Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Cool Is This?

I thought Mom was going to pack her bags and move to Colorado when I told her about this great program that the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) has going on right now. I told her that I would go with, but just to visit Emmitt and not to live there.

So what is the program? It's a reusable bag challenge! 31 mountain towns in the Western U.S. (mostly Colorado) are giving people an extra incentive to bring their reusable bags with them when they shop. Participating stores will tally the use of every reusable bag used or purchased by customers at checkout and the winning town will be determined on a per capita basis by which town uses the most reusable bags during the challenge. The prize? The winning town will win a solar panel installation on their public school. Wow! What a great prize!

The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness regarding the environmental and social costs of single use plastic bags and to promote the use of reusable bags through this friendly competition. Issues of litter and degradation of resources are the main focus of the challenge, but community activism and cost reduction are right there behind them as important issues the challenge hopes to address.

The challenge is organized by Alpine Bank and then PCL General Construction Services got involved. Alpine Bank donated $5,000.00 toward the solar panel installation and then PCL matched it. Alpine Bank regional vice president, Andrew Karow is excited about the challenge stating "As an environmental leader, Alpine Bank is pleased that PCL has joined the grassroots efforts of the CAST Reusable Bag Challenge. This is a perfect example of Alpine Bank's leadership efforts resulting in shared opportunities within our communities to extend the influence of our Green Team well beyond our physical bank footprint." Grassroots indeed! This is just the type of thinking that gets things down and gets everyone moving in the green direction. PCL is also distributing 3,000 reusable bags in the locally participating stores. PCL is focused on green building practices and they are doing all they can to give back to the communities while ensuring the challenge is a great success. Additionally, Independent Power Systems of Boulder has generously offered to provide the parts and labor for the solar panel system at cost.

The challenge anticipates saving 792,000 disposable plastic bags from distribution during its run. Some stores are even providing a refund when you use a reusable bag. The Whole Foods that Mom shops at gives a 10 cent refund and at Trader Joes you put your name in a raffle to win a gift card when you bring your own bag.

Did you know that annual production of plastic grocery bags in the U.S. emits nearly 4 tons of CO2? It's true. Plastic bags are not only bad because people don't recycle them but because they are made from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource. Using a non-renewable resource when it isn't necessary is a big no-no.

Even though plastic bags are recyclable, most are not recycled. An estimated 4 billion plastic bags worldwide end up as litter ever year. Wow! That's gross! If we tied all these bags end to end, we could circle the Earth 63 times. Yuk! I
see plastic bags stuck in trees when I am driving with Mom in the car. It makes me sad to know that people don't even care what happens to the plastic bags and mad that people use them at all.

This type of grassroots effort can be realized in communities across the country. By engaging in a campaign that encourages citizen activism, we can get everyone involved in something that matters to them. That is really the only way to get people interested - it has to mean something to them. Raising awareness of the effects of plastic bags and giving something back to people is a win-win for everyone.

I hope this campaign inspires you to think about ways you can help in your community. Mom is plotting a way to take this idea to the local chamber of commerce. Maybe I can dress up in plastic bags and be the mascot. Anyone want to join me?


Melissa and Emmitt said...

emmitt has joined you! he is wearing plastic bags as we speak! He has made himself a whole outfit from head to toe.

we cannot wait to see you and your mom stubby! you can come to CO anytime and stay with us!

what a great program. colorado is a beautiful place to live!

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! I'm glad I'm not the only one looking crazy with my plastic bag outfit. Thanks Emmitt!

Mom's family used to live in Greeley and she went to visit them all the time. That was waaaaayyyy before I came along.

We will definitely stop by and see you if we are ever in Colorado. If really is a beautiful place and you're lucky to live there.

Stubby xoxo

Nancy Medina said...

Hi Stubs, this here is Anniebelly. I jest want to say one thing - Yew are big ole cuteypie.

Stubby said...

Oh Anniebelly! That's the sweetest thing anyone has said to me all day. You made my day sweetie - thanks!

Stubby xoxo