Guest Post from Harmony…Exposing the Truth…

This image (from the current UC Davis BAG show) shows 1,000 bags the amount estimated that is used by the typical California couple in just one year.
You may have heard about the recent study that found lead residue in those reusable non-woven-polypropylene bags that are sold at grocery store check outs.  In my own town they sell these "re-usable" bags for 99 cents.  Seriously cheap.
Now, I am NOT a big fan of these petroleum based bags.  They don't last all that long -- according to my friend Jane with regular use and washing (to avoid contamination) they start to deteriorate in less than 6 months.  This is better than the single-use plastic bags which are used for an average of 12 minutes before being discarded.  However, most non-woven-polypropylene bags are made in China - which means a big carbon footprint in transportation.  Frankly, I am not surprised or shocked to hear there is lead being found in these bags. 
 BUT... when a study like this comes out and the message from their Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson is:  “Environmental activists are trying to have it both ways. They’ve spent decades campaigning against lead in paint, toys, and even packaging, but when it comes to their own sacred cow, they seem willing to ignore the issue.”  Concluded Wilson: “In the end, retailers shouldn’t have been goaded into selling these bags in the first place. They were merely doing their best to respond to environmental activists’ demands.” I BEG TO DIFFER!  I do not and never have wanted to replace one short sighted idiotic solution with another equally stupid one especially when there is a MUCH better, easy solution!

A cotton fabric bag (preferable made out of reused material) will last MANY years, decompose at the end of its life, NOT contain lead, NOT pollute our land and water and can be fun and stylish.  Don't replace a bad solution with another bad one, please. 
Anytime I see a "study" that implies reusable bags are "bad" I get suspicious.  This was NO exception.  My first question is always, who funded this study.  (The last one you may remember about the tainted bags was paid for by the plastic industry.)  This one comes to us from the Center for Consumer Freedom.  Well that sounds good, right?  Wrong... it didn't take much diggin' to discover that this positive sounding group was actually, a non-profitAmerican lobby group.  A lobby group?  For whom?  

The Channel 7 expose: 
Lobbyists Hide Behind Non-Profit Fronts calls the CCF  part of the "non-profit front groups to push their corporate messages".

"Berman set up the 
Center for Consumer Freedom and a number of other tax exempt educational organizations. And those educational non-profits all seem to support messages that dove tail nicely with the food beverage and tobacco industries that have hired Richard Berman."

I looked at the CCF's 2005 990 tax return (most recent one I could find) and found that their revenue was close to $3.5 million dollars with Richard Berman only being paid $18,000 for his services as executive director and president but $1.3 million being paid to Berman and Company for managing services (of which Richard Berman is the sole owner and president) and did I mention both share office space too.  The bulk of the other monies appear to be spent on "educational advertisements, press releases, opinion editorials," etc.  Some of the other website gems that CCF runs are: and just to name a couple.   I think CCF should stand for Center for Confusing Facts.

 from CCF says,  “As an advocate for consumer choice I believe consumers should have the option of using lead-free plastic and paper bags when they’re bringing home their groceries.”I say, "As an advocate for clean oceans and land I believe consumers should be smart enough to use lead-free, plastic-free, paper-free fabric bags when bringing home their groceries."   
ok... I'll jump off my soap box now.  Sheesh.

To end this long post on a positive note, "Yesterday, the Marin County (CA) Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban single-use takeout bags."  You can read the article in the local paper here.  Three Cheers for Marin! Harmony Susalla, Harmony Art Organic Design

1 comment:

mb said...

thank you for spreading this info! it was an easy read for me since i already saw it on harmony's page. ;) such important stuff.