Salad Days for Going Green or do as San Francisco Does?
I trawl around looking for neat tidbits about green living and sometimes they come from the most interesting places. I do love food, and I'm a regular reader of Michael Bauer's Blog in the San Francisco Chronicle website. Today he has a really good blog post about a tidbit from Nielsen Research's Phil Lempert, called Why San Francisco's ban on plastic grocery bags is important? where he discusses the impact that San Francisco's plastic bag ban will have. There are two really interesting facts that come from Lempert's post:
In San Francisco alone, last year there were about 180 million plastic shopping bags distributed -- which, according to the San Francisco Department of the Environment and Worldwatch Institute took roughly 774,000 gallons of oil to produce.
that's a mind boggling statistic. Think about it, if the S.F. population is 744,000 (U.S. Censue estimates) and it's not a particular large city, think of places like New York and Los Angeles. Let me put into some other terms, the cost of the raw oil for those plastic bags is 1.7 Million dollars at $94 a barrel of oil. Anotherinteresting tidbit about what Britain's Tesco is doing with reusable bags:
While the opposition to the ban cite higher prices for consumers, that tact just isn't going to work this time. I know of no shopper who actually finds the typical plastic bag useful or comfortable. We have lived with them when we have no choice. But choices are abundant. Reusable canvas totes, compostable bags made from corn starch, paper bags made from recycled paper are all better options. Tesco's new Fresh & Easy stores actually offer shoppers canvas tote bags "for life" after the initial purchase price of $1 -- they will replace it for free if it breaks.
Now Tesco is often compared with the same disdain that many on this side of the pond hold for Wal-Mart, but it is interesting to see the leadership position they are taking. We see the same with stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The other day I saw Safeway with a bag of their own highlighting their "Organics" label.
I find it difficult now to not grocery shop without my O'Reilly and Associates Mac OS X conference bag, yes it tags me as a geek, but then you can't fight your inner nature. :) People internalize the habit of having their bag, and bags are available when needed. I only wish my newspaper would stop using the plastic bags.
I hope Lempert is right that this is the start of a trend....
Labels: plastic bags oil san francisco