EMC’s ReUsable Bag Campaign

Here is the most recent data on disposable bags. It is a report from the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force.  Click HERE to view this effort by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

bag-make-everydayBuy a Reusable bag, Use and Re-Use It, and Make a Difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has!” — Margaret Meade

The EMC’s Week of Shopping Green

The Dutchess County EMC, in partnership with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, sponsored “A Week of Shopping Green” from December 15-21, 2008. The goal of this environmental campaign was to increase consumer awareness of the problems associated with the use of both plastic and paper bags and then encourage them to shop with reusable bags.

During the week, our challenge was to see how many plastic and paper bags we can save. With just one person switching from using 2 reusable bags in place of 4 plastic bags for one year, it saved over 200 plastic bags. Since it is estimated that the petroleum needed to produce 14 plastic bags would drive a car a mile, just that one person could save the world enough petroleum to drive a car 15 miles.

 These web pages are in support of that effort by offering education, sources for reusable bags and store promotions to reduce the consumption of disposable ones.

The Effort Continues!

Retailers can help. Retailers can help support this effort all year long by offering reusable bags and promotions to reduce use of plastic and paper bags.

Bag Facts – plastic or paper?

Plastic Bags: Plastic Bags were first used in 1977 and only 30 years later, 90% of all grocery bags are plastic. 500,000 bags are consumed every MINUTE IN THE WORLD. The United States USES APPROXIMATELY 100 BILLION bags annually. For those bags, it takes 12 million barrels of OIL, a non-renewable resource, to manufacture what is usually a single-use item that in turn, takes over 1,000 years to decompose. Even the paint used to advertise on the side of the bag has increased mercury levels in our homes. When floating in the Ocean, sea turtles and marine mammals mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, eat them and die. As a result approximately 100,000 perish each year.

Paper Bags: Manufacture, usage and disposal problems suggest that paper is not the better choice. 14 million trees are used every year to make paper bags in the U.S. alone and 70% more greenhouse gases are released in their manufacture and transportation than in the production of plastic bags. Paper bags are most often single-use and only approximately 5% of those bags are recycled. Although paper bags are biodegradable, modern landfills don’t allow the light, air and water needed for decomposition.

The Downside of Paper and Plastic: Disposable paper and plastic bags consume our resources, produce greenhouse gases, cause excess landfill and pollute our oceans all for what is a single use, It costs a store 1-cent to provide a shopper with a free plastic bag and 4-cents for each paper bag, but 17-cents for local municipalities using your tax dollars, to deal with the waste. The bottom line is that “free” disposable bags are an illusion. Time to wake up. As the old adage says, nothing comes for free.

If 1,000,000 of us used 1 less bag a month, we would save over a quarter million dollars in waste disposal.

As it is right now, the Fresh Kills Dump on Staten Island, New York is the third highest point on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA.

Additional Resources

  1. One Bag at a Time
  2. Reusable Bags
  3. Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency
  4. The Story of Stuff: A 20 minute video of Consumerism Facts

Get Involved


  1. Encourage shoppers to use reusable bags by giving credit, a coupon, or a discount to those who use reusable bags.
  2. Sell reusable bags at or near the check-out.


  1. Educate students to the problems a disposable society produces.
  2. Empower students to make a change in family behavior.
  3. Engage in projects that show how REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE works.
  4. Sensitize students on how to take responsibility for the world around them.


  1. Purchase reusable grocery bags.
  2. Prepare a place to keep bags where they are available for next use.
  3. Encourage friends and neighbors to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE instead of DISPOSING of what we no longer want or need.


  1. Write a letter to the LEGISLATURE asking help in creating the kind of initiative that encourages citizens to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.
  2. Write a letter to your SUPER MARKET CEO asking for him/her to take a leading role in finding ways to help customers to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE the plastic and paper bags they use.
  3. Examine the LINK to the letter from the EMC and the Chamber of Commerce that was sent to local store owners about participating in the WEEK OF SHOPPING GREEN. If you think the market where you shop was not invited to participate, print a copy of the letter and deliver it to the shop yourself. To see the letter, click HERE to see it.

Buy a Reusable BAG:

EmbroidMe | www.embroidme.com
Whether you are looking for blank re-usable bags or ones imprinted with your logo, EmbroidMe in Poughkeepsie can be your local supplier. They sell some of the most popular eco-friendly bags. If you don’t see the exact bag you need, or you require very large quantities, have questions or you would like other eco-friendly promotional products, contact Bernie McIllvenna at (845)392-6065 or e-mail him at poughkeepsie.sales@embroidme.com. Also visit the website of their affiliate Hudson Valley Bags.

EcoBags | www.ecobags.com
A very diverse selection or reusable bags is available through a vender that is committed to supplying environmentally friendly products at a low cost. They are well know for their string bags, green bags, canvas bags and totes with quotes. You can contact ECOBAGS.COM by phone at (800) 720-2247 or by fax at (914) 944-4609 or by email at info@ecobags.com. Their business hours are from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM EST, Monday through Friday.