Countywide program seeks to ‘bag’ environmentalism

COAST CITIES — Retailers throughout the county are hoping San Diegans will get sustainable shopping in the bag — reusable, of course — by declaring Dec. 16 A Day Without a Bag, an event that encourages consumers to take home goods in reusable bags rather than single-use plastic or paper ones.
It is estimated that more than 1.7 billion plastic bags, an average of about 500 per person, are used annually throughout the county. Because they are made from nonrenewable fossil fuels, they can be recycled, but studies show less than 5 percent actually are.
Even when properly disposed, plastic bags tend to blow out of trash cans or be pulled out by birds. The wind then causes them to become tangled in vegetation or clog storm drains. They also often end up in waterways and the ocean, where they become a threat to marine life.
More than 25,000 reusable bags will be given away at about 100 locations throughout the region, including two in Solana Beach, three in Carlsbad and 13 each in Encinitas and Oceanside.
Bags will be available at most Ralphs, Stater Bros., Henry’s and Trader Joe’s markets. Shoppers can also pick up a complimentary bag at Bob Baker Subaru and Jimbo’s Naturally! in Carlsbad, Cardiff Seaside Market, Encinitas City Hall, the Solana Beach Vons and most Target stores.
Shoppers “caught” by a program partner using reusable bags will be entered into a drawing to win prize packages such as golf at Sycuan Resort and Padres tickets, parking and autographed merchandise.
Visit www.solanacenter.org/daywithoutabagtips.html for more information, a complete list of giveaway locations and stores that offer credit incentives.
The website also offers tips for remembering to take reusable bags when shopping, such as putting them in car trunks, asking children for reminders, leaving notes and setting car keys on them.

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