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Reduce Plastic Roll Bag Use
 at the Park Slope Food Coop


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This proposal aims to reduce the Coop's reliance on plastic roll bags on the shopping floor. The goal of this proposal is to encourage bag reuse, help reduce plastic waste, and raise awareness about this environmentally damaging material.

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Reduce Plastic Roll Bag Use
 at the Park Slope Food Coop

  1. 1. NEW & IMPROVED! Proposal to Reduce Plastic Roll Bag Use Proposed by the PSFC’s Environmental Committee Supported by 600+ members and growing
  2. 2. COOPERATION IN ACTION! The original "Plastic Roll Bag Phaseout" proposal has evolved based on helpful feedback and suggestions from the membership. Thank you!
  3. 3. PROPOSAL : REDUCE PLASTIC ROLL BAG USE This proposal aims to reduce the Coop's reliance on plastic roll bags on the shopping floor by: • Ending the free distribution of plastic roll bags and making them available for purchase at a minimal cost of .20¢ per bag. • Insuring the Coop stocks a selection of low-cost, lightweight, reusable roll bag alternatives. • Improving floor signage and access to reusable bags. • Encouraging members to reuse plastic bags already taken from the Coop and elsewhere. • Providing educational activities and communications to help with member transition. • Ensuring the Coop implements a method of selling plastic roll bags by April 2014.
  4. 4. PROPOSAL : REDUCE PLASTIC ROLL BAG USE The Coop's free distribution of plastic roll bags, when sustainable options and practices are available, violates our Mission Statement and Environmental Policy. The goal of this proposal is to encourage bag reuse, help reduce plastic waste, and raise awareness about this environmentally damaging material.
  5. 5. RE-USABLE ALTERNATIVES This proposal is not about replacing plastic bags with muslin bags or other types of free bag distribution (corn, paper). It’s not a ban on plastic. It’s about re-using bags! There are numerous no or low-cost options.
  6. 6. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE PLASTIC REDUCTION EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES For 30 years the Committee has: • educated members about concerns related to plastic consumption with floor signs, Gazette articles, blog posts, and public events. • encouraged members to switch to reusable bags. • asked General Coordinators to stock various and visible reusable bags options. • requested ideas and feedback from members and administration on plastic reduction.
  7. 7. PSFC ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY The Environmental Committee is charged with researching and recommending best practices in order to uphold the Coop’s Environmental Policy. Environmental policy aims to, in part: • Avoid toxic substances in a product's production process, use, and disposal. • Minimize disposable products. • Achieve environmentally sound packaging. • Avoid companies that have demonstrated extreme levels of environmental irresponsibility. These principles are violated by the Coop’s free distribution of plastic bags.
  8. 8. PSFC MISSION STATEMENT The Coop’s Mission Statement states, in part: • We seek to avoid products that depend on the exploitation of others. • We strive to reduce the impact of our lifestyles on the world we share with other species and future generations. • We try to lead by example, educating ourselves and others. • We oppose discrimination in any form. These principles are violated by the Coop’s distribution of free plastic bags.
  9. 9. COMMITTEE RESEARCH TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE: PROFITS, PEOPLE AND PLANET Our Mission Statement and Environmental Policy commit the Coop to what is known as a “triple bottom line,” or TBL. An accounting framework to evaluate the sustainability of business ventures, it integrates concern for the “3 P’s” of profits, people, and planet. The Coop is obligated to balance financial success with social and environmental sustainability. Research: 1. Disposable Financial Waste 2. Environmental Devastation 3. Health Affects 4. Social Injustice
  10. 10. COMMITTEE RESEARCH 1. DISPOSABLE + FINANCIAL WASTE Our research shows that the one of the most impactful steps toward lightening our footprint on the planet is reducing usage of disposable, “convenience” plastics. In doing so, we also reduce our monetary contributions to the oil, natural gas, and chemical corporations that produce plastic bags -- some of the biggest polluters in the world. • British Petroleum • Halliburton • Chesapeake Energy • Dow Chemical • DuPont
  11. 11. COMMITTEE RESEARCH 1. DISPOSABLE FINANCIAL WASTE + = The majority of polyethylene feedstock produced for the Coop’s plastic bags is born from NATURAL GAS. The Coop supports the anti-fracking/renewable energy movement, because FRACKING threatens our food supply. Providing convenient, free plastic bags increases the demand for fracking.
  12. 12. COMMITTEE RESEARCH 1. DISPOSABLE FINANCIAL WASTE We use 383 bags an hour and spend thousands a year on plastic food bags!* • Few members consistently pay for each plastic roll bags. • Since reusable alternatives are available, by phasing out plastic roll bags on the shopping floor, the Coop could start saving $22,800 a year and put that money towards renewables. • That’s a lot of disposable financial and plastic waste when you add it up over a lifetime of shopping. * NOT including plastic garbage and recycling bags and plastic wrap.
  14. 14. COMMITTEE RESEARCH 2. ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION Plastic is not part of the natural life cycle. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists today and will forever! • UNSUSTAINABLE: Made from nonrenewable and rapidly declining resources, like deep-water petroleum and fracked natural gas. • POORLY RECYCLED: Unlike glass and metal, plastic is NOT effectively recycled. • NEVER BIODEGRADES: Plastic doesn’t biodegrade into healthy soil for our food. Instead it leaches and bioaccumulates toxins. • OCEAN POLLUTION: Plastic polymers currently contribute up to 90% of the waste floating in the oceans.
  15. 15. COMMITTEE RESEARCH 3. HEALTH AFFECTS Despite having the image of cleanliness, plastic is actually quite dirty. • A University of Tennessee study found that nearly ALL plastic, even that which claims to be BPA-free, releases chemicals that have estrogenic activity-causing hormone disruption and contributing to the dramatic increase in chronic health problems. • Thousands of possible chemical additives could be added to plastic products, but trade secret laws protect the plastic industry and they are not required to disclose the ingredients. • It's impossible for consumers to know for sure if any plastics are safe since we don't know what chemicals have been added to them and the majority of chemicals in use have not been tested.
  16. 16. COMMITTEE RESEARCH 4. SOCIAL INJUSTICE Our plastic consumption and convenience culture affects not only our community, but also the families living near and working in industry plants. • In petrochemical centers, low-income families work in the plastic manufacturing and recycling industry. Toxic air, water and soil, and a high rate of cancer death is the norm. • According to an EPA study, of the 47 chemical plants ranked highest in carcinogenic emissions, 35 are involved in plastic recycling or production. • Our trash and recycling is trucked through and to low income communities for processing. These communities suffer from highest asthma and cancer rates in the city.
  17. 17. CONCLUSION The Committee feels that our findings are significant and urgent enough to recommend an end to the free distribution of plastic roll bags on the shopping floor. • Reusable alternatives and sustainable practices are available now and need not incur significant costs to members. • Paying for plastic bags helps us to take responsibility for the catastrophic costs of plastic manufacturing, consumption, and waste, which are not passed along to us as consumers. • States and countries are phasing out the free distribution of disposable plastic in schools, markets, and stores. • Other food coops around the world look to the Park Slope Food Coop as a role model. Our actions in this matter will not only positively affect our local community, but could have far reaching impacts, as well.
  19. 19. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING! Answers to common questions about this proposal can be found on our blog, Interested in Joining the Committee? • Contact: Find us on Twitter and Facebook • • Learn to be Plastic-Free • Visit: