Christine Park

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Plastic Bag Vote

A Santa Monica assemblywoman's push to ban plastic shopping bags in California failed last night in the State Senate. So, for now, plastic bags are still legal in the Golden State. (Though some cities like San Francisco, Malibu, and Palo Alto passed ordinances banning them)

You don't have to agree or disagree with the regulation to try to do your part to help the environment. Using reusable bags will help keep the tons of plastic, even paper, bags from reaching landfills. Trust me, I am ALL about convenience and ease of use. But really, what advantages do plastic/paper bags hold over reusable ones? Some retailers even pay YOU to use a reusable bag. CVS gives you $1 in Extra Bucks Rewards every fourth time you use your own bag, but you have to buy a 99-cent bag tag first. It all adds up, so check the register and if you don't see your discount, ask! If it makes no difference to you, then join me in going green. IT FEELS REALLY GOOD. My biggest obstacle was simply remembering my reusable bags. Simple solution: I keep 'em in the trunk of my car.

Consumer Reports tested eight bags sold by national chains and regional stores, including Whole Foods, Walmart, Target and Trader Joe's. Most cost $1 or less. Many of them are made from recycled material, which is cool. The above Whole Foods bag held the most, with the largest capacity. All stood up to strength testing as well as multiple hand washings. But the Walmart bag had issues with leaking. The bottom line: any of the $1 bags tested are good alternatives to the usual paper or plastic bags.

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