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?


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