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E-M:/ RE: E/M Take a tip from Denmark and the EU

Enviro-Mich message from "Rohrer, Thomas K" <rohre1tk@cmich.edu>

Thanks for your note.  I was going to mention the beer and soft drink bottle system but ran out of time.  Of course, I haven't checked out all the brands.  Tuborg and Carlsberg, the two major national breweries, all use reusable bottles and crates.  There are a total of 229 breweries in DK, including some excellent microbrews.  It appears that they all also use the same system. So far, I have only tried 87 of them, though.  So many beers, so little time......   :-)


From: Eric Piehl [mailto:eric.piehl@gmail.com]
Sent: Thu 3/29/2007 11:13 PM
To: Rohrer, Thomas K; 'Anna Dorothy Graham'; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: RE: E/M Take a tip from Denmark and the EU

When I was in Denmark, all beer came in the the *same* *refillable* bottles, and all breweries had to use them.  Pop all came in a different bottle, but *all the same* as each other, also *refillable*.  Like here 40 years ago, except that there were only two types of bottles in the country.
Each came with a hefty deposit, and came in a strong plastic case, also with a hefty deposit.  Everything refunded when you bring it back, and they all were, even the caps.
No reusable containers (e.g., cans) were used only for export.  Although oddly enough, milk came in floppy plastic bags, and when you wanted to use them, you plopped it in a reusable pitcher at home with a little plastic spike in the bottom.  So everything is reused, but one thin floppy bag.
So sensible.  So easy.  There *are* solutions to these problems.  So why does my Meijers insist on putting only one thing in a bag?  When I ask that she fill my bags to the top (should be easy since I put my heavy stuff first and fluffy stuff last), and not to put 2-litters or soap boxes in a bag at all, they get snooty sometimes.  When they fail to comply, and I pull my stuff out leaving the bags on their filling circle, sometimes they use it for the next person, and sometimes they throw it away!  Waste!  I love that link below's call that a "gradual shift of today's taxes away from personal income and capital towards taxes on consumption, pollution, and inefficient use of energy and resources can boost employment, eco-innovation and protect the environment.".
Carbon-extraction tax--count me in!

From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Rohrer, Thomas K
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:23 AM
To: Anna Dorothy Graham; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: E-M:/ RE: / ban on plastic grocery bags --- Take a tip from Denmark and the EU


Take a Tip from Denmark


Earlier this month I returned from my fourth trip to Denmark.  The Danes, and most other Europeans, would not think of going to the grocery store without bringing along a reusable fabric tote bag in which to carry their purchases home.  


Plastic or paper bags are not provided free with every purchase.  If one needs a bag, they are available in the check out lane for purchase.  A medium-sized, heavy duty, reusable plastic bag costs two Danish Krone (about 35 cents at the current exchange rate).  Very few of these are sold as most folks are very environmentally aware and are in the habit of bringing bags with them when they come in to shop.  Also the "free market" system of charging a fee for each bag encourages conservation and reuse.  The same is true at hardware stores, drug stores, etc.  The 25% VAT tax on the bags that are sold goes to support recycling centers.


It could work here.  Simple solution.


Publications on a variety of environmental policies and their effectiveness in the European Union can be found at the European Environmental Agency (EEA) website.  Link to the English language version of their website is here:




The EEA is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark near Nyhaun.  A brief review of their publications will provide examples of many working, sustainable policies on conservation of natural resources, energy, recycling, transportation systems, agriculture, etc.  They are decades ahead of us.  


Denmark, about half the size of Michigan with about half the population (4.5 million) is energy self-sufficient due in large part to wind power.  CAFO excrement is treated the same as human sewage in secondary WWTPs.  Gasoline is $2/liter with 80% of the fuel tax supporting public transportation systems (the rest is for road maintenance).  They have the highest standard of living in Europe (including universal health care), and some of the highest tax rates.  The economy is booming.  Compare that to the diminishing quality of life in Michigan, due at least in part to our low taxes and structural budget deficits.  Food for thought. 





-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Anna Dorothy Graham
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 8:25 AM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: E-M:/ ban on plastic grocery bags



Enviro-Mich message from "Anna Dorothy Graham" <grahama9@msu.edu>



Wouldn't this be nice to see in Michigan?  From CNN:



SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- San Francisco's Board of Supervisors 

voted Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags from large 

supermarkets to help promote recycling. 


Under the legislation, beginning in six months large supermarkets and 

drugstores will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum 



"Many [foreign] cities and nations have already implemented very similar 

legislation," said Ross Mirkarimi, the city legislator who championed the 

new law. "It's astounding that San Francisco would be the first U.S. city to 

follow suit." 


"I am hopeful that other U.S. cities will also adopt similar legislation," 

he said. "Why wait for the federal government to enact legislation that gets 

to the core of this problem when local governments can just step up to the 



The city's Department of the Environment said San Francisco uses 181 million 

plastic grocery bags annually. Plans dating back a decade to encourage 

recycling of the bags have largely failed, with shoppers returning just one 

percent of bags, said department spokesman Mark Westland. 


Mirkarimi said the ban would save 450,000 gallons of oil a year and remove 

the need to send 1,400 tons of debris now sent annually to landfills. The 

new rules would, however, allow recyclable plastic bags, which are not 

widely used today. 


A spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who must approve or veto 

the legislation, called it sensible. "Chances are good that he is going to 

sign it," said Nathan Ballard. 



Anna Kirkwood Graham, J.D., Ph.D.

"There is no trifling with nature; it is always true, grave and severe; it 

is always in the right, and the faults and errors fall to our share."

 -- Goethe

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