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Daughter Of Plastic Bag Inventor Fights To Eliminate Disposables

Daughter Of Plastic Bag Inventor Fights To Eliminate Disposables

When Kristen Brown helped her late father, Gordon Dancy, market his latest invention as a teenager, she thought she was helping to save the planet by eliminating resource-intensive paper bags.

She never imagined that as an adult, she’d be working to eliminate that same invention.

Dancy, as it turns out, invented and helped popularize the high-density plastic bag that now clutters the landfills and waterways of almost every major city in the world.

Today, Brown is a consultant for the US EPA, and has built a career around teaching cities how to reduce waste and eliminate unsightly litter–especially disposable plastic bags.

This October, Brown turned her efforts to the supermarket industry in the MY ECO School Reuse Challenge. It’s a collaborative challenge that pairs schools with local grocery stores to ignite behavior change from disposable plastic and paper bags towards reuse.

Brown says that if 100 families reuse their bags each week for one year, a school can prevent 100,000 disposable plastic bags from entering the waste stream.

The Challenge uses the MY ECO Shopping bag system, a 4-in-1 reusable bag system that Brown created after constantly forgetting to take her own bags into the store when shopping.

Students sell the bags as a fundraiser for their school, and their store partner rewards the families each time they use the system through a special bag code.

“Staring with the next generation of shoppers, we need to actively promote change from the bottom up,” say Brown. “In the next 5 years, it is our goal is to create partnerships between 4,000 stores and 10 million students.”

Teachers and kids can find information on how to register their school at

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4:54AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

We should join force

4:24PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Reuse! Recycle! I always bring my own bag to market. Thanks for the reminder. Bravo Ms. Brown!

4:22PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Reuse! Recycleg. I always bring my own bag to market. Thanks for the reminder.

10:54AM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

In my part of the world, only a few small, responsible retailers dispense bio-degradable plastic bags. Local government doesn't respect these retailers by mandating the same responsible practice on all the other retailers in their region.

In India, the offensive plastic bags are collected and turned into beautiful new products by at least one female entrepreneur. By contrast, our unsustainable level of waste and damaging pollution is just one aspect of the cruel and unhealthy side of industrialised living / mass production.

So many have been led so far astray. Instead of true leaders, we're generally stuck with marionettes who blindly follow the failed rules of "modern economy". Join AVAAZ today.

9:50PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

Thank you Beth.

9:00PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

interesting comments!
TY Beth!

9:08AM PST on Jan 8, 2011 both vehicles. I shop enroute to a location and only purchase a few items. I request no bag. Also, our store has an inhouse open-top bin which allows other's (at their own discretion) use.

7:19AM PST on Dec 15, 2010

I don't understand the question. Do I forget my plastics bags? Yes - in the sense that I usually use my cloth bags and so dont think about them. Are you asking if I forget to resuse plastic bags? Still nonsensical because I do my best to not get them in the first place.

9:55PM PST on Dec 14, 2010


6:56PM PST on Dec 11, 2010

Great job!

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I applaud it and hope the ban will become national, thank you for sharing.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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