December 13, 2011 (San Diego) – For the second year, cities throughout the San Diego region, local community groups, environmental organizations, and the County of San Diego have proclaimed the third Thursday of December as a “Day Without a Bag”. The purpose of the event is to educate and raise awareness of the need to keep communities, waterways, and beaches clean via litter prevention, and to promote a ‘greener’ holiday season through reuse.
On Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, businesses and residents will promote and benefit from using reusable bags for their holiday and regular shopping needs instead of standard single-use plastic and paper bags. “This is a region-wide event to support a habit change that encourages a much wiser use of our resources by reminding shoppers to choose reusable shopping bags over disposables. Reuse is far better than recycling. It prevents waste and helps to aid in overall litter reduction,” stated Regional Coordinator Jacy Bolden.
Each year, people in the greater San Diego region use more than 1.7 billion plastic bags, which equates to about 500 bags per person annually. According to the U.S. EPA, less than five percent of plastic bags are actually recycled, and they are made from non-renewable fossil fuels. Even though paper bags are easily recycled in curbside programs, supporters of a “Day Without A Bag” stress that a single-use of any type of bag is not the best use of natural resources. During the 2010 event over 28,000 bags were given away at over 150 locations throughout the San Diego region. Bolden noted that many residents commented that they had bags but had a hard time remembering them.
To help their shoppers remember, several grocers such as Albertsons, Trader Joe’s and Vons are providing drawings for $25 gift certificates to those shoppers using a reusable bag in their stores. “Similar types of positive incentive promotions for reusable bags have proven that shoppers have responded positively and some grocers have indicated a 40-60% decrease in disposable bag usage. Clearly it’s an effective promotion,” stated Bolden.
To make the event possible, grocers, retailers, waste haulers, jurisdictions and volunteers anticipate giving away several thousand reusable shopping bags and providing great reward incentives at numerous locations throughout the county.
The major regional sponsors providing financial and in-kind support include San Diego Union Tribune, Think Blue San Diego Region, SeaWorld, and the cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Encinitas, Oceanside, Poway and Solana Beach. Key organizations coordinating volunteers and promotions countywide include: San Diego Coastkeeper, I Love A Clean San Diego, Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, and the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
Regionwide grocers and retailers participating include: 99 Cent Only Stores, Albertsons, Jimbo’s…Naturally!, Ralphs, Target, Trader Joe’s, Vons, Whole Foods.
Retailers and volunteers interested in participating can find more information about the event by visiting www.NoBagDaySD.org, which will include a Google map with incentive stores as well as bag giveaway locations and times.