Tag Archives: beach plastic

Hawai’i becomes first state to ban plastic bags (by 2015)

I was hoping the statewide throwaway bag bill would pass the state legislature because, even though it was not a ban, it would have reduced the number of both plastic and paper bags clogging our waters and parks and provided funds (from hefty user fees collected) to improve the watershed. But at least the Honolulu City Council passed a bill that will first charge fees and by 2015 ban plastic bags in the City and County of Honolulu, which means that Oahu finally joins the Neighbor Islands (Maui, Molokai, Kaua‘i, and the Big Island), in stopping the distribution of single-use plastic bags by retailers–therefore becoming in effect the first state to “ban the bag.” The news site msnbc.com used that very headline: “Hawaii First State to Ban Plastic Bags at Checkout.” For details on this “first”–such as the fact that Hawai’i County’s ban goes into effect in January 2014–and a complete list of what bags are exempt from the ban, read this green-buzz.net post.

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Two Short Videos about Plastic Pollution & Help for It

Check out these short videos. The first is a 4-minute mock-documentary about the life cycle of a plastic bag. It was made by a group working to stop the significant contribution to marine pollution made by disposable plastic bags, ubiquitous in our throwaway society. They are not only an eyesore; they harm turtles and other marine animals, which can become entangled in them or eat them, along with other forms of plastic.

Laws taxing or outright banning single-use bags by grocery stores and other retailers (“Ban the Bag” laws) are coming to a town or county– or even a state–near you. Help legislators in your area stand up to the plastics manufacturers who benefit from the wasteful practice of sending customers home with their purchases in multiple bags that go into the trash (very few get recycled) after one brief period of use. Remember, the trip home is short, but plastic is forever. It’s easy to convert to reusable bags–keep lightweight cloth or mesh ones in your handbag or backpack and canvas ones in your car. Remember the rule: recycle, reuse, or better yet, refuse plastic bags, and thus reduce the plastic in the marine  environment. For a quick overview of the problems and solutions go to this Australian science-news feature titled No bag, thanks.

The second video, One Plastic Beach, tells the story of a couple, Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang, who regularly visit a northern California beach near their home and take plastic debris to turn into art, thus publicizing the amazing number and varieties of plastic that turn up regularly; see the hanging canvas with glued-on plastic in families in the exhibit called Rising Tide, and check out the post on plastic combs and toothbrushes on their blog. The Langs’ works have been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Berkeley Art Center, among other places.