Philadelphia to introduce plastic bag legislation this fall by jon mcgoran
ach year, Philadelphians use an astounding 1 billion plastic bags. Most are used just once, and many end up as litter. This fall, City Councilman Mark Squilla will introduce legislation to reduce that number by requiring a $.05 fee for all single-use bags (plastic and paper). Similar efforts failed in 2007 and 2009 due to opposition from retailers and the plastic bag industry, but hopes are high it will pass this time. Authored by Clean Air Council (CAC) staff attorney Logan Welde, with support from Saleem Chapman, also of CAC, and Julie Hancher of Green Philly Blog, the bill seeks to reduce usage by 80
percent. Twenty percent of fees collected would offset retailers’ administrative costs, with the rest going to schools or cleanup efforts. Welde hopes the bill will remedy “the obscene over-use of plastic bags in Philadelphia and mitigate the tremendous litter problem.” According to Hancher, consumers already pay for bags in their grocery bills and taxpayers foot the cleanup bill. “Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to clean up plastic bags,” she says, “why not fund our depleted school system?” Find out more and sign the petition at ditchthebag.org
RIBBON CUTTING Reusable cotton gift bags keep waste to a minimum by maggie heath For Haverford entrepreneur Isabelle Vesey, the holidays are a time to get creative. “I always really liked wrapping presents,” says Vesey, “but all that paper is just going to end up in a trash bag.” Looking for an environmentally friendly solution, Vesey bought some festive fabric and got to work on her sewing machine. After making her bags for family and friends, she started selling them online in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns. VZWraps was born. “People really seemed to respond to them,” she says. Cutting waste is a big priority for Vesey’s Green America Bronze-certified-business. She cuts her organic cotton in carefully measured swatches to ensure that no scrap of material goes unused. The ribbons are mostly made from recycled plastic bottles. Her satin is made from post-consumer recycled polyester. “I haven’t had to buy wrapping paper for years,” says Vesey. “I still have the [bags] I made a few years ago.” Bags can be purchased at vzwraps.com.
FORWARDING Maxback.com is an electronics buy-back company that pays cash for gently used cell phones and electronics, which are then remarketed, remanufactured or recycled by parent company Environmental Reclamation Services, LLC, a zero-landfill, R2-certified reverselogistics company located in Erie. Visit maxback.com to see what your old electronics are worth.
GR ID P H IL LY.CO M DEC EM BE R 2013
P HOTOS BY M ARK L IKOS KY