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‘Just Bag It’ Project Reduces Plastic Bag Use In Hailey, Idaho

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'Just Bag It' CampaignThe very first story posted on PBBR in “Grassroots Efforts” was about the ‘Just Bag It’ project in Hailey, Idaho, USA.

Elizabeth Jeffrey, Project Manager, reports that the project involved many organizations, including retailers and high school students.

The three largest area retailers joined the project at the outset and proved to be a benefit in many ways. Not only did they help publicize the campaign, but as partners, they helped set benchmarks for results.

The number one goal of the year-long project was to reduce plastic bag consumption. Results were:

> Atkinsons’ Market saw a 26% reduction in plastic bag use
> Albertsons achieved a 15% reduction
> King’s came in with a whopping 73% reduction in large bags and 10% reduction in regular bags.

Another goal was to increase the re-use of bags and on that front, Atkinsons’ Market reports that for 2010, 12% more customers are shopping with reusable bags.

Furthermore, to increase the recycling of plastic bags, Atkinsons’ Market coordinated with a plastic bag manufacturer 50 miles away to establish plastic bag recycling at all three of its stores in Blaine County.

“All three of these partners have agreed to work with Hailey over the next three years to implement further improvements in reducing the use of plastic bags”, stated Ms. Jeffrey.

“One of the further outcomes is that the high school environmental club got involved through our logo competition and has gotten very excited about the goals of our project. They’ve started a letter writing campaign to local businesses and politicians and are looking at introducing an ordinance to the city council and/or as a referendum to the next general election”.

Also, the City of Hailey has named Earth Day as ‘Plastic Bag Free Day’.

Ms Jeffrey summarized, “We’ve completed the project now, and maybe it has inspired some interest that will take it forward through a continuation grant and through some citizen initiatives”.

3 Responses to ‘Just Bag It’ Project Reduces Plastic Bag Use In Hailey, Idaho

  1. Osborne

    2011/11/20 at 2:16 pm

    Huge support when it comes around again – great initiative, great proven results

  2. Pamela Plowman-Weston

    2011/11/09 at 1:52 pm

    I’m so sorry the initiative didn’t pass! Don’t give up! Let’s get it on the next BIG ballot. Change takes time and is fought by the vested interests, but YOU CAN DO IT AND YOU STILL HAVE LOTS OF SUPPORT IN THE COMMUNITY. Many of us adults are very proud of your interest and efforts.

    Best,
    Pamela

  3. Nancy Holcomb

    2011/04/25 at 2:42 pm

    Wood River High School Environmental Club prepared and presented a fantastic proposal to ban the use of plastic bags, to the Hailey City Council. Under the direction of Erika Greenburg, a Spanish Teacher at WRHS, the students have done many important projects to help the community become aware of environmental issues. From a video they presented, I learned that China has banned the use of plastic bags! Many cities in the United States have already banned them, and it is time for Hailey, Idaho to join the ban.
    Many reusable bags have been given out to the community, and they are very inexpensive to buy (99 cents). It disturbs me to hear Mr. Atkinsons’ comments regarding convenience for the customers. We are so fortunate to be able to go to a market to buy food and not have to grow it all ourselves! The least we could do is give back a little to the earth in appreciation for the bounty of food…