The Immortal Plastic Bag: a Short Film About Plastic Bags in NYC

The Immortal Plastic Bag is a short film by Joe Harvell, Aaron Reiss, and Jamie Hefetz featured in today.  The film details some of the harms caused by plastic carryout bags in New York City, particularly how plastic bags clog machinery at the City’s recycling facilities.

Since the film was made, plastic bag legislation was introduced in NYC Council that would require a 10-cent minimum charge on all carryout bags.  To get involved please visit and fill out this online petition.

Plastic Bag Bill Introduced in NYC Council, Awaits Hearing in Sanitation Committee

Last month, NYC Council Members introduced legislation aimed at reducing plastic bag consumption in NYC. Read the rest of this entry »

NYC Plastic Bag Press Conference On the Steps of City Hall Tuesday Aug 20th at 11am

Council Members Lander and Chin will be introducing legislation to reduce plastic bags in NYC this week!

There will be a press conference at 11:00am on Tuesday, August 20th on the steps of City Hall (260 Broadway) that we will need as many people as possible to attend. Please plan to arrive at 10:30 am. Let us know you are coming by joining our Facebook event.

Bring signs in support, but and leave sticks at home as all signs (and people) will have to pass through a security check.

Jennie’s Ocean Voyage: Short Film Released About 5 Gyres North Atlantic Gyre Expedition by Jeneene Chatowsky

***This is part of a series of personal blog entries by’s founder Jennie R. Romer, which will document her trip to study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Ocean with The 5 Gyres Institute.***

Here’s a short film by Jeneene Chatowsky about the sailing expedition that I in went on with The 5 Gyres Institute in June:

5 Gyres North Atlantic Gyre Expedition from Jeneene Chatowsky on Vimeo.

This film is part of a larger Plastic SEAS documentary series by Ms. Chatowsky that explores the connection between plastic pollution, the seas, and human health. The feature length Plastic SEAS documentary is expected to be released in 2014.


Here is another short film about plastic pollution in the ocean that specifically explores the plight of Laysan albatross plagued by ingestion of plastic trash:

MIDWAY: A Message from the Gyre – a film by Chris Jordan.



Jennie’s Ocean Voyage: Plastic Bag Sighted 142 Nautical Miles Out to Sea

***This is part of a series of personal blog entries by’s founder Jennie R. Romer, which will document her trip to study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Ocean with The 5 Gyres Institute.***

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my work on plastic bag reduction ordinances is what drew me to this sailing expedition – to study plastic in the ocean – but I didn’t expect to actually see any plastic bags in the open ocean.  My reasoning was that because plastic bags are thin films, if a plastic bag is floating on the surface of the ocean it will photodegrade relatively quickly into smaller and smaller particles.  I also figured that when plastic bags  become covered in sediment or algae they will become more dense and sink and that large waves from storm events will push plastic bags under the surface.

Read the rest of this entry »

Los Angeles City Bans Plastic Bags



Here is a press release from Health the Bay, one of the main groups that has been working on the issue in southern California for the last few years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release: New York City Takes On Plastic Bags – Council Member Brad Lander Discusses Upcoming Legislation This Monday

Click here for a PDF of the press release.


Read the rest of this entry »

Jennie’s Ocean Voyage: The Sea Dragon

***This is part of a series of personal blog entries by’s founder Jennie R. Romer, which will document her trip to study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Ocean with The 5 Gyres Institute.***

The Sea Dragon is the 72-foot sailboat used by The 5 Gyres Institute for many of its expeditions, including mine. I first learned about these expeditions out into the ocean to research plastic pollution several years ago by watching a Frontline documentary about the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to go. Then I became acquainted with non-profit groups, including 5 Gyres, conducting research voyages that “normal people” could raise money to take part in. These trips commonly required about 30 days or so commitment, and you had to raise $10k+ to join. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennie’s Ocean Voyage: There is a North Atlantic Garbage Patch, and I Need to See It

***This is the first in a series of personal blog entries by’s founder Jennie R. Romer, which will document her trip to study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Ocean with The 5 Gyres Institute.***

I first learned about ocean gyres in a very different context: As an undergrad marine biology student at UC Santa Barbara over a decade ago.  We learned about gyres, basically little vortexes in the ocean caused by currents, which caused upwellings of nutrients from the bottom of the ocean in certain places in the open ocean, which lead to blooms of zooplankton and a whole complex food web. Now I’m embarking on a sailing voyage to one of these gyres, the North Atlantic Gyre, with a research group looking at how these very same currents now accumulate trash in sections of the open ocean. Most of the trash observed tends to be plastic because plastic takes so long to degrade and much of this plastic observed is polyethylene because it tends to be slightly less dense than sea water and thus floats. Read the rest of this entry »

Sign a petiton to encourage a plastic bag reduction ordinance in NYC!

View the petition here.

Also please register at to get involved in NYC campaign & attend this event on June 24th with Council Member Brad Lander in Park Slope (event info pasted below):

Greenwood Baptist Church, 461 6th St. at the corner of 7th Ave
7:00 pm EST
Event to learn about single-use plastic
bag legislation being proposed in NYC, ask
questions, and find out how you can get

Dear Friends

On Monday June 24 at 7 PM, please join City Council Member Brad Lander, the Green Party of Brooklyn, Sierra Club, NRDC, No Impact Project, Citizens Committee for New York City, Sane Energy, NYC Friends of Clearwater, and BagItNYC for an informative evening to learn about the massive environmental impact that single-use plastic bags have in NYC, and the NYC campaign to do something about it.

This free event will take place at Greenwood Baptist Church, at 461 6th Street at the corner of 7th Avenue in Park Slope.


Speakers will include Council Member Brad Lander, who will be introducing legislation on plastic bags; Jennie Romer, who spear headed successful efforts in California to ban / restrict single use plastic bags and will discuss the various possible approaches (ban, fee, tax, etc); Colin Beavan (No Impact Man) and Carl Arnold (Sierra Club)

We will also air several short videos on plastic bags, including “The Immortal Plastic Bag,” a mini-documentary about plastic bags in NYC.

The event will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about this issue and find out how you can get involved with the plastic bag campaign in NYC.

Nationwide, only a small percentage of plastic bags are recycled. Instead, they end up sitting in landfills, littering streets, clogging streams, fouling beaches and trees, or floating in rivers and oceans. Over 267 different species, from seabirds to turtles, seals, sea lions, whales, and fish, have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris, including plastic bags. Plastic does not dissolve; it breaks into tiny pieces and stays there for up to 1,000 years.

Single use plastic bags have been banned or restricted in cities across the US, including California (75 local jurisdictions including LA County and San Francisco), Washington, DC and Austin, TX. In LA County, a ban on single-use plastic carryout bags and a 10-cent charge on paper bags lead to a 95% reduction in single-use plastic bags in the first year.

In a recent NY Times article, the city’s recycling director pointed out that “Plastic shopping bags are an enormous problem for New York City,” noting that the city pays $10 million annually to landfill 100,000 tons of plastic bags. When plastic bags are carelessly placed into recycling bins for general plastic — which they often are — the bags jam and damage expensive sorting machines, which cost huge amounts to repair.

For more information, please contact