Ecowood Blog

Discussions about Ecowood Displays and how we interact with the Green world. 

The Devil in Plastic Bags and the Industry That Makes Them

- Monday, June 13, 2011
If you have been paying attention the last few months, you have heard that the plastics industry has been going after municipalities for banning one-time-use plastic shopping bags.  If you have been following us on Twitter, I have been filing these articles in the "Cut Me A Break" file with the hashtag #plastic.  The industry has also filed suit against reusable bag companies, namely, our favorite, ChicoBag. The suit claims that ChicoBag made false statements in their marketing about the benefits of ChicoBags vs. the detriments of plastic one-time-use shopping bags.  Today's Treehugger article reported that the plastics industry may have a hard time proving their case.  Ya think?

A couple months ago, I attended the expo at the CA Green Summit.  Not long after walking through the entrance door I came to the booth sponsored by The American Chemistry Council.  They were handing out pamphlets titled, "Plastics. Too Valuable To Waste".  They offered me a bag made of recycled shopping bags that could hold my shopping bags at home. "No thanks. No need."

 I never really thought too much about these plastics bags until about tens years ago.  I was fly fishing up in the beautiful Hat Creek Valley and I saw a grocery bag submerged near the shoreline of the pond I was floating on.  I took my net and tried to scoop it up and, poof,  it disintegrated into a bazzillion pieces. The tiny pieces were the perfect size for trout to swallow and no doubt they would.  That was the day I not only swore off plastic bags (and got my ChicoBags on), but made a commitment to begin eliminating plastics from my life and from our products at Ecowood Retail Store Displays and Fixtures.  

We've done pretty well.  We started by looking at the way we package our reclaimed wood Floor Fixtures and Point of Sale modules.  Then we looked at our parts and hardware and made some improvements there.  Next we found an alternative to the plastic hangers that many of our customers were using and created B*green Bamboo Clothing Hangers. The biggest challenge has been our pallet bundling materials.  Recyclable metal banding was damaging products during handling in spite of cushions, so we still use nylon.  And an alternative to pallet wrapping system has yet to be found so we switched to the greenest stretch film we could find (Thank you Dennis!).  It's an ongoing challenge, but we are determined!

So what about you?  Do you use plastic bags or packaging in your retail stores or in your product?  If so, what would it take to get you to commit to the elimination of plastic from your business?


It was 40 years ago today....

C George - Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22, 1970   Philadelphia, Fairmont Park.  Ground Zero - Earth Day.


I was 14 years old.  I told my parents that I was going to a “science fair” that my science teacher was also attending.  That was sort of true.  It was about science, right? And my science teacher was attending.  Just not with me.


I arrived at the breakfast table in the tie dyed shirt I had crafted the night before and was promptly told to go upstairs and change into “normal clothes”.  So I did what any self-respecting teenager would do.  Went upstairs, changed my clothes and stuffed the shirt in my homemade hippy bag.  Off I went.


Arriving late, we had to park a mile away, so even though we missed The March, we walked some of the route along with other latecomers. We arrived at the park to a sea of people.  Amazing. Estimates ranged from 20 to 40 thousand.  We settled into our tiny piece of lawn and got to know our neighbors.   

People were walking through the crowd handing out bags of “food”.  I opened mine to find a slice of bread and an 1/8 cup of uncooked white rice.  There was a note that stated “if every single person on the planet shared the existing food supply, this is what we would eat each day”. 


Senator Edmund Muskie was on stage calling for “an environmental revolution”.   He was criticizing government priorities, which was spending “twenty times as much on Vietnam as we are to fight water pollution…”.  Sound familiar?


Up until this point, I had lived in a bubble that was my parent’s world.  This day, I saw the world that I wanted to be a part of - every age, every size, every color, every, everything - all coexisting in cooperation.  We were full of hope and belief that we could make a difference. 


Looking back I realize the first Earth Day had nothing to do with climate change.  It was all about the simple idea that we needed to change our attitude toward the land we lived on, the water we drank and the air we breathed - that we needed to show respect for the very basics that we depend on for our own survival and that remains our truth today.

For a little more history of Earth Day click on this, Earth Day History