Badlani
Environmental issues
 

What its all about with us at Norquest.

Its about reducing waste. About leaving the world a better place for our children. Its about saving our planet, one cloth bag at a time.

When she was 8, my daughter Kaajal came home from school and told us we were not to use plastic bags any more. Her tone was determined and her chin was set. It was clear that this was not a negotiable issue.

Two things happened as a consequence: One, I went and thanked the teacher who got her so conscious of this issue, and two, I started work on a project to start making cloth bags.

Today, we sell bags to customers spread all over the world. It gives us pride and joy to know that every bag we sell gets re-used many, many times and spares the world from being choked that many plastic bags.

We’re not changing the world in some dramatic way, but we are doing our bit. One bag at a time.

 

Its happening to everyone. Thinking people everywhere are beginning to wonder what they can do about a problem that threatens to destroy the world.

The other day I read a story by a guy called Gene Grant in the Albuquerque Tribune Online edition where he started off by talking about a new game he played with his daughter Nina called "Count the White Plastic Bags." On a drive of just 8 miles  “Using only one side of the road, she basically exhausted herself trying to keep up with all the white plastic bags pinned to fences, bushes, weeds, curbs and sides of buildings. She gave up in the mid 70s at that fence on the east side of Coors, where the bags flapping on the wires ganged up nearly every couple of feet in spots.”

Its easy to just label this a price one pays for convenience, but when you look at the numbers, you realize that this is past huge. When you think about it, do you want to pay this kind of price?

It is estimated that Americans use 14 billion plastic shopping bags every year - about 425 bags for every American man, woman and child - that end up in landfills for 20 years after their "life span," usually in trees and on fences.

Gene went on to explain why “Stores pay less than a penny per bag for plastic and 3 to 4 cents per paper bag. Two thousand plastic bags weigh 30 pounds, while 2,000 paper bags weigh 280 pounds. This makes it a no-brainer for the grocers, but, as with everything, there are savings and then there are costs. With Americans making 2.3 grocery trips each week - and I'm probably nearer 4.5 trips - and five to 10 bags each time, the number could be as high as 600 to 1,200 plastic bags per person, per year. Yikes. Go ahead and play that car game. I dare you to try and get past 20 bags within a couple of miles before your gut starts telling you something is seriously out of whack on this. Convenience has a price”.

Ireland started taxing plastic bags a couple of years back, leading the world on a movement that is catching on elsewhere also. BBC reported the exercise a huge success

“A tax on plastic shopping bags in the Republic of Ireland has cut their use by more than 90% and raised millions of euros in revenue, the government says”.

Taiwan and Singapore are also moving to ban free plastic bags and in South Africa they have been dubbed the "national flower" because so many can be seen flapping from fences and caught in bushes.

The scale of the problem is difficult for most humans to conceptualize. That one bag you take home from the store doesn’t seem evil and ominous; it’s like so many other things you do – a habit.

The good news is that the powers that be are beginning to take note. See www.badlani.com/blog daily to see the progress this movement is making!


Rajiv Badlani –
rajiv@badlani.com


 
Customer Comments
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