Bloomingarts Photos Zoom in on Bags

The April 2008 Bloomingarts Series exhibit focuses on our shoppers as they find alternatives to plastic and paper bags. It's our way of celebrating Earth Day (April 22), to help emphasize the fact that making small changes every day can have a cumulative positive impact on the environment.

Plastic bag use is out of control!

Here are the alarming facts:

  • 90 billion plastic bags are produced annually in the United States.
  • North America and Western Europe account for nearly 80 percent of plastic bag use.
  • Plastic bags start as crude oil, natural gas, or other petrochemical derivatives.
  • Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags. (Only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.)
  • The petroleum used to make 14 plastic bags can drive a car one mile.
  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to degrade.
  • About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group.

However, positive changes are in the air. Many countries have banned or taken action to discourage the use of plastic bags. These include Australia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan. Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, also has banned plastic bags.

What can we do?

  • Think twice about taking a plastic bag if your purchase is small and easy to carry. Keep canvas or other reuse bags (such as our new reusable bag, made of recycled plastic) in your home, office, and car so you always have them available.
  • Ask your favorite stores to stop providing free bags, or to offer reusable bags.
  • Encourage politicians to introduce legislation taxing or banning plastic bags.
  • Try to go at least one week without accumulating any new plastic bags. If every shopper took just one less bag each month, this could eliminate the waste of hundreds of millions of bags each year.

…and from the photgrapher, Darcy Harvey:

Photos Focus on Shoppers who Reuse Bags

The April Bloomingarts series features photos of our members, shoppers, and staff sporting our assortment of reusable bags, including the new brown recycled tote from 1 Bag at a Time, available for only 99¢ at all three Bloomingfoods stores. For more about the show, please see below.

One of my favorite bags - which I use for a purse and to carry my groceries - is from the Women's Alliance and Children's Association (WAACHA), makers of Ugandan Fair Trade backpacks.  These backpacks are made of sturdy cotton and come in an assortment of beautiful patterns. The coolest feature is the name and a note from of the person who made the bag on the tag. The proceeds from these bags go to help women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda.

Do It Yourself - DIY - artisans also do amazing things to reuse materials and reduce waste. We have one on our staff, Julie Harries, who has fashioned change purses from reclaimed Equal Exchange coffee bags. We sell these for under $5 - they are a steal! As consumers, we have the power to change things by consciously making the switch to reusable bags. Let's do our part!

Bloomingarts Series

The BloomingArts Series exists to support and promote emerging artists, highlight community organizations, and provide artists in neighboring counties a place to show their work in Bloomington. We use the café spaces at our East 3rd Street & West 6th Street locations to feature new art each month. To learn more, contact Jean Kautt.