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A Bag's Life Launches at the Texas State Capitol

(Austin, TX) – Feb. 15, 2010 – A statewide plastic bag recycling awareness campaign in Texas called A Bag’s Life, which includes an interactive and educational website, an app that pinpoints nearly 1,800 drop-off sites by zip code and a make-your-own video contest, was launched today at the Texas State Capitol. Representatives from the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Keep Texas Beautiful, the Texas Department of Transportation, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling and the Texas Retailers Association were among those involved in the public-private partnership that kicked off the program.

A Bag’s Life, through quirky messaging like “Don’t treat me like trash” and “Gimme a second chance,” encourages Texans to reduce, reuse and recycle their free grocery bags. It also reminds consumers that other bags like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps used on products like paper towels or bottled water also can be dropped off at many retailers for recycling.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson called A Bag's Life a private-sector solution to a public issue. "Texans know it makes sense to reuse or recycle more plastic bags," Patterson said. "A Bag's Life brings retailers, state and local government officials and plastic bag producers together to work to reduce the number of bags in our landfills. And I think Texans working together can make a significant difference."

“Recycling makes sense and it provides the opportunity for consumers to take personal responsibility in our ongoing effort to protect our environmental resources,” said Commissioner Buddy Garcia. “Individually we can all make a significant difference in how plastic bags are reused and recycled.” Garcia, a commissioner with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, noted that while plastic bag recycling is not new to Texas, this unique program — a statewide educational partnership in which public and private groups work together to promote recycling plastic bags — certainly is.

"With more than 80,000 centerline miles of Texas roadways, TxDOT’s Don’t Mess with Texas® and A Bag's Life campaigns have partnered to reduce the amount of litter on Texas roadways,” said Steve Simmons, Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation. “We are proud to team up in this effort and believe this  artnership will increase awareness of this problem and will have a positive impact on the environment.”

“Today was a great day for Texans to step forward and individually pledge to take extra steps to reduce litter and make recycling work at home and in our communities,” said Ronnie Volkening, executive director of the Texas Retailers Association. “By taking the extra time to bring grocery bags back to the store to be recycled, people are giving that bag a second chance to be made into something else like outdoor decking, park benches, or even new bags. It’s a simple earth-friendly practice that can yield tremendous results.” Nationwide, plastic bag recycling is on the rise, with more than 832 million pounds recycled in 2008 — an

increase of 28 percent increase since 2005.

“Retailers across the state are well aware of the impact plastic bag litter has on our roadways and agricultural environment,” said John Howard, president of Keep Texas Beautiful. “That’s why nearly 1,800 retail stores are participating by offering their drop-off sites for consumers to recycle these bags — helping make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. Recycling helps alleviate plastic bag litter and is something we can all do by returning or reusing our plastic bags.”

The website for A Bag’s Life also has information about a make-it-yourself video contest for high school students and an easy to use recycle location finder that lists the nearest drop-off points for plastic bag and film recycling with a Google Maps option.

About A Bag’s Life in Texas
A Bag’s Life is a public educational campaign that unites non-profits, business, community and government organizations around the common goal of promoting the three R’s as they relate to plastic bags — reduce, reuse and recycle. Partners include: Keep Texas Beautiful, Texas Retailers Association, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Transportation’s Don’t Mess With Texas campaign, Texas Land Commission, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, Texas Restaurant Association, Texas Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores, Trex and the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council. Participating statewide retailers include Brookshire Brothers, Brookshire Grocery, HEB, JC Penney, Kroger, Lowes, Randalls, Super 1 Foods, Target, Tom Thumbs, United Supermarkets and Walmart.

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