2013 Resolution – Daily Steps to Social Change

What are the small (or big) steps you’ll be taking this coming year to enhance your positive social impact and well, maybe your life, work, business in the process? Over the coming month, I’ll post one small step and a link to more information and action ideas to take it to the next level. Whether the shift happens solely in our daily lives, or  we change policy, it all is interconnected to affect the changes we want to BE and SEE in the world. So, Happy New Year and we’ll  kick off 2013 with a step a day towards enhancing our social impact – comment with your ideas so we can share a step a day and ideas to take it to the next level!:

January 1  Reduce my plastic bag usage – I will pack my reusable shopping bag in my car & vow to bring in and use to lessen the 380 billion bags we use as Americans every year. 2013 Plastic Bag count so far: ZERO 🙂

Up til now, I’ve tried to use my reusable bag, but often forgot. However, when I’m reminded it takes anywhere from 100 to 1000 years for one silly bag to decompose, uses lots of oil and often ends up killing wildlife and breaking down the eco-system as a result, I think it is time for me to make that tiny extra effort to put a reusable bag in my car and remember to carry it in. Take a look at the links below to learn more and see how changing the incentive structure (i.e. taxing) helps to accelerate the shift in behavior quite drastically! When I was in Ireland I learned first hand how quick this change can happen – I forgot my bag 1 time and ended up carrying out loads of stuff in my arms which made me remember to bring a bag the next time! This was an example of plastic Tax: “In 2001, Ireland implemented a plastic tax (or PlasTax); the first of its kind, this route acknowledges the fact that people will still occasionally use plastic bags. This market-based solution discourages daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout. In a study by the Irish Department of the Environment it was found that plastic bag usage had dropped 93.5%. This breaks down to a drop from 328 to 21 bags per person each year.” – More information here –  http://www.reuseit.com/learn-more/top-facts/plastic-bag-facts as well as this article on How Many Cities Have a Ban on Plastic Bags? highlights:

  • 90 percent of plastic bags in the U.S. are not recycled
  • An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year-380 billion of those in the U.S.—and governments have been slow-moving at best to do anything about them. 
  • Every year, Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags after they’ve been used to transport a prescription home from the drugstore or a quart of milk from the grocery store. It’s equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.” 
  •  There have been taxes on plastic bags since before 2008 in Italy, Belgium, and Ireland, where plastic bag use dropped by 94 percent within weeks of the ban.

What do you think? Do you use plastic bags? Do you live in a place that has taxed or banned? Or, heck, maybe you are already plastic bag free and can give us an idea for another step to social change 🙂 Leave a comment below!

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