Buone notizie (good news) In a nation known for its food as well as fashion, where most purchases are enshrouded in the ubiquitous plastic bag, Italy has the distinction of becoming the first nation to ban the production of plastic bags. In Italy, existing stocks of plastic bags are being phased out and plastic bags will no longer be produced or available. Choices will be confined to recycled paper or bioplastic material that’s made from renewable, biodegradable sources such as corn starch. It is a long way from fashion giant to green guru, but we are also seeing more and more resuable bags in our stores, canvas or otherwise. With luck, Prada, Pucci and other designers may take their turn at producing an environmentally friendly reusable designer shopping bag.
Concerns that lead Italy to enact this law were threefold: over one trillion plastic bags are produced annually in the world that can remain in the environment for up to 1000 years; countless animals including whales, tortoises and marine birds suffer needless deaths, some to the point of extinction and third, the toxic danger to humans from carcinogenic dyes, metals and other chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
On our latest visit to Italy I was amazed and heartened by their recycling efforts. Even the most remote and difficult to access location benefits from recycling efforts. At the home in the hills of Lucca where we stayed, there was a most detailed system of recycling. Here is the description by my amica Rosemaria.
“We put out bottles and plastic (blue bag) on Monday and Friday. Organic waste, food and food leftovers, (brown box) on Tuesday and Saturday. Wednesday is a gray bag with non recyclables, Thursday is paper and cardboard boxes which we have to flatten before we put them out! There is no collection on Sundays but during the week, even if it is a public holiday, things are picked up.”
At home, Donna Reno, one of the directors of Edible Community Gardens Project has launched an initiative called the REUSE CAMPAIGN. The campaign is part of a green movment to remove plastic from our farmers markets. The biodegradable bag that is made from corn has already been introduced into the Pinecrest Farmers Market with great success. Can the Coral Gables Farmers Market be far behind? Hmmmm….. next stop Publix Market? Chissa (who knows).
What recycling or green efforts are being made in your community?