In 1989, I started bringing my own reusable cloth bags to the store. That’s when I decided to start my company and ECOBAGS Brand. Most people thought I was really weird, schlepping bags to the store and bringing everything home (including produce) without plastic. “Some” people, however, thought it was a good idea. Those people would talk to me at the grocery store and on the street (in NYC).
This was all before the green, eco-wave hit – “going green,” “sustainability” and “socially responsible” businesses weren’t the rage yet. There were no “Green Drinks” to join or BCorporation or Green America Certifications. There was no internet! There was just me with an idea that single-use plastic bags were (are) wasteful.
I took my idea on the road, going store to store in NYC talking to retailers. I quickly figured out that my idea belonged in the Natural Products Industry (Health Food Store owners) because that’s where new ideas become culture – think organics, local and healthy eating since 1989. Whole Foods Market wasn’t even around in 1989!
Now, it’s a different. I knew it would happen but didn’t know how fast. There are plastic bag bans taking hold across the country – San Francisco, Seattle, LA County…west coast and towns dotting the USA all the way east to Southhampton and Rye New York and Westport, CT. There’s talk, from Surfrider NY Chapter, that a movement has begun to ban or tax plastic bags in NYC and that’s HUGE. They’re starting with libraries in Queens.
ECOBAGS Brand was part of the first Plastic Bag Ban in Ireland, as well as the one in the Modbury UK in 2007. Ireland has reduced plastic bag waste by 90%. Worldwide bans are happening across the globe.
In the movie, “Bag It” I say “there is no away..where is away” which is where this journey started…by taking a simple, new, action and bringing my own bags. Now, I’m not weird.
If can project a future it would look like this – A collective “no” to wastefulness and a “yes” to reusable, durable or bio-compostable (not oxo-biodegradables) goods.
It costs too much to be wasteful.