avoid plastic these days? 'We have our own shopping bags, we are saving glass jars to reuse, we bring our own containers to purchase from bulk bins and we bought organic cotton produce bags online.

Low Impact Home said...

What environment-related things do you love/hate?

Love - that there are becoming more and more people like us out there looking out for the environment. I really love that we are actually doing something about it and not just talking about it.

Hate - I hate that I can't buy my favorite Girl Scout cookies because they are wrapped in a double layer of plastic. Today was pass out the Girl Scout Cookies day and I didn't get any. :( It makes me sad that a group of people that promote awareness of the worl around them doesn't do something about their packaging.

Shannon Hodgins said...

Love- That many of us are trying.
Hate- That many of us aren't.

Love- The blogosphere where I feel like I get really inspired.
Hate- That I'm finding more inspiration on the blogsophere then in my neighborhood.

Love- That I saw a guy biking the other day with a little trailer. His bumper sticker said "One Less Car."
Hate- That I can't do that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Whole Foods is ending distribution of free plastic **carrier** bags at the checkouts, but they will still be handing out billions of plastic bags in the produce section, at the meat and fish counters, over in the bakery, ... Oh, and don't forget the plastic containers for take-away salads. They'll still be there on April 23, too. Whole Foods is making a splash, but the ocean will still be full of their plastic!

Erika said...

I'm not sure about the farms near you, but I get milk from a farm that is not organic, and the milk comes in returnable glass jars with a little plastic lid. I checked out their website and found that the only reason they are not organic is that they prefer to have the option to use antibiotics on their cows if they have an infection. They keep these cows out of the milk supply for quite some time after the antibiotics are out of their system too. So... if you have a chance, check out local farms and see if their reasons for not being organic are okay with you. :-) And in case you were wondering... all their cows are pastured, and the milk is DELICIOUS!