May 4, 2009
AS WE GET into the swing of the cleaning season, it amazes many people how much trash accumulates on the streets. According to Keep America Beautiful, on average each person creates about five pounds of trash daily. In a city of 1.4 million, that's a lot of waste. A large contributor is the use of so many disposable products. It often starts with packaging: the coffee cup, the sandwich bag we package our children's lunch in, the plastic bag at a store, the water bottle. These items didn't exist in such abundance 30 years ago. Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is starting a campaign aimed at creating greater awareness of waste-reduction strategies through reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
February 6, 2009 |
Amid talk of cable contracts and plastic-bag bans at City Council's meeting yesterday, Councilmen Frank DiCicco and Jim Kenney slipped in a whopper - a $20 million tax on oil refineries. DiCicco and Kenney introduced a bill that would institute a 35-cent tax on every barrel of petroleum processed in the city, which they said would likely raise $20 million. "Oil companies saw huge profits in 2008 and the City of Philadelphia continues to struggle to meet service demands," DiCicco said in a news release.
December 29, 2008 |
It's easy to mock all the eco how-to books that the publishing industry churns out, never mind the number of trees consumed in their printing. Saving the planet is a project for the long haul, and it will be anything but easy. It will require significant technological advances, government action and international cooperation. But we peons can act immediately. The things we do may be incremental. But we're such a wasteful society that the steps we can take are as easy as turning out the lights.
July 13, 2008 |
Grocery bags - whether to use plastic or paper or have customers bring their own bags - have been a hot topic at Philadelphia supermarkets lately. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Super Fresh recently changed their policies, and rebate customers who bring their own bags. The assumption is that plastic bags are always bad. I prefer plastic; I have some good reasons (see below). So I investigated this issue further. Were stores asking more environmental responsibility of their customers than the stores themselves were willing to undertake?
July 4, 2008 |
When friends and neighbors heard the Brady family needed materials for a special craft project, plastic grocery bags magically starting appearing on their doorstep. Once they had more than 60 bags on hand, Michelle Brady and daughter Cecily went to work, recycling the bags into a hooked rug that has become quite the conversation piece. "People who've seen the rug seem to think it's cool," says Michelle Brady, 41. "One family friend decided to make her own. " Brady came across the idea on the Internet while researching creative ways to reuse Christmas cards.
February 4, 2008
Do good and feel good: Bring your own bags The millions of plastic bags we use in Philadelphia take expensive and polluting energy to produce and are wreaking havoc on the environment ("Time to Bag It?," Jan. 28). It is easy to bring your own bag, and you feel so good doing it! As little as it is, I feel I am doing something; I am contributing to the cleanup effort, not adding to the mess. I just wish it would catch on. There are some days I feel like standing at the end of grocery store registers and asking customers if they'd ever thought of bringing their own bags.
January 28, 2008 |
The bar-code scanner beeps. The groceries glide toward the bagger, not to mention a new eco-enemy: the bag itself. If it's made of plastic, all the worse. Plastic bags are handy, to be sure. They carry lunches, wet swimsuits and pet waste. Yet they last for centuries in landfills. Thrown away, they are often blown away, urban tumbleweeds that wind up draped in trees, plastered to fences, clogged in sewer drains. In the open sea, they kill turtles. So the ubiquitous "free" plastic grocery bag - that small, pale piece of processed petrol so flimsy that good baggers double up - is beginning to be targeted by lawmakers and others who want them restricted or banned.
January 26, 2008
Perhaps the most common symbol of the global throwaway culture is the plastic bag. About 500 billion to 1 trillion get used, and rarely re-used, each year. In many towns and cities the plastic bag has become the de facto national flag, waving from trees and lampposts, festooning highways, blighting the landscape. The things are everywhere. But that is starting to change. China - where the central government can still do such things - has banned the sale or free distribution of ultra-thin plastic bags as of June.
December 28, 2007 |
All of a sudden, the world is full of rhythmic noise: footsteps tapping, train wheels clacking, car doors slamming, computer keys clicking. Just as some pictures can heighten your awareness of color and shape, Stomp heightens your awareness of sound. How percussive the world is! Electrifying and funny (now there's an unusual combination), Stomp, currently at the Merriam Theater, is a wildly enjoyable show. It's been running for 13 years in New York. And before that in London. And it looks and feels as frisky and high-voltage as ever.