Though I hadn’t planned it out this way, this turns out to be the week for non-solar related Good (aka “sick”) News.  On Monday, the  Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to ban most stores from handing out single-use plastic bags. Less stringent bag bans are already in effect in San Francisco, Fairfax, Malibu and Palo Alto. The LA bag ban is expected to cut in half the number of single-use bags families throw away each  year, from 1600 down to 800, and will save LA $4 million in litter removal costs.

Public concern about the environmental impact of disposable plastic items is at an all-time high, thanks to media coverage of the horrific Pacific Garbage Patch (an all-you-can-eat-before-you-die toxic buffet for wildlife) and to popular bloggers like Beth Terry (fakeplasticfish.com) who chronicles her tireless mission to rid her life of plastic. Beth was a keynote speaker at a Tedx event last week that focused on the Pacific Garbage Patch.

LA’s move follows on the heels of the California Senate’s failure to pass a plastic bag ban approved by the Assembly.  Campaigns are underway to pass local bag bans in many cities around the world–find your city on this interactive map.  A global campaign launches today with a fresh new tool…a sure-to-go-viral rap music video called “Plastic State of Mind” about how plastic bags are “a convenience that will kill you.”

Every year, shoppers throw away 500 billion little bags of horror:  They’re made of oil and toxic chemicals.  They don’t biodegrade. They kill 100,000 wild animals a year. They don’t get recycled (don’t believe the hype–most get landfilled or incinerated in China or India).  And we don’t need ’em…BYOB to the grocery store next time, and hook up with or start your own local ban-the-bag campaign.

–Erica Etelson

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.