Recycling Ambassador Translates Reusable Bags

Reusable Bag - Photo by Molly Peterson, KPCC

April 19, 2012

When a multilingual metropolis such as Los Angeles wants to encourage its residents to forgo their plastic and paper bags in favor or reusable ones, it takes a lot of talking and translating.

A recent story by KPCC’s Molly Peterson explains how the Bureau of Sanitation’s “Recycling Ambassador” Jose Alonso and his team employ five languages to encourage Thai, Filipino, Korean, Chinese and Latino shoppers to start using reusable bags.

Alonso told Peterson that he and his team approached shoppers  and asked if they would they like a free, reusable bag. As he distributed free bags in front of the Grocery Warehouse in Echo Park, he also explained to customers the possibility that the city could ban both plastic and paper.

"We’re just starting you up with your bag, so you can start using that for your groceries," he said to customers while also handing out fliers containing an FAQ explaining the pros of going reusable and the cons of sticking with plastic or paper bags.

More than 40 cities and counties in California have outlawed single-use grocery bags. L.A.’s City Council is poised to vote on a bag ban in the coming week. You can encourage them to adopt this ban by sending a letter.

To learn more, read Heal the Bay’s plastic bag fact sheet.