Martinez Earth Day Group Urges Use of Reusable Bags

Six Martinez residents gathered at the downtown Safeway on Earth Day to urge shoppers to use reusable grocery bags.

It wasn't exactly Woodstock, but the six dedicated women who gathered in front of the downtown Safeway on Earth Day (Monday) were serious, and dedicated to the notion that they could change the world "one bag at a time."

The women, all environmental advocates, want shoppers to break the habit of going to the grocery story empty-handed. Instead, they want them to bring along the reusable bags that are growing in popularity.

"We've got to put an end to this over-use of plastic bags," said RC Ferris, one of the organizers of the event. "It's hurting the animals, and it's not doing the humans any favors either."

Proponents of plastic bags argue that conveying meat and other food items in a reusable bag can create potentially harmful risks, thanks to the contamination of the bags. But environmentalists retort that bags can and should be routinely laundered. 

The plastic and paper bag industries are not without political clout, but a new bill is now before the state legislature to ban the use of plastic bags throughout California stores. Several cities currently have bans on the bags. Martinez has not yet brought up the subject at the city council level.

But one of Monday's participants in the Earth Day event was Martinez Chamber of Commerce president Marie Knudson, who urged shoppers to avoid plastic bags in favor of reusable ones. That could signal a change in the local retail climate on the issue.

So yes, the Earth Day group was small. But they were determined, and as they approached the front door of Safeway, preparing to ask shoppers to change their plastic bag habit, they seemed downright formidable.

Patrick J. McNamara April 23, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Whenever a product or service is overwhelmingly popular with a vast majority of the citizenry--much to the chagrin of crusaders against that product or service--it always seems to be explained in terms of the industry's "political clout." But where did that "clout" come from? Where did the political clout of the buggy whip industry disappear to? I'm all for these nice ladies making their pitch for reusable bags. It's a reminder that we can choose other options. When these nice ladies disappear, replaced by edicts from Sacramento, we are all a little less free. Paper please. It economically supports reforestation to acreage above and beyond what existed when Lewis and Clark came west. That is an effort worth supporting also.
FactoryDIrectPromos April 23, 2013 at 02:42 PM
We applaud all efforts to protect the environment and communities worldwide through the use of reusable bags. When single use plastic bag bans and fees are approved, those locations join the ranks of municipalities throughout the world whose stories are highlighted on our interactive worldwide bag ban map http://www.factorydirectpromos.com/plastic-bag-bans. Shane Shirley-Smith FactoryDirectPromos.com CMO
Jim Caroompas April 23, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Patrick, I think there are plenty of recent examples of corporate lobbying going on in legislative hallways that counteract what a (often significant) majority of people would support. That being said, I did not frame this story in the manner you suggest. I merely pointed out that the plastic bag industry "is not without political clout." That does not, in my mind, imply the reason for the bags' popularity or continued use. But there is a legislative movement afoot to ban these bags, and it seems feasible that such a ban could be put into place, which I also noted in the story, so in terms of clout, seems there is plenty to go around.
Kevin T. April 25, 2013 at 03:55 AM
Liberal Kooks
Chris J Kapsalis April 25, 2013 at 05:00 AM
KNowing three of them very well, though I do not agree completely with bannign bags, well, one just won woman of the year in Martinez last year who i cannot say enough about, the other two I know are awesome hard working women and you could not find better people, on earth. Kooks? Hardly. Awesome people? Yep.


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