Disposable Bags, Usage at Select PSU Retailers and a Plan For Reduction Nate Birkholz, Jessica Standley and Bo Xiao What American Plastic Manufacturing Says • MYTH: Taxing grocery bags or banning plastic bags will reduce greenhouse gasses and save the planet. • TRUTH: Since bags are a minimal contributor to all the problems associated with them (oil use, litter, landfill volume, etc.), bans and taxes simply won't do anything for the environment. And because the alternatives all require more fuel to create, recycle, and transport, eliminating plastic bags actually increases greenhouse gasses. http://www.apmbags.com/bagmyths What We Found • TRUTH: Since bags are a minimal contributor to all the problems associated with them (oil use, litter, landfill volume, etc.), bans and taxes simply won't do anything for the environment. And because the alternatives all require more fuel to create, recycle, and transport, eliminating plastic bags actually increases greenhouse gasses. • MYTH: Taxing grocery bags or banning plastic bags will reduce greenhouse gasses and save the planet. Our Project • Research the usage of disposable bags at select retailers • Research the carbon emissions from these bags from production and transportation • Propose a way to reduce the usage of these disposable bags • Survey Portland State students on usage and possible effects of our proposal Usage at Three Select Retailers • The Student Store in Smith uses approximately 10,000 biodegradable disposable bags annually. • The Green Line Market is projected to use about 3,000 disposable bags annually. • The Portland State Bookstore uses approximately 50,000 Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) bags annually CO2 emission in production phase 4000 3600 CO2 emission (lbs) 3200 2800 2400 2000 1600 1200 800 400 0 Student Store +Green Line Book Store Total Transportation • The Student Store in Smith uses bags that are manufactured in China and distributed in Portland. • The Green Line Market uses bags that are manufactured in Ohio and shipped to Portland from a distributer California. • The Portland State Bookstore uses bags that are manufactured and distributed in California. CO2 emission in transportation phase 1600 CO2 emission(lbs) 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Green Line Student Stroe Book Store Total Total Carbon emissions for three stores 6000 CO2 emission(lbs) 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 Production Tansportation Total Our Proposal • In Washington, D.C. starting this year a five cent fee was placed on disposable bags. In the first month, estimated bag usage went from an estimated 22 million per month to an estimated three million. • We propose implemented a similar fee at the Student Store, Green Line Market and the Portland State Bookstore. Survey • Do you use plastic bags from the bookstore?_________ • If no, what do you use? Back pack, tote, arms, shoulder bag?_________(finished) • If yes, would you continue to use the bags if you had to pay $0.05 for them?________(continue) • How many bags would you say you use per term?________ • What do you do with the bags after you are done with them? • Reuse for trash liner • Throw away into trash • Litter • Other Usage and Effect of Proposed Fee • 38% of students surveyed use bags with an average use of two per term (6 per year). • 44% of students surveyed that do use bags would choose to pay the five cent fee while the remaining 56% would choose to use another method rather than pay. People That Do Not Use Disposable Bags 12 Backpacks 19 50 Totes "Just Carry" Shoulder Bags 19 Disposal of Disposable Bags 6 13 37 Reuse as Trash Liner Throw Away Reuse for Pets 13 Reuse as Bags Recycle 31 Possible Benefits to the Proposed Fee • Based on the survey, the proposed fee would lead to a reduction of disposable bag usage down to approximately 26,000 per year. • The fee would generate $1,300 dollars annually that could go towards funding carbon saving projects • Carbon emissions from disposable bag usage from these retailers would drop by more than half Implementation • The Student Store in Smith has a contract with ASPSU. ASPSU negotiates retailer contracts every two years and could implement the fee. • The Green Line Market could choose to implement the fee internally. • The Portland State Bookstore is a private nonprofit. It too could choose to implement the fee. Discussion • Feelings on a proposed fee?