Man Held in Rwanda Over Smuggled Polythene Bags

In an article that appeared on the Sunday Times this week, a man was detained by the police in Rwanda after being caught smuggling a shipment of polythene bags into the country, which are considered an environmental hazard by the Rwandan government. According to correspondent Laurent Kamana, the man was found in possession of 200 packets of the plastic bags, amounting to approximately 40,000 pieces in total. The suspect, identified as Maurice Bizumuremyi, brought the bags in from Burundi, and was taking them to a client in Kimironko, Kigali City. Kamana reports:

Boston Lawmakers Recommend 'Safer Alternatives' Bill

Contributor Andy Metzger of the Lowell Sun, Massachusetts reports that in addition to being excluded from baby bottles by legislation already, bisphenol A is now being challenged with potential restriction from children's toys by a few of Boston's lawmakers. Senator Karen Spilka, a Democratic representative from Ashland, is one of the driving forces behind the push to eliminate bisphenol A from children's toys.

Bipartisan Bill in Oregon Could Take Toxic Toys Off the Market

According to an article in the Lund Report last week, Oregon lawmakers are now considering a bill which would --if passed-- require manufacturers to report if their products contain any of 19 chemicals identified as harmful and dangerous by the state. Once reported, these manufacturers would then be required to begin phasing out the use of the harmful chemicals, with complete elimination within five years.

European Commission Announces Green Paper to Target Plastic Waste

In a bid to halt the progression of waste and pollution cluttering the planet, the European Commission has announced the publication of a Green Paper focusing on a "European strategy on plastic waste in the environment", according to a press release from the Commission earlier this month. The paper was announced at the "Zero Waste Conference" held by the European Parliament.

European Union MEPs Call for Clampdown on Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

In a move that enjoyed wide support in the European Union parliament, a new proposal was introduced last week which would list chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties as "substances of very high concern", enabling a more certain protection of women and infants' health. The proposal has called upon the precautionary principle, which acknowledges that there are still uncertainties regarding the impact of hormone imitating substances, but insists that until it can be proven that these chemicals do not represent a threat to consumers, they should be avoided.

Coca-Cola Wins Case Against Recycling in Australia, Calls Police on Protesters

In an unsettling turn of events this weekend, Coca-Cola has won a Federal court case in Australia against a Northern Territory recycling scheme which was poised to help reduce the number of plastic bottles and products which currently trash the landscape. The court decision relates to an attempt in January of 2012 by the Northern Territory to institute a deposit scheme for used bottles and cans.

Reusable Bags Show Hawaii Bag Ban Success

A plastic bag ban in Hawaii has been applauded as a success story in an article on West Hawaii Today, which shared that the recently instituted plastic bag ban has reduced plastic bag usage, with 80% of shoppers now bringing their own bags. Reporter Nancy Cook Lauer writes that staff surveys were conducted in supermarkets across West and East Hawaii, and the results showed a greater acceptance of the bag ban than on Maui or Kauai. According to the article, reusable bag usage was at just 13% before the ban's implementation, displaying a huge increase. Writes Lauer:

Carmel-by-the-Sea Bans Plastic Bags

In an uplifting news article posted by the Monterey County Weekly, it was announced that as of February 3rd, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California has joined neighboring Monterey in banning plastic bags. The article, written by Kera Abraham, states that Carmel's ocean side location was an important factor in instituting a ban, following the increase in plastic found on the beaches there. Abraham published a comment from Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett, who felt strongly about the ban's importance.

California Plans to List Bisphenol A as Harmful Chemical

Part of California's Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it intends to add the chemical bisphenol A to its list of dangerous chemicals under Proposition 65, according to a new article from the San Jose Mercury News this weekend. Writes contributor Sandy Kleffman, the agency has stated that bisphenol A meets Prop. 65's standards for chemicals which pose a risk to human health. However, this change might not necessarily be the beginning of substantial change for consumers. Kleffman comments that:

Maine Environmental Board Backs BPA Ban Extension on Baby Products

An article from the Bangor Daily News has announced today that Maine's Board of Environmental Protection has agreed to support an extension of the state's current legislation on bisphenol A to include infant formula and baby food containers, according to contributor Matthew Stone. Stone writes that a unanimous decision to extend the ban was passed today, and that the Board voiced its concern for the contact that infants make with BPA through plastic on a day to day basis. Stone reports:

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