Beyond the Plastic Bag: Sparking a Seachange for Reuse

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While we know the greenest bag is the one a customer already owns, and the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag is advancing research and testing to increase instances of customers bringing their own bags, the focus of this report is specific to the testing of reusable bag systems undertaken in summer 2021. We share our learnings from conducting first-of-a-kind reusable bag pilots across select CVS Health, Target and Walmart stores, where customers could “borrow” a bag and use it multiple times before returning it at the same or a different brand’s store to be washed, redistributed and reused by other customers.

Why do some people in New Jersey suddenly have bags and bags of bags?

Read the full story in the New York Times.

A ban on single-use plastic and paper bags in grocery stores had an unintended effect: Delivery services switched to heavy, reusable sacks — lots of them.

Oakland, California, planning e-bike library to cut congestion and carbon

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

The city is using a state grant to offer bicycle lending — along with instruction on how to ride a bike and maintenance — in low-income neighborhoods.

From eBay to apps: How reselling has become more efficient with technology

Read the full story at Waste360.

In 1995, eBay was founded and was an overnight success. Since then, numerous other reselling websites have sprung up which has resulted in a vast digital marketplace for those looking to get into the business. While the idea of selling used items has been around for centuries, it is the prominence of these digital reselling platforms that are allowing this waste-reducing tradition to permeate the 21st century during the age of online commerce.

Samsung will let you fix your own phone, if you dare

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Samsung said this week that customers who want to try their hands at fixing gadgets can now buy genuine smartphone and tablets parts from repair resource website iFixit, as well as from Samsung’s Experience stores across the country.

The push to make at least some of its gadgets more easily repairable comes amid a broader national conversation about the right to fix the products we buy, spurred mostly by heightened scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission beginning last year. Since then, Apple launched a self-service repair program of its own, while Google partnered with iFixit to offer tools and genuine parts to would-be tinkerers.

But like some of those other self-service programs, Samsung’s approach comes with a few quirks.

You wouldn’t believe how many different things in this grocery store are reused

Read the full story at Fast Company.

When the Vancouver-based grocer Nada set out to open its first store, founders Brianne Miller and Alison Carr knew the design couldn’t just be something off the shelf. As a packaging-free grocer, where customers use empty pickle jars and salsa tubs to bring home the goods they buy, Nada’s ethos of reuse had to be integrated into the way the store looked and felt.

“We are big proponents of making use of things that already exist. It’s one of the best things we can do for the planet,” Miller says. “We really wanted everything we did to reflect that.”

So along with designers from the firm ZAS Architects, they began scouring the market for secondhand materials to outfit the space. At the same time, a Sears department store in the area went out of business. Suddenly the market was flooded with retail store furnishings.

Gen Z and Millennial fashionistas grapple with secondhand fashion over conflicting values

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

At first look, the ongoing surge in apparel thrifting and online resale appears to be a resounding win for the environment. With fewer barely-worn garments ending up in landfills, a lower overall carbon footprint and reduced water and fertilizer consumption, how could it not be? Of course, while all of those benefits are certainly a boon, there is a caveat. Instead of abating fast fashion, secondhand marketplaces have gotten in on the trade.

Using standards to promote the reuse of rare earth materials

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Rare earths are a key material used in hard disk drives used in servers. Mining of rare earths has significant impacts on water and soil quality, generates waste, and requires energy use. Reusing rare earths can help reduce the impacts of mining as well as increase the resiliency and security of the United States by ensuring access to these materials for new products. The U.S. government has indicated its interest in increasing recycling of rare earths and other critical minerals in EO 14017 (America’s Supply Chains). EPA initiated development of criteria to include in NSF/ANSI 426 addressing these issues. EPA conducted outreach to and collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Critical Materials Institute, Seagate (a major disk drive manufacturer), the Global Electronics Council (GEC), and other experts, encouraging them to participate in an NSF task group that would explore options and develop criteria for possible inclusion in NSF/ANSI 426.

She gave away her wedding gown on Facebook. Soon others did the same.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

“I didn’t want to spend so much money on a dress that I would put in a box and never wear again,” she said. “That’s just not me.”

So, Stulgis came up with a plan. After her wedding on May 6, she would gift the dress to a bride-to-be who otherwise couldn’t afford a gown.

“I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to keep,” said Stulgis, who paid for the dress in monthly installments up until just before her wedding.

Knowing how exorbitant gowns can get — the average price of a bridal gown last year was about $1,800 — she decided to give it away rather than sell it.

‘The golden age of thrifting is over’

Read the full story in the New York Times.

A glut of fast fashion has made its way into local thrift stores, making it hard for women who have been purchasing secondhand for decades to find quality garments they can wear.