NPR: How Green Is it?

If you missed NPR’s All Things Considered in August you can still read and listen to the program on their Web site. They did a series on what  Americans are doing and buying to help the environment and analyzed how green these things really are. The series included:  green cars, bring your own bags, green electricity, replacement window, energy star and bamboo.

Paper or Plastic … or reusable

Do you give out bags with checked out items at the library? Plastic? Paper? Reusable with the library logo?  A recent article in the WSJ takes a look at the factors of all types of bags and provides some good data and explanations of paper vs plastic debate. here is the chart from the article that simplifies the concepts:


(a personal comment on resuable bags and forgetting them:  its just about making it a  habit, like remembering your wallet.  keeping one of the many bags we get free at library conferences in your car OR get a small one (like these!) to keep in your backpack or purse would make it easy too remember!)

Libraries & the Local Famer’s Market?

While I was at the local farmer’s market this Saturday morning, enjoying such things as the seasonable fruit & veggies, homemade breads & pastries, beautiful flowers, I thought of how the library could be involved in such a wonderful, “green,” community event.  If bringing a load of books (on gardening, healthy living, organic lifestyles, etc. )for people to check out on the spot is too much to to lug, what about a table selling your cloth library bags? Now people at the market can use their personal cloth bag and be supporting the library at the same time. I’m sure there are libraries already involved in this type of activity and other great ideas you might have to become involved so please share.

Hands free browsing & canvas bags for check out

Great idea!  From a comment posted on LibraryStuff in early February:

“Our Friends of the Harborfields Library, Greenlawn, New York, have donated 50 new green canvas tote bags to the Library. We have cataloged them and our patrons can check them out for 21 days, they have become so popular, that after the first 2 weeks, all the bags were out, each day a few come back and then go out abain. Our patrons love the hands free browsing ability the bags give them. The Friends of the Library are also selling the same bags for $10 and have sold a few dozen. The bags were purchased from JanWay
Very inexpensive. Carol Albano, Director”

Cloth Library Bags for Sale

I have been using cloth bags for grocery store shopping for years now. Not only do you get a discount for each one at many stores but they are sturdier and larger than plastic bags great for heavy items. And many stores (such as Whole Foods) are no longer using plastic bags at all, encouraging people to bring their own bags, backpacks, etc. As someone commented on my blog, Ireland since 2002, has been charging a 33 cent tax on plastic bags! Other countries like China are charging for use of plastic bags and Israel has a bill out right now for the same concept. San Francisco was the first us city to ban plastic bags last year with more of this trend to come I’m sure.

So why not try some marketing for your library and raise a little money in the process, by creating and selling cloth bags with your library’s logo on them. Most libraries have a company to buy “swag” from – check and see if they offer personalized cloth bags. Here is an example from janway.