Richmond-upon-Thames is Going Plastic-Free

Kew goes plastic-bag-freeRichmond traders and residents are campaigning to end the use of plastic bags for shopping in the borough.

You Can Help

• Get a reusable shopping bag - you can buy one of the Greener Kew ones from a local trader if you need one
• Express your support for the campaign to local traders
• Encourage traders who haven't pledged yet to take part

You can share your comments and ideas here on this blog - Keep it clean if not Green!

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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Sustainable Communities Act

An interesting Act that could affect Greener Kew:

Here is some background to it,

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Logo agreed

The meeting on Saturday was useful and a logo design was agreed upon for the campaign, which will go on the cotton bags that are intended for retailers to seel. They are also potentially going to be distributed to residents, depending on the council's decision on funding which is due in the next few days.

The logo could also be used to make window stickers, reminder notes for people to put on the fridge or front door, and whatever else we come up with.

The design is by local Sarah Dixon of Spider Creative.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Recyclable, Recycled, Degradable, Biodegradable, Compostable

As the green idea is gathering momentum, plenty of companies try to look "green" without really changing a thing. Where plastic carrier bags are concerned, you can find all sorts of claims on them to lure you into thinking that your supermarket is doing something - it's most likely to be very little if anything at all.

Some bags read RECYCLABLE. Hah! Nearly everything is recyclable, but it needs to be collected, it needs to be clean, it needs to be sorted and so on. Plastic bags are, of course, theoretically recyclable but unfortunately 99% of them are not being recycled. So much for that.

Then, some bags contain RECYCLED plastic, varying from "contains a proportion of recycled material", to 20% or 33%, perhaps more. That is a step in the right direction, but the problems of plastic bags littering our environment and clogging our landfill sites remain.

Some plastic bags (the co-op uses them now, except, of course the co-op in plastic-bag-free Modbury), are DEGRADABLE. These are still petroleum based, see below, but will degrade in about three years or so. That's certainly better than floating about for 500 years! Again, a step, but not enough.

I think that if we have to use disposable bags at all, they ought to be BIODEGRADABLE / COMPOSTABLE. This means that they decompose into natural matter in a matter of months, some might need longer on a domestic compost heap. Corn starch bags fit the bill as well as unbleached paper bags.

There is lots more bag info to be found on the Modbury website.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Campaign featured on BBC London!

Our campaign has featured on BBC London radio!

We were interviewed during the Breakfast Show on Thursday 17th April. The show is now offline. Keep watching this blpg to stay up to date with press coverage.

Meeting for Kew Traders Saturday 19th 9am

There will be a meeting in Kew for traders, to find out how they can stop using plastic bags.

The meeting is to be held on Saturday 19th at 9am. If you can't make it, please let us know by sending a comment on this post. We can then get in touch with you and keep you informed.

Lots of traders are concnerned that they need plastic bags for their customers. The idea of the meeting is to suggest the alternatives and give information eg pricing, availability etc.

The main alternatives proposed are to use cornstarch instead of plastic, and paper bags.

Another BBC link on plastic bags: Newsnight

Newsnight last night had a piece by the head of Sainsbury's about reducing use of plastic bags.

When the chap came onto the show, he was quizzed by Paxo about food waste but didn't want to accept any responsibility for that one.

Maybe that's something for Kew to get its teeth into in the next round!

Monday, 14 April 2008

Adding to the Debate...or Complicating matters?

I found this on a news item:

"As though the paper-or-plastic question weren't vexing enough, now some retailers are finding that the "biodegradable" plastic bags they'd hoped would please green shoppers might not be so Earth-friendly after all.

"Lunds and Byerly's recently replaced its plastic bags with a biodegradable bag made of low-density polyethylene that purportedly breaks down when exposed to sunlight, oxygen, soil, moisture and microbes.

"But biodegradable bags are still petroleum-based, and while they do break down into smaller particles, chemicals eventually show up in the food chain and our bodies, according to Susan Hubbard, CEO of Eureka Recycling in Minneapolis. And it's unclear whether biodegradable bags can be recycled."

Read the full story

I think they are talking about 'degradable' bags but this isn't the cornstarch ones.

It seems to me that the most eco-friendly option of all would be to get a basket your grandmother made from old clothes or a willow tree and use it every time you go shopping.

Disposable stuff, even if it is compostable, is much more energy-demanding and rubbish-generating than things that can be used over and over again for years.

Of course most people would probably say that some things have to be disposable, but is that really true? Its all about how much work we are prepared to put in to compensate for the disposability of stuff. Its a real tedious thing to have to wash out and carry reusable pots to carry fresh fish home. Where does the line lie? Will it move as resources become scarcer?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Greener Kew on Google maps

You can view a Google map of all the shops and outlets participating in this campaign, on the marvellous Google, here.

The map will be continually updated by participants so you can get the latest on which shops have joined in and stopped giving plastic bags to customers.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Local press - Rich & Twick Times

The local paper has featured the campaign already: Read the article online here

and let us know your comments!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

A greener kew starts without plastic bags

Kew traders have got together with the Kew Society to start the process of banning the plastic from all Kew shops and stores.

The launch date - when Kew goes plastic-bag-free - is July 1st.

Even the Kew Tesco is involved.

So make sure you yourself a sturdy cotton, jute or even and old plastic bag - just don't expect to be given one if you go shopping in Kew after July 1st.