Thursday, March 10, 2011

Single-Use Plastic Bags

In September 2010, the Dubuque Environmental Stewardship Advisory Commission voted to recommend that Dubuque encourage retailers not to use petroleum-based plastic bags at the checkout and that the city adopt a policy of eliminating/minimizing the use of plastic bags through various incentives, with the ultimate goal of eliminating retail bags by 2014.

On September 7, 2010, the Dubuque City Council voted to approve eliminating the use of plastic bags by 2014 and directed city staff to work out a plan for achieving this.

City staff conducted research and met with grocers and retailers. Options are now being explored. During a March 6, 2011 meeting, the staff will share with local community environmental "stakeholder" organizations the research on what other communities have done and the retailers' perspective and will seek further insight for plastic bag reduction.

Public understanding and cooperation will be needed. To assist on that front:

Bag It, the movie; free showing
Mindframe Theater, 555 JFK Road (behind Kennedy Mall)
Mark your calendars and plan to attend one of two FREE showings of the movie Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? (65 min.) The film takes an in-depth look at our cultural love affair with plastics, especially plastic bags, asking such questions as: Are plastic bags really necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? (See the synopsis below.) It will be shown at Mindframe Theater, 555 JFK Rd. on two consecutive Saturdays, March 26 and April 2. Doors open at 9:30 AM with the movie rolling in at 10:00 AM.

Admission is first come, first served, and FREE through the generosity of several local co-sponsors: Mindframe Theater; Wahlert High School's SAVE Club (Students Against Violating the Earth); the Inter-Congregational Ecological Working Group; Green Dubuque; the White Pine Group of Sierra Club; Keep Dubuque County Clean & Green; and Dubuque County Conservation Society. Attendance at either of these showings qualifies as an entry in Dubuque's Sustainability Challenge Game (visit for details). Also, thanks to Green Dubuque, one rain barrel will be given away as a door prize at each showing.

Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes, disposable bags that they throw away without much thought. But where is "away"? Where do the bags and other plastics end up, and at what cost to the environment, marine life and human health? Bag It follows "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics. Jeb's journey in this documentary film starts with simple questions. What he learns quickly grows far beyond plastic bags.

Bag It focuses on plastic as it relates to our society's culture of convenience, our consumption of unnecessary, disposable products and packaging, and our throw away mentality when there really is no more "away".

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