Friday, February 27, 2009

Campaign to 'bag' plastic picking up

Mountain towns join friendly competition

REVELSTOKE, B.C. -- People several years have been marveling that old cooking oil used to cook French fries can also be used to fuel diesel engines. If only there was such a simple solution for plastic bags.

Canadian activist Tracey Saxby was in Revelstoke recently to discourage the use of plastic bags. The energy used to create 8.7 bags is the same as needed to drive the average car for a kilometer, she said. (Or, if you prefer, 14 bags will get you a mile).

Meanwhile, 25 mountain towns in Colorado and adjoining states have embarked in a friendly contest to see which can be the most effective reduce use of plastic bags.

The contest will run six months, from March through August. Grocery stories in each town will tally the number of reusable bags used. The winning community will get a $5,000 grant from the Alpine Bank to install a solar panel system at a local public school.

In addition to 17 towns in Colorado, the competition also includes three in the Sun Valley area plus Jackson, Wyo., and Park City, Utah. The competition is being promoted by the Colorado Association of Ski Towns.

The competition grew out of a contest last summer between Telluride and Aspen. Telluride won that tilt handily, using more than twice as many reusable bags per capita.

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