Sunday, February 24, 2008

Keats & Plastic Bags...

" books, fruit, fine weather, music..." John Keats 1795 - 1821

On Friday evening, my sis in law, Julie, and I, hit the streets of Banff for a bit of shopping. I picked up a copy of Craft Magazine, one of my favorites, at Indigo Bookstore. I actually picked it up to do some homework. I was one of just 36 people on Etsy who was quick on the draw and bought a $50 cooperative advertising space in Craft. I believe the issue is out May 1st. I have to have the ad copy & image in by Feb 28th, and I would like to try something new and different, something crafty with my images, since right now they are visual art but not cool and crafty for Craft... but I am getting off the intended topic of my post...

I have been thinking a lot about plastic bags lately and the awful impact they have on the environment. We have gotten pretty good at stock piling cloth and mesh shopping bags and I always try to remember my favorite fashionable colorful bag but had forgotten it for this journey. So, I did take my Craft in a plastic shopping bag. When I got home, I started looking at the bag because of the above quote by Keats which is written on it. Indigo is a big Canadian bookstore chain, the kind that is killing the small independent book shops. I do shop in those small shops, especially the second hand ones, but in Banff the small book shop refuses to carry magazines and I buy lots of magazines. I don't usually buy the common mags but specialty ones. The kind that only a large chain carries because they have hundreds of magazines. The Indigo here in Banff is a small shop compared to most, a new business concept that was possibly spurred by the local uprising about a chain book store coming to town. Anyway, you can tell I have a lot of guilt about both where I bought my mag and the bag I brought it home in (next time I will bring the canvas bag and since Craft is $15 each quarterly issue, and they only charge $40 for a Canadian subscription I am going to get one!!).

Back to the bag, I was reading the quote and noticed that the bag was made in Canada AND THAT IT IS OXO-BIODEGRADABLE!. Wow. Way to go Chapters, the parent co of Indigo! Now if only everyone who feels they need to carry plastic bags in their shops would switch to these we would be better off. I do think these bags are still an issue to marine and wildlife but now they will break down in the landfiles. Check out how Oxo-Biodegradable plastic works here. And some frequently asked questions here. There are many resources on the internet. I even found Oxo-Biodegradable bubble wrap! Items made from this can also be recycled. And apparently all biodegradable bags aren't the same:

Are all biodegradable bags the same? (from this site)

No. There are two broad categories – oxo-biodegradable and hydro-biodegradable sometimes called starch based. These starch based products tend to degrade slightly faster but not to not be as strong as oxo-biodegradable ones (e.g. they are too weak to carry liquor bottles). They meet the international compostable plastics standards that were designed for them (but performed no better in the CRIQ compost study than oxo-biodegradable bags) but they cannot be commingled in the existing recycle stream because they have a totally different chemical structure than conventional plastics. Both have market niches where they have advantages.

Coolio. I learned something new today. And I can't end this post without a craft. Thanks to Anda on Etsy (congrats on your new babe, Anda!) you and I can now turn bad plastic bags into upcycled/recycled fabric for imaginative crafts!! YIPPEE!! Here are the instructions and some photos on fusing plastic bags. Thanks, Anda!

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