Archive for February, 2009

Bag the Bag- Edward Norton

Check out this cool clip from National Geographic…

Oasis Bags supports Earth Hour!

Earth Hour 2009

Oasis Bags supports Earth Hour! Go to http://www.wwf.ca/earthhour/ to find out more about how you can participate too!  Excerpt from Earth Hour Website: Turn off your lights on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm. Millions of Canadians will turn off their lights on March 28th for Earth Hour in support of action on climate change. We hope to make Earth Hour even bigger this year but we need your help!

Four out of five Britons think supermarkets should stop giving away free plastic bags…

Following last week’s move by the Welsh Assembly aiming to introduce a ban on free plastic bags, over 70% of the general public want the Government to impose a charge on plastic bags given by retailers to encourage shoppers to switch to reusable ones instead. Some 69% believe the current promise by retailers to reduce the number of bags given away by 50% by the end of spring 2010 is not enough. 82% of people believe a 10p-15p charge on plastic bags would encourage consumers to change to reusable bags, while 92% are concerned with the impact the current plastic bags available from retailers have on our environment. Welsh Assembly Environment Minister Jane Davidson has asked officials to start work on the necessary legislation to introduce a ban on giving away free plastic bans. “When we look at other countries in the world we understand why countries from Italy to Australia are now imposing charges and even banning plastic bags,” she said. “That experience around the world has told us that the most effective way to meet our aspirations on plastic bags is with regulations.”

How Canadian Homes are Going Green

More Canadians are going green inside their homes, adding low-flow showerheads and low-volume toilets to save water in the bathroom and using programmable thermostats to help cut down on the heating bills. Statistics Canada’s latest look at the environmental state of Canadian homes also found that use of fluorescent light bulbs has sparked more interest in recent years. On the other hand, pesticide usage is up, but 12 per cent of households using pesticides are opting for organic ones. At the grocery store, 30 per cent of Canadian households use reusable bags. Here’s a closer look at what steps the average Canadian household is — or isn’t — taking to become more environmentally friendly: (Source: Households and the Environment: Statistics Canada survey) Lights * Percentage of households with at least one kind of energy-saving light: 84. * Percentage of homes with at least one compact fluorescent light bulb: 69, up from 56 in 2006. Showers * Percentage of households with low-flow shower heads: 62, up from 54 in 2006. * Province where low-flow shower heads were most popular: Ontario (65% of households). * Province where low-flow shower heads were least popular: Saskatchewan (46% of households). * Low-flow shower heads can use up to 70% less water and cut about 15% from the water heating cost. Toilets * Percentage of households with a low-volume toilet: 39, up from 34 in 2006. * Provinces where low-volume toilets were most popular: Ontario and Alberta (47% of households). * Province where low-volume toilets were least popular: Newfoundland and Labrador (28% of households). * A new low-flow toilet can use less than six litres of water, less than half the volume of an older toilet. Water * Percentage of households where no one turns off the tap for brushing their teeth: 13. * Percentage of households that drink mainly tap water: 59. * Percentage of households that drink mainly bottled water: 30. Thermostats * Percentage of households with thermostats where they were turned down when people were sleeping: 57. * Percentage of households with programmable thermostats: 42, up from 40 in 2006. * Households with programmable thermostats were more likely to turn down the temperature while people were sleeping. Grocery bags * Percentage of households always using recycled or reusable grocery bags: 30. * Provinces with highest proportion of households always using recycled or reusable bags: Ontario (35%) and Quebec (33%). * Provinces with greater proportion of households rarely or never using recycled or reusable bags: New Brunswick (43%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (46%). Furnaces * Percentage of households that changed their furnace filters at least every six months: 66. * Percentage of households that didn’t know when the filter was last changed: 6. Pesticides * Percentage of non-apartment households with a lawn or garden that used a chemical or organic pesticide: 33. * Provinces with the highest use of pesticides: Saskatchewan (48%), Manitoba (47%) and Alberta (47%). * Provinces with the lowest use of pesticides: Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia (21%). * Percentage of households using organic pesticides: 12.

Green Shopping Tips

Here are some tips we found from Montana’s News Station: A family of four can save $3,000 a year simply by buying products in the largest size they can use and by buying long lasting reusable items. Think about the effect of your purchases on the environment when you shop. Items with excess packaging and products that need to be discarded after only a few uses cost more money, use up valuable resources and create more waste. Buy Products in the Largest Size You Can Use; Avoid Excess Packaging A family of four can save $2,000 a year in the supermarket by choosing large sizes instead of individual serving sizes. Remember, ten cents of every shopping dollar is used to pay for packaging. Small sizes use more packaging for each ounce of product than larger sizes. So, if you buy large sizes, you save money, reduce waste, and help the environment. That is a really good buy. Here are a few good examples, look for others the next time you shop. * Buy cereal in a large box instead of in individual serving sizes. * Buy juice in concentrates and use reuseable containers instead of single serving packages. * Save money by buying bottled water in a large plastic jug instead of six packs of 16 ounce bottles. Reuse plastic water bottles. * Buy large packages of sugar and flour. * Avoid the small boxes of raisins and buy the same amount in the 24 ounce box. Buy Products in Containers That You Know You Will Be Able to Recycle It is important to familiarize yourself with your what types of containers and items can be recycled in your local recycling program. Once you know what you can recycle, look for products that come in the containers that you know you will be able to recycle when the products are all used up. Examples are products in commonly recycled containers made from aluminum, steel, #1 and #2 plastic, and glass. Check the Earth 911 Reuse and Recycling Services listings to see what types of containers/packaging you should look for in your community. Buy Reusable and Long Lasting Items Products that can be reused are cheaper in the long run than those you throw away and buy over and over again. Goods that are designed to last a long time are also cheaper in the long run than those that wear out quickly. A family can save $1,000 each year buy buying reusable and long lasting products. * Use rechargeable batteries in toys, flashlights, radios. You can save $200 a year by using rechargeable batteries instead of disposables in one cd player used two hours a day. * Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. You’ll save $600 per child by using a laundry diaper service instead of disposable diapers. * Use a real camera instead of disposable ones. If you take 24 pictures each month you will save $144 each year. * Many families spend over $260 each year on paper towels and napkins. Switch to cloth napkins, sponges, and cloth towels or wipes. * Use washable plates, cups, and silverware for parties and picnics instead of disposable products. * Use an electric razor or hand razor with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors. * Buy high quality/long life tires. They cost less per mile traveled and reduce the problem of disposing of used tires. * Use a washable commuter mug for your morning coffee and eliminate a Styrofoam or plastic cup every day. * Bring bags to the market, either cloth ones or your old paper and plastic ones. Many markets will credit your bill for using your own bags. When buying only a few items, don’t take a bag. * Clean and service your appliances, computers, tools, and cars so that they will enjoy even longer lives. And, before you replace them, check to see if they are repairable. Consider sharing equipment that is used infrequently such as hedge clippers, pruners, fruit pickers, or chain saws.

Friendly Reminder…

Don’t forget your reusable bags this weekend when you are heading out shopping! Remember that every action counts.. have a great weekend from all of us at Oasis Bags 🙂

Taxing Plastic Bags in NYC

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed a 5-cent fee on new plastic bags at the store register last week. While that figure was a penny lower than the 6 cents per bag proposed in November, another figure tucked on Page 34 of the 59-slide presentation [pdf] was a real eye-opener. The projected revenue for this “user fee” was $84 million — a sharp increase from the last figure floated, just $16 million. Other estimates suggested the revenue would rise to $144 million by 2011 and $124 million in 2012. How did these numbers get so high? Two things are happening, according to the mayor’s office. First, the scope of the proposed tax — which would require approval from the State Legislature in Albany — has been expanded beyond grocery stores. It would include bags given out by department stores, restaurants and other retailers. “It’s not just your local bodega,” said Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor. “It’s going to be your candy shop, your Macy’s.” In addition, he said, the revenue estimate increased because the Department of Sanitation “went back and looked at the waste stream more closely and found that there are far more plastic bags used in the city than we first thought.” Still, the estimates were surprisingly aggressive. A $144 million estimate, at 5 cents a bag, means that 2.88 billion plastic bags would be used by New Yorkers each year, even with the fee. Past estimates put that figure at one billion new plastic bags. That breaks down to one bag for every man, woman and child in New York City every single day of the year. The site Reusablebags.com estimates that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed annually around the globe. Do New Yorkers alone really consume more than 1 out every 300 plastic bags in the world? Though originally called a “fee” (which would only require City Council approval), the city’s top budget official said it would be considered a tax (which, like the $900 million increase in the city’s sales tax, would require approval from Albany). The plan seems very likely to invite debate and discourse, as foot-bound New Yorkers seem unhappy at the prospect of carrying their own bags around to avoid the charges. But if the proposal passes, New York City would be following the lead of many European municipalities, and it would become one of the first places in the United States to assess a plastic bag tax. (Since 2007, San Francisco has simply banned plastic bags at the grocery store.) Some have noted that environmental equation on reusable versus disposable bags is not so clear-cut. The more durable bags require an order of magnitude of more energy to produce. The anti-plastic campaign has drawn a sharp defense from the American Chemistry Council (every product has a constituency). The council argues that a drop in disposable plastic bags means an uptick in the purchase and use of other bags, like garbage bags, since plastic is still needed for trash and pet waste. The council has enumerated what it calls plastic bag myths. In theory, disposable plastic bags can be recycled. But few are, despite a City Council bill that required large stores and chains to do so. Advocacy groups argue that each high-quality reusable shopping bag has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime. “Part of the purpose of the fee is to deter people from using the bags,” Mr. Post said. “We’ve baked into this, that the plastic bag consumption is going to fall.” That is why the revenue estimate dips $144 million to $124 million in 2012. But will bag consumption drop just 14 percent from year to year? After all, just a few weeks after Ireland adopted a 33-cent charge on plastic bags in 2002, plastic bag use decreased by 94 percent. Plastic bag use is not simply an issue of finances, but also public shame. Of course, 33 cents per bag is a bigger disincentive. Mr. Post said the mayor’s office is comfortable with its figures. “That is our projection,” he said. “Could it be wrong? It certainly could.” [Taken from New York Times- Feb 2, 2009]
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