Extra Plastic Bags?

This Coop next to a highly littered bus stop in our neighborhood let me attach my really cool Bag Bottle to their fence in hopes of creating waste awareness while people wait for the bus.

The Bag Bottle is made of plastic soda bottles and stuffed with plastic bags. Dog owners, litter haters, or people who may just need a plastic bag are welcome to give a tug!

I easily collect a bag full of plastic litter everyday on my way to work.  I will be bringing my own so there will be plenty to inspire others.  Our Waste Matters will be starting a block sponsorship for those of us who want to keep plastic out of our environment.

In NYC, we failed to pass Ban the Bag legislation because people with less means would be disproportionately affected.  If their neighbors provided extra bags for them to use at anytime, maybe we could be Bag Free?!

How is your state doing?   http://www.bagtheban.com/in-your-state

Until next time,

Garbage Girl


NY’s Bottle Bill Joins The OWM Hall of Shame

A cheap drink made in Brooklyn that is polluting Brooklyn

How does New York’s Bottle Bill work?

New York State’s Returnable Container Act requires every deposit initiator to collect a $.05 deposit on beverage containers containing less than one gallon of carbonated soft drinks, beer, malt beverages, wine coolers or water, sold in New York.

A deposit initiator is the first bottler, distributor, dealer or agent to collect the deposit on a beverage container sold in New York State. You’re a deposit initiator if you:

  • Bottle beverages in beverage containers
  • Distribute beverages in beverage containers
  • Sell beverages in beverage containers
  • Act as an agent on behalf of a registered deposit initiator

Dealers (“retailers”) pay the distributor or deposit initiator at least a 5-cent deposit for each beverage container purchased.

Consumers pay the dealers the deposit for each beverage container purchased. (we pay $.05 to Pepsico and Arizona Teas to litter our environment with every purchase)

Consumers may then return their empty beverage containers to a dealer or redemption center to get their deposit back.

Retailers and redemption centers are reimbursed the deposit plus a 3.5-cent handling fee by the distributor or the deposit initiator for each empty beverage container returned.


What beverages are covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

Carbonated Soft Drinks, Sparkling Water, Carbonated Energy Drinks, Carbonated Juice (anything less than 100% juice, containing added sugar or water)
Soda Water
Beer and Other Malt Beverages
Mineral Water – Both carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water
Wine Products
Water that is flavored or nutritionally enhanced

What beverages are not covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

Milk Products
Wine and Liquors
Hard Ciders
Tea  hello@drinkarizona.com
Sports Drinks  there is no contact info for Gatorade
Drink Boxes
Waters Containing Sugar

Let’s look at what is littered on our streets from Gatorade and Arizona Teas.  Both companies do not have deposit agreements with NY. I encounter this litter everyday on my 15 minute walk to work from Clinton Hill to Downtown Brooklyn on Dekalb Ave.


Take a moment to learn which companies have deposits for your state. It makes a difference.

The consumer deposit tax is not the best system to protect our environment but that is a topic for another blog.

Natural Ways To Consume Electrolytes

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Ew! Sewer Waste

This video is so grossly visual with information that it warants repeating, especially since no one commented on it last week!   Ew!!

How does this happen?  Can it be cleaned up?  There are many companies who plunge in dressed head to toe in hazmat suits and pump the shit out of backed up basements through tubes into holding tanks but what about rivers, lakes, canals and oceans?

There’s Sponge worthiness!  Sponge Parks!  Artificial wetlands that act like pollution absorbing sponges made of vegetation and special soil to retain water and prevent overflows.   A $1.5 million full greenway park alongside the infamous 1.8-mile Gowanus Canal was a go in 2008.


But the innovative project stalled due to a lack of money and the ongoing debate about who and how to clean up the complex mess.  Then it became a Superfund Site.

Since then, dlandstudio, the designers of Sponge Park, raised $2 million from the city and state to build Phase one.  Initiated by the Bloomberg administration, for completion in the summer of 2015, near Second Street, it may finally get its start.  A pilot patch of the multi-use park lining the polluted canal will be anchored by soil-filled concrete cells that retain and filter storm water.  Planted with vegetation capable of soaking up excess water naturally absorbing or breaking down toxins, heavy metals, and contaminants from sewage overflow, the project is notable.   It may not be enough, but if the plan works, it could be the next step for hundreds of U.S. cities that spew their poo every time it rains.

dlandstudio is hopeful that their Sponge Park will reduce contamination in the Gowanus Canal and “provide an evolved urban habitat supporting and promoting estuarine ecology.”  They acknowledge that this plan will account for only a small portion of the total CSO (combined sewer overflow) problem. The plan, if all aspects are implemented, would apply to just 316 acres of the canal’s total 1,758-acre watershed, at a cost of $42 million.


In the meantime, there is a way to learn about sewer overflow entering all of our waterways.  The “Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act” was passed thanks to the efforts of  Riverkeeper.  The law requires local governments to report discharges of untreated or partly treated sewage to their health departments and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation within two hours. The notification must be made public on government Web sites within four hours of the discharge.  http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/90315.html
The Act also helps identify aging pipes, sewage plants and other infrastructure needing repair or replacement.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitary_sewer_overflow

How You Can Help:

Until next week,


Garbage Girl

10 cents to less waste

For seven years, a bag tax has been blowing around City Hall.

On Monday, a group of City Council members, environmental groups and fifth graders from Brooklyn New School and P.S. 34 rallied in front of City Hall to urge passage of the tax by April 22nd, Earth Day.

The law would require retail and grocery stores to charge 10 cents for every plastic and paper bag used, or face fines of $250 for the first violation, and $500 for subsequent offenses. If the bill passes, enforcement would begin in January of 2016.

“We want to help everyone in the city make an easy shift to reusable bags.” Margaret Chin said on the steps of City Hall.  She is joined by fellow council members Brad Lander, Donovan Richards, and Public Advocate Letitia James, who all support speedy passage of the bill.

Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, chairman of the Sanitation Committee, said that plastic bags are “an absolute nightmare” for the sanitation system.  Maite Quinn, a representative from Sim’s Recycling, the company which New York City contracts for curbside recycling echoed the point: “We have literally millions of dollars of equipment for the sole purpose of getting plastic bags away from the recyclables that we want.”  She said that in addition to presenting “a range of challenges” at the facility, including clogging recycling machinery and contaminating otherwise recyclable materials, the bags present a particular hardship because there is virtually no market for them. The millions of dollars dedicated to the process of isolating and cleaning used plastic bags, makes a product called MRF film that is essentially useless. “We haven’t had one consistent customer, and that customer is usually at zero price,” she said.

Critics of the bill think the fee is a burden for low-income New Yorkers.

The bill promises to distribute reusable bags.  The ban the bag coalition has already given out thousands of reusable bags around the city, and is prepared to distribute more.  Lander said, “Any New Yorker can reach out to the coalition. We will get New Yorkers the bags they need in order to comply with this law and avoid paying the fee.”

“Plastic bags might pollute the air and we may never see the sun again,” warned one fifth grader.  The adorable kid in the photo below made a sign of bags in trees that says, This isn’t natural.


How You Can Help:

  • Plastic bags can be recycled, but not at curbside.  They can and should be brought back to retail stores. Most NYC supermarkets have bag recycling bins by the front door.
  • Let your council members know how you feel. Find them at   http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml
  • Get in the habit of using reusable bags, put them in convenient places so you have them when and where you need them.
  • Many tiny, weightless reusable bags are available. flip and tumble makes reusable produce bags in sets of 5 from Amazon.com  (Not sure what they are made of though)
  • Inspired by the name given to the one use plastic bag, the kids made their own reusable bags out of T-shirts. You can too!  http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-10-Minute-T-Shirt-Tote/
  • There are so many cool videos, especially for kids, that can be shared with your social media networks or shown at schools and organizations.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vIeyooLfSc
  • Click on and support Ban the Bag.  Their efforts have all ready kept 210 million bags out of the system in Portland and Washington DC alone! http://www.banthebagspdx.com

Until next week,

The planet will Thank You!

The planet will Thank You!

Garbage Girl





plastic-bag-flying1Look in our trees, streets, gutters, blowing down the sidewalk and through the air.  Plastic bags are the most wasteful product ever made, used for 12 minutes and lasting upto 500 years, NYers use a staggering 10 billion of them a year and pay $4.5 million dealing with them.



Rally To Stop New York City Plastic Bag Pollution!

NYC City Hall Park (Broadway, Park Row and Chambers St) 

This Monday, March 23rd, 12pm

Join 70 organizations and 100s of concerned citizens at City Hall Park to tell Mayor Bill de Blaso and The New York City Council to impose a fee on carryout bags by this Earth Day, April 22

Organized by Stiv J. Wilson, The Story of Stuff’s Campaign Director.  His rallies across the country have lead to real victories in Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA.

The U.S. lags behind 12 countries to address this ecological disaster. Only 7% of single-use plastic bags are disposed of properly.  Most are not biodegrade. Instead, they photodegrade with sunlight, breaking into smaller and smaller pieces becoming part of the food chain.

A Short History of the Plastic Bag

1933 Polyethylene is discovered by scientists at Imperial Chemical Industries, a British company.
1950 Global plastic production is less than 2 million metric tons.
1965 Sten Thulin’s 1962 invention of the T-shirt bag, (the common single-use plastic shopping bag) is patented by Swedish company Celloplast.
1976 Mobil Oil introduces the plastic bag to the U.S.   The bags are red, white, and blue for the U.S. Bicentennial.
1982 Safeway and Kroger, two of the biggest U.S. grocery chains, switch from paper to plastic bags.
1986 Plastic bags account for 80% of the market in Europe, with paper as the remaining 20%. In the United States,  paper is 80% and plastic is 20%.
June 1986 The General Federation of Women’s Clubs starts a letter writing campaign to grocers stating the negative environmental effects of plastic bags.
Late 1980s Plastic bag usage catches up to paper in U.S.
1989 Maine passes a law to only hand out plastic bags if requested, replaced in 1991 by statewide recycling.
1990 The island of Nantucket, MA bans retail plastic bags.
1994 Denmark begins taxing retailers for plastic bags.
1996 4 of every 5 grocery bags used in the US are plastic.
1997 Captain Charles Moore finds the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where plastic outweighs zooplankton 6 to 1, drawing global attention to plastics in our oceans.
2000 Mumbai, India bans plastic bags.
2002 Global plastics’ produces 200 million metric tons.
March 2002 Ireland becomes the first country to tax consumers’ use of plastic bags directly.
March 2002 Bangladesh becomes the first country to ban plastic bags. Bags were blamed for exacerbating flooding.
2006 Industry complaints and legal issues make Italy’s efforts to ban plastic bags ongoing.
April 2007 San Francisco is the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags, expanding to retailers and restaurants.
2007-2008 The American Chemistry Council spends $5.7 million lobbying in Ca. to oppose regulations on plastic bags.
June 2008 China bans plastic bags before the Beijing Olympics.
September 2008 Rwanda passes a national ban on plastic bags.
2009 Discarded plastics overtake paper as the number one discarded material in the U.S. waste stream.
July 2009 Hong Kong’s levy on plastic grocery bags takes effect and is later expanded to all retailers.
August 2009 The American Chemistry Council finances Seattle’s defeat to impose a 20ȼ fee on paper and plastic bags
December 2009 Madison, Wisconsin mandates that households recycle plastic bags rather than disposing of them.
January 2010 Washington, D.C., requires food and alcohol stores to charge 5ȼ for plastic and paper checkout bags.
2010 Bag producer, Hilex Poly, spends over $1 million to  oppose a statewide plastic bag ban in California.
2010 Plastic bags appear in the Guinness World Records as the world’s “most ubiquitous consumer item.”
October 2011 Portland, Oregon bans plastic bags at major grocery stores and certain big-box stores.
May 2012 Honolulu County approves a ban completing the state-wide ban in Hawaii.
July 2012 Seattle’s plastic bag ban takes effect nearly three years after the first tax attempt failed.
March 2013 A bag ban takes effect in Austin, TX.
September-October 2013 Ocean Conservancy Coastal Cleanup picked up more than 1 million plastic bags from the world’s waterways.
January 2014 Los Angeles is the largest U.S. city to ban plastic bags.
April 2014 The European Parliament backs new rules to cut plastic bag use 50% by 2017 and 80% percent by 2019.
April 2014 132 city and county plastic bag bans or fee ordinances cover over 20 million people in the United States.
Source: Compiled by Earth Policy Institute, www.earth-policy.org,

How You Can Help:

  • Make signs for the rally with plastic-free phrases.
  • Dress up in plastic bags.
  • Take photos of rally goers flexing their Citizen Muscles to share on your social media channels.
  • Refuse one time use plastic bags. They are not free.
  • click on and follow  http://bagitnyc.org
  • follow http://plasticbagbanreport.com for the latest information. Click on about for one person’s affect.
  • Jane Goodall’s Roots Environmental Group photo/art below!

plastic-bags-monsterShoots Environ Grp Jane Goodall

Until next week,

Garbage Girl