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March 9, 2012 > FREE Reusable Bags

FREE Reusable Bags

By Catherine Hou, Elliot Lin, Brenda Miao, Jesse Jen

To get a FREE colorful, durable and fashionable shopping bag, all you need to do is to bring 10+ plastic bags to the following locations:

Free Bag Distribution Schedule:
3/10 (Sat) 12noon - 2 p.m. Ohlone Flea Market
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Safeway Washington Boulevard
3/11 (Sun) 9 a.m. - 12noon Irvington Farmers Market
12noon - 2 p.m. Marina Food Union City
3/10 -11 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Ranch 99 Warm Springs, Marina Food Warm Springs
3/6 - 15 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Olive Bookstore, 43513 Mission Boulevard

Four high school students, Catherine Hou, Elliot Lin, and Brenda Miao, from Mission San Jose High and Jesse Jen, from Logan High, were determined to do their part in reducing plastic usage after learning about their harmful effects from the PBS documentary "Bag-it."

Greenwire, an energy news site, reports a single person uses 150 plastic bags each year, resulting in six billion bags that devastate our environment. These long-lived polymer monsters kill over 100,000 sea creatures and land animals, as well as deplete our natural oil reserves, using up to three million barrels of oil in California alone. Plastic has dominated our society, its cheap convenience addictive to our frugal communities.

These four students decided it was time to put a stop to this habit, so they joined forces to educate people about the overuse of plastic. They devised a plan to distribute reusable shopping bags in exchange for one-time-use plastic bags, to encourage their community to reduce plastic usage.

To raise money for the bags, they asked ebay, Juniper, Olive Children Foundation, and other local businesses and were able to get more than 1,000 reusable bags worth over $2500.

The team had its first bag distribution at the TGIF Summer Camp Fair at American High School on March 2nd, where they gave away 200 reusable shopping bags, equivalent to reducing 156 pounds of plastic each year.

"It's not a very novel idea, but if we can reduce over 100 pounds of plastic by giving these materials away, then we've done something useful," one student commented. Indeed, this number is only a tiny dent compared to the growing plastic dump, but the students hope to expand their achievements at future events.

These four students will hand out the reusable bags. Please join their cause and help to save our planet. What you need to do is simple - bring 10+ plastic bags to get the free reusable shopping bag.

Their goal is to distribute 2,000 reusable grocery bags in return for 10 plastic bags each, reducing the impact of 20,000 plastic bags, about 86 gallons of oil which worth $400 each year. They will also be having two clean ups of their community. One is on Saturday 3/10 at Old Mission Park and another one on Sunday 3/11 at Ohlone College. Both clean ups will start at 2 p.m. and service hours will be available for high school students provided by Olive Children Foundation.

As the future caretakers of the Earth, it is time everyone started a project of their own, something as simple as recycling the plastic found along a road, so that we can create a relatively plastic-free environment. Everyone dreams about making the world a better place, but these four students, are making it an emerging reality, bag by bag.

If each bag is given out, they replace 1/4 of the bags used at a grocery store each time, up to 138,000 bags per year.

Participating TGIF Summer Camp Fair at American High School

For additional information, contact:

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