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Have you ever stood in line at a grocery store, reusable bag in hand, and wondered why everyone was choosing plastic? At those moments you probably wished you could hand out reusable bags and explain how plastics are polluting our environment.
You aren’t alone: Albertsons in Victorville feels your pain. In response, Albertsons holds occasional Pay it Forward Days that allows a customer to purchase a bag that is then given to the customer who shops after them.
Sounds pretty cool right? Well, we sure think so, and we decided to chat with Colleen Webster, the General Manager of Albertsons in Victorville, and one of the partners for our Reusable Bag Campaign. Her store will be holding a Pay It Forward Day on Saturday April 2 to correspond with a Zero Waste Reusable Bag Campaign tabling at the store. Also, starting the week of April 4, Albertsons and Zero Waste will be starting a month-long promotion that will allow residents using reusable bags to enter a drawing to win a $50 Albertsons gift card. Be sure to visit us!
Zero Waste Communities: Hi Colleen! Could you tell us a little about Pay it Forward?
Colleen Webster: Certainly, the Pay It Forward program is a simple way to promote reusable bag use here in Victorville. It’s a great way to show our neighborliness as well as help the environment. Last time we held a Pay It Forward Day over 400 bags were sold!
Zero Waste Communities: Wow, that’s great! Have you seen a lot of those bags in circulation at your store after that day?
Colleen Webster: We sure have, We see lots of those reusable bags come back through our lines. There has been a big increase in reusable bag use in the last couple of years and we are happy to support that.
Zero Waste Communities: Did you develop the Pay iIt Forward program?
Colleen Webster: I wish I did! No, it’s actually an Albertsons corporate idea that we’ve been pretty successful with.
Zero Waste Communities: What are some of the impacts of the program?
Colleen Webster: Well, there are two things that come to mind. First, the less plastic bags we give out, the more money we save. But most importantly, it’s good for the environment. Plastic bags end up in our landfill. They also blow in the wind and get stuck in trees and shrubs. I have never once seen a reusable bag in a tree.
The program also gets people thinking about these issues and that’s a good thing.
One of our goals here at Zero Waste Communities is to reduce the amount of plastics and other non-biodegradable products that end up in our landfills. Of course, without your help we’ll be stuck in the mud and won’t move forward.
Speaking of moving forward, take a look down at your feet. Are you wearing shoes right now? If not, we bet you probably did recently. You likely even have a few pairs in the closet or on the rug by your back door.
We often see shoes piling up in our garbage cans where they eventually make their way to the dump. We have a lot of shoes, so that’s a lot of trash. That got us thinking: wouldn’t it be cool if this footwear were recyclable? How about even biodegradable?
Most of us have more than one pair of shoes. We have our workout shoes, dress shoes, boots, casual shoes and those summer flip flops. Shoes are part of our lives and will be for the foreseeable future. With a little pressure, a lot of shoe companies are using recyclable materials in their footwear; some are even taking it a step further and using biodegradable products.
Nike even has a cool shoe take back program at their stores, where they reuse rubber from old athletic shoes to make subflooring for outdoor basketball courts, running tracks and playgrounds in inner cities. And don't forget, you can always donate your old kicks for good causes (check out last week's post on the subject in case you missed it).
OAT Shoes, a company based in Europe, is actually developing a 100% biodegradable shoe and it should be stateside in the years to come. The California-based Simple brand has an eco-line with a biodegradable shoe, and the running shoe company Brooks has a patented biodegradable sole that they are putting in a popular line of their fast kicks.
We applaud these companies and the others that are taking into consideration the environmental impact of their industry. So, next time you pick up a new pair of shoes, think about what may be best for the environment. (Talk about reducing our environmental "footprint"!)
But still, what do we do with our old shoes? Here’s an idea we hope gets some traction (yes, pun intended). Why not put a few small plants in them? That’s right, plants!
Are you willing to support eco-friendly companies and reduce your household’s waste? And what are you planning on doing with those old shoes you just can’t wear anymore?
We bet you have a few old shirts hanging in that closet. How about a few pairs of shoes you no longer wear? A couple of jackets? Well, if you are like most Americans you probably have all of these things filling up space somewhere in your home.
It is not always easy to part with old belongings, especially those with memories, but when you are considering those upcoming spring cleaning ideas, why not help out others by donating your old clothing?
From time to time we find clothes in the recycling bin. While clothes are not recyclable, they are absolutely reusable!
Some popular drop places include your local Salvation Army and Goodwill. Many churches, thrift stores and even some community centers also accept clothing donations. In addition, during Rialto's community cleanup events there are clothing drop boxes available.
Who knew spring cleaning wasn't just about cleaning out the cobwebs, but about helping out our fellow Californians?
Go green this spring and donate those unwanted clothes! Here's a video to get you in the spirit!
Do you donate your clothes? Have you done so in the past? What's your favorite way to recycle clothing? We'd love to know!