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Aldi Plastic Fruit and Veggie Bags to Cost a 'Symbolic' Cent
By Wesley Rahn
Thin plastic produce bags are often used only once to carry fruits and vegetables home from the supermarket, and are then thrown away without a second thought.
Supermarket chain Aldi on Tuesday said that it would begin charging 1 cent for single-use plastic produce bags, starting this summer. It didn't offer an exact date. The company said it wanted its customers to "rethink" using smaller plastic bags.
The produce bags on offer will now be composed of biodegradable natural plastic made with raw material leftover from sugar production. Aldi supermarkets will also start offering a reusable alternative, nets to hold fresh fruit and vegetables, later in the year.
According to the German Environment Ministry, more than 3 billion of the thin plastic produce bags were used in 2018. That equates to roughly 40 per person, per year.
German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told Germany's dpa press agency that the move by Aldi was a positive sign that her policy to get German retailers to use less plastic was working.
"I have asked retailers to present me with concrete ideas by autumn on how supermarkets could clearly reduce the amount of plastic packaging in an ecologically sensible manner," said Schulze.
Symbolic Cents Against Plastic
Around three years ago, Aldi — like many other German supermarkets — decided to charge customers for larger plastic grocery bags at the register. According to the company, the use of the plastic bags in Germany has dropped since by two-thirds. Aldi cited this as evidence for the payment system bearing fruit.
"We are following a similar principle with the symbolic cent for our disposable plastic fruit and vegetable bags," said Kristina Bell, an Aldi corporate responsibility director, in a press release.
German environmental activists, however, said Aldi's initiative didn't go far enough.
Environmental Action Germany (DUH), a German environmental activism group, said in a statement released Tuesday, that Aldi's move was "purely a symbolic policy" and would not be effective in getting consumers to stop using the bags.
"If Aldi is serious about protecting the environment, then the single-use produce bags should cost at least 22 cents," said DUH's acting director, Barbara Metz, in a press release. "This amount would actually mean the end for this particularly short-lived product."
DUH cited Ireland as an example, where a fee of 22 cents for larger shopping bags drastically reduced their usage. The group argued that if a fee of more than 20 cents worked with normal-sized bags, it would be especially effective with the smaller produce bags.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.
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By Johnny Wood
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By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.