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How Big Is Your Collection Of Reusable Bags?

As the Zero Waste Communities'  Reusable Bag Campaign prepares to roll out across San Bernardino County after a successful pilot program, we’d like to change our main question from “do you use reusable bags?” to “how many reusable bags do you have?”

If you’ve got more than 10 - wow, good job! But don’t worry if you feel like your number is too low. We’ve all got to start somewhere, so why not at one? While disposable plastic bags are convenient and often free, that’s beginning to change in many cities with new local environmental legislation.

Now is the perfect time to start expanding that bag stash and Zero Waste Communities is ready to help you do it by launching a Reusable Bag Campaign and teaming up with local grocery stores. Residents can connect with us on Facebook or at one of our partner stores: Albertsons in Apple Valley, Hesperia, Highland and Victorville, and Clark’s Nutrition in Loma Linda.  This year, employees at our partner stores will be reminding residents to use their reusable bags. Best of all, by filling out a sign-up sheet in-store or online and “liking” us on Facebook, San Bernardino County residents can receive a free reusable bag! Whether this is your first one or your tenth, each reusable bag you use stops many of its disposable counterparts from ending up in landfills, or worse, as roaming debris.

As our partnerships prove, it’s not just the conservation groups that are supporting this shift to reusable bags; many retailers are advocating reusable bags as well. This commitment goes beyond reminding people to “Grab Your Bag.” Retailers like Clark’s Nutrition and Albertsons are embracing comprehensive, affordable and environmentally conscious choices and reminders for their customers. Albertsons in particular over the last year has significantly expanded its recycling programs throughout the country, putting their stores and offices on a path to zero waste.

These grocery store partnerships continue to be important because even those of us who carry reusable bags with us for shopping can often forget to bring them into the store - whoops! After our pilot campaign launched earlier this year, a combination of public outreach and on-site retailer engagement resulted in the percentage of reusable bags increasing from only 5% to 14.5%!  And while almost 10 percent improvement is a good number, we have a long way to go.

Sign up for a free reusable bag online or at one of our partner stores and be a part of a strong community of reusable bag users in San Bernardino County. This is a small but important step towards making disposable plastic bags the exception rather than the rule in California, the country, and the world.



4 Ways To Green Your Halloween: Reusable Bags for Trick or Treating

When it comes to that all-important Halloween question, “How should I lug around my candy-loot this year?” the Zero Waste Communities wants you to know that there is more than one answer.


Disposable plastic bags are kind of like the zombies of the bag world; an army roaming the earth long after their regular life ended, practically indestructible yet slowly decaying. Plus these monsters can be a choking threat to wildlife—or small children! And worst of all, unless you or your kid decides to dress as Oscar the Grouch or some other garbage creature, an old plastic grocery bag can really trash a great costume.
Instead, by getting into the spirit of a green Halloween you can save money, natural resources, and your street cred all at once! With little to no extra effort (or face paint) the only waste you’ll need to deal with is the pile of mini-candy wrappers. Check out these four not-so-scary ways to green your Halloween this year:

1. For buckets of fun, metal pails are like safe deposit boxes for candy, and plush versions can be personalized into fun or spooky shapes to be used year-after-year.
2. Nothing beats an old burlap sack in terms of usability and classic Halloween style. They are sturdy yet inexpensive (in bulk or as material), versatile enough to go with cute, classic or creepy costumes and carry produce just as well as processed chocolate.
3. Cloth or polyester tote bags come in a wide variety of styles that can match to the season or to a costume and then transition to fit your day-to-day shopping after the candy is gone.
4. If you forget to grab a reusable bag or metal pail, you can use something you’ve already got lying around the house—a pillowcase! They’re soft, easy to wash and adorable for a first-Halloween.

With the start of October, take a couple extra minutes (or weeks) and maybe set aside some pocket change to find a bag-trick that will make this holiday, and every day after it, a zero waste treat for everyone.

Do you have any zero waste ideas for Halloween? Share one idea with us in the comments section below!
*Photo courtesy of The Cozy Pumpkin.
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