Bag It Duluth

Lynn Friedman/Flickr

Sad, but true.

For decades, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to educate us about the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

And yet, in spite of it all, what does it take to change our behaviour.

A nickel.

 "What researchers found when they examined the data was that consumers are less motivated by emotional appeals to save the environment and more by the impact on their pocketbook—even when it’s just a few cents."

Rakka/Flickr

The vote to ban single-use bags - paper AND plastic - was pushed back a couple of weeks on Monday night to allow for more discussion.

A committee-of-the-whole meeting is set for October 24 to concentrate on the proposed ordinance.

Jamie Harvie of Bag It, Duluth says the group has been working to get the ordinance passed for over two years, so a delay to answer more questions isn't a problem.

Bag it, Duluth

Jamie Harvie still doesn't know why it's taken so long for the Duluth City Council to take up a proposed ordinance to ban single-use bags (paper and plastic), straws, and styrofoam to-go containers.

Bag It, Duluth

Most cash registers are ready for it.

Most retailers know it's coming.

Over two thousand people in Duluth have signed a pledge to support it.

Even the ordinance has basically been written.

So why hasn't the Duluth City Council moved ahead with the proposed initiative to place a nominal charge on single use carryout bags, eliminate non-compostable plastic straws (and offer alternatives only on demand) and phase out Styrofoam™ to-go containers?

Serbian Animals Voice (SAV)

When the video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nose (taken by a marine biologist and posted to YouTube) went viral, the conversation about single-use plastics heated up again.

Jamie Harvie of Bag it Duluth says yes, video like that is compelling, but we need a more holistic way to think about these issues, and, in the process, re-establish the connectedness to one another that people are hungry for.

Roger Smith/Flickr

Administrators at the College of St. Scholastica are surely still shaking their heads.

The CSS Student Senate just passed a resolution asking to be charged for single-use plastic bags.

That's right.  Asking to be charged.

And what's more, in three days, they got a quarter of the student body to sign onto it.

Jamie Harvie

Without a "garbage patch" in Lake Superior (like the floating rafts of plastic debris found in our oceans),  maybe it's hard to work up concern about the plastic bags merchants tuck out stuff into when we buy something or the foam containers restaurants give us for our leftovers.

Bag it Duluth - For The Love of Place is suggesting a city-wide ban on plastic bags and foam containers, hoping to move consumers to reusable bags and compostable containers.