Healthy Food, Healthy Community, Healthy Planet
In solidarity with many other farmers markets in California, and in conjunction with the statewide ban on single use disposable plastic bags, Orange Home Grown (OHG) will require its vendors to charge ten cents for single use plastic bags starting January 2017. In places where bags cost extra, there has been a significant reduction in use of those bags. People are less likely to throw away a bag they pay for, and more likely to reuse it. Folks become more eco-conscious about their purchases, use reusable items, and avoid single use plastic. In support of OHG’s first official step toward reducing the market’s plastic footprint, the market information booth will offer:
- OHG $5 canvas bags – deep, sturdy, and washable
- A “Free Bag” container so folks can drop off extra bags or pick up bags for reuse
- Reusable $2 mesh produce bags to hold cherry tomatoes, almonds, grapes, etc. (coming soon)
Waste Reduction Tips for the Market
- Keep bags in your car, at home, office, backpack, and purse so you always have one. Create a waste wise shopping kit for your car with tote bags, reusable produce bags, washable containers, coffee cup, water bottle, utensils and cloth napkin.
- Use refillable containers for water.
- Choose paper cups over plastic for coffee and water.
- Shop for items in eco-friendly glass and biodegradable containers and packaging.
- Plastic is ideal for storing greens, so try to reuse those bags as much as you can. You can also wash and store greens in a salad spinner in the fridge.
- Place herbs such as basil and cilantro in a cup of fresh water as you would flowers.
- For delicate strawberries, figs, and peaches, try using a large yogurt container.
- If you take your cherry tomatoes in a basket, bring them back to the market for reuse, along with egg cartons, mesh bags for oranges and berry boxes.
- Recycle your glass jars with the vendor. Many times they offer a percentage off your next purchase when you bring back the glass jars to the market.
- In California, 25 million plastic bags are thrown away daily and less than 5% of bags in the US are recycled.
- Cradle to cradle, plastic bags involve the extraction of petroleum and natural gas in their production, use energy in the manufacturing, and then contaminate the planet.
- Truly biodegradable bags, that are California compliant, currently cost 29 cents each.
- Paper bags can be made of recyclable materials, but they are expensive and require energy and make impacts on the planet in the manufacturing process through the cutting down of trees.
- Even with a ten cent fee, plastic bag bans in Los Angeles have reduced the consumer cost from $9.4 million to $3 million. After banning the bag, San Jose has seen 60% fewer bags in its streets and creeks, and 90% fewer bags in its storm-water system.
- Watch this video for more information about the impacts of plastic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9znvqIkIM-A
Next OHG EcoSteps
OHG is looking for youth Earth Guardians to staff the landfill, recycling, and compost receptacles at the farmer’s market to direct folks on the appropriate bucket, and to take the compostable materials to the OHG Education Farm a block away from the market on Lemon Street.
Sources: The Ecology Center, Berkeley http://ecologycenter.org/plastics/ CUESA http://www.cuesa.org/learn/waste-wise/plastic-bag-faq