NYC surfers seek ban on plastic bags

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There are no plastic bags in this image.

I picked one up shopping this morning, writer Ian Frazier has been driven mad by seeing them in trees, and soon they may be banned in NYC, if our resident surfer organization has its way. As a step towards protecting the oceans, changing our habits about plastic bags is perhaps part of phase one.

5 Gyres, an organization dedicated to cleaning the world’s oceans of plastic, is coming to the Breslin (at the Ace Hotel) in Manhattan on Thursday, in conjunction with Surfriders NYC, in a benefit for their 1400 mile bike ride to push for legislation banning plastic bags.

San Francisco got the ball rolling in 2007 by banning large retailers from using plastic bags, and as of October 1 this year, the City on the Bay requires stores to also charge for paper bags, as a way to encourage shoppers to bring reusable totes with them. That will be behavior change on a large scale, and a good marker for the many major and minor shifts that we’ll need to make on a planet with 7 billion people, which also values its oceans.

Even better, as described in the New York Times, reusable totes are likely to become a new way for New Yorkers to be noticed:

“In Santa Monica, Calif., where a 10-cent charge for paper and a ban on plastic bags went into effect last year, the reusable bag culture has exploded, said Josephine Miller, an environmental program analyst with the city…People want to be seen with the coolest, hippest reusable bag, she said, adding, ‘Businesses are putting logos on reusable bags.’”

More about the movement to ban plastic, via WPIX.

A site explaining the progress of plastic bag legislation around the country.

Photo: Longboat Key News