Store promos, community events on tap throughout Los Angeles
Environmental group Heal the Bay will once again provide Southland shoppers incentive gifts to forgo their plastic bags in favor of reusables at their sixth annual “Day Without a Bag” scheduled for December 20.
This year’s Day Without a Bag (DWAB) could possibly be the final one held in Los Angeles, as the City Council approved moving forward with an ordinance banning plastic single-use bags on May 23, 2012. Once enacted, Los Angeles will become the largest U.S. city with a plastic bag ordinance.
Heal the Bay will focus the 2012 DWAB on preparing the public for the upcoming ban, urging Angelenos to finally kick their plastic bag habit and begin using reusables. In partnership with the City of Los Angeles, Earthwise Bags, as well as grocery retailers Vons/Pavilions, Albertsons and Ralphs, will offer prizes and incentives to customers who bring their own reusable bags to shop on December 20.
“We’re hoping that this holiday season will be the last time Angelenos will see plastic bags as they do their gift shopping,” said Meredith McCarthy, Heal the Bay’s programs director. “We want shoppers to get in the habit of using the reusable bags stashed in their closets and car trunks all year round. Bringing your own reusable bag is one of the easiest ways to have a positive impact on your own neighborhood and improve the health of our oceans.”
In California alone, municipalities spend nearly $25 million each year just to collect and dispose of plastic bag waste. Less than 5% of plastic grocery bags are recycled annually in Los Angeles, so the remainder clog precious landfill, litter public spaces and harm animal life when the bags infiltrate waterways. Paper bags, while biodegradable, still require vast amounts of fossil fuels and water to produce, distribute and collect for disposal.
Since L.A. County supervisors banned single-use plastic bags in July 2011 in unincorporated L.A. County, there has been a 95% reduction of single-use bag distribution, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Works. Currently more than 4 million California residents now live in communities that have banned plastic bags and an additional 5 million live in cities actively working on bag ban ordinances. When these ordinances pass, nearly 1 in 3 Californians will have embraced reusable bags.
To help expand the reusable bag public awareness campaign, Heal the Bay hosted a “Day Without a Bag Youth Summit” on December 1. Intended for high school and college club leaders, students were recruited to bring the campaign to their local neighborhoods, learning how to map out and target areas in their community, interact and collaborate with businesses to secure partnerships, and build on a unified message to help spread the word. Students from approximately 10 schools participated and will distribute reusable bags in their communities on December 20.
Heal the Bay has also planned grassroots activities designed to educate consumers about the benefits and ease of “going reusable” throughout various Los Angeles neighborhoods, with retailers giving away reusable bags and other items. Among the day’s promotions: • Vons/Pavilions will distribute free reusable bags at its Hollywood store locations; • Albertsons will distribute bags across all of its L.A. city stores from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; • Ralphs will offer customers triple its Reuse-a-Bag rebate (for a maximum of 10 bags per order), across all its Los Angeles County stores.
In addition, Heal the Bay has launched a Rockin’ Reusable contest in conjunction with this year’s Day Without a Bag. Take a picture of someone using a reusable bag and post it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #RockinReusables and tag @HealtheBay to enter. Winners will receive a limited edition Heal the Bay Day Without a Bag T-shirt, $100 Vons gift card, as well as other prizes. Contest ends at 5 p.m. on December 20 and winners will be announced on December 21.
Heavy-duty reusable bags are convenient, sustainable alternatives to plastic bags used daily by tens of millions around the globe. Heal the Bay recommends regularly washing cloth fabric bags and wiping out thick plastic bags; allowing bags to dry before folding and storing and using a separate bag for raw meat.
About Heal the Bay: Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean. We use science, education, community action and advocacy to pursue our mission.