Mainstream Green in the News: Provided Thousands of Reusable Shopping Bags to Food Pantries

Many people have expressed concern about the impact that plastic shopping bag bans would have on  low income people. Mainstream Green has addressed this issue in a number of ways, including donating thousands of reusable bags to food pantries throughout Onondaga County NY, and using social media to suggest that other charities in other counties and states take the same action.

In this video, which was a news story produced by Spectrum News CNY, Mainstream Green's President, Dana Johnston, talks about how reusable bags are an investment in our children's children's futures. Click on the image to open a new window with the video.

MLK Day: Lifting #EnvironmentalJustice with Reusable Bags

MainstreamGreen has eliminated the waste of 364,000 single use plastic shopping bags this year alone by donating thousands of reusable shopping bags to food pantries in Onondaga County, NY.  Here Mainstream Green's president, Dana Johnston, delivers 200 bags for distribution at the Martin Luther King day of service celebration at Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc.

Mainstream Green donates reusable shopping bags on Martin Luther King Day of Service, Syracuse NY

#EnvironmentalJustice   #DoTHISwhereYOUlive



NY Gov. Cuomo proposes ban on single use styrofoam


New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today proposed a new law the prohibiting distribution and use of expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, single-use food containers. The proposal also bans the sale of expanded polystyrene packaging materials known as packing peanuts. Additionally, the bill would authorize the State Department of Environmental Conservation to review and take action to limit or ban other packaging material upon a finding of environmental impact. This would be the strongest statewide Styrofoam ban in the United States and would go into effect by January 1, 2022.

"Styrofoam is one of the most common pollutants and a public health hazard that impacts humans and the environment alike," Governor Cuomo said. "From take-out containers to packing peanuts, this material is everywhere and it will continue to pollute our waters and harm our wildlife for generations to come if we do not act. With this proposal, we can build on our nation-leading initiatives to protect the environment and move New York another step closer to a greener, more sustainable future."

The new legislation will:

  • Ban the distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam containers used for prepared foods or beverages served by food service establishments, including restaurants, caterers, food trucks, retail food stores, delis and grocery stores.
  • Ban the sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging, commonly known as packing peanuts.
  • Authorize the State Department of Environmental Conservation to take additional action to limit or ban other packaging material upon a finding of environmental impact.

The ban exempts prepackaged food sealed prior to receipt at a restaurant or food service establishment, as well as packaging for uncooked or raw meat, fish or eggs.

The proposal specifies that the new law will take effect no later than Jan. 1, 2022.  Mainstream Green urges everyone to not wait until a law passes to stop accepting Take out food, or restaurant service presented in Styrofoam.  Bring your own containers and ask the establishment to put your food directly in it.

Disposable polystyrene plastic food containers are widespread pollutantsExpanded polystyrene foam is one of the top ten contributors to environmental litter. The EPA estimates that the U.S. produces more than 3 million tons of polystyrene, which are non-biodegradable. These containers often break down overtime and enter waterways and wildlife areas as microplastics, where they pollute water sources and harm wildlife that ingest them. Human exposure to styrene, the primary chemical in polystyrene foam, is primarily through inhalation in the manufacturing sector. The National Toxicology Program has determined styrene is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." Small amounts of styrene can also be transferred to food from styrene-based packaging materials.

Look what Mainstream Green’s #PlasticFreeFridays Facebook Group Led To!

Marcellus biology teacher makes news with Boomerang Bags

When Marcellus High School chemistry teacher Ellen Spencer started following Mainstream Green's  "#Plastic Free Fridays" group on Facebook, "a group dedicated to helping its followers find ways to use less plastic, she had no idea she would start a movement in her town, "  and be the subject of this Syracuse . com story.  We congratulate Ellen Spencer on her initiative, creativity, persistence and we congratulate the Town of Marcellus NY for having such a great teacher,  and a community that pitches in to help the planet.

Read the news story here:

Marcellus NY teacher Ellen Spencer started a Boomerang Bag program in her town

Marcellus NY chemistry teacher, Ellen Spencer, started a Boomerang Bags program in her town.

Mainstream Green Launches Reusable Shopping Bags for Food Pantries Program


One Food Pantry Director's Thoughts on Mainstream Green's program:

"With the availability of reusable bags you have given us, Mainstream Green empowers all of us to participate in NY State's ban on plastic and contribute to the global movement of community environmental health. With the bags we are enabled to educate and reinforce to our community the detriments of single use plastic bags while creating a user friendly option of moving their foods. We have struggled with moving all of University United Methodist Church efforts, activities and events into a more green methodology. Our largest barrier has been the cost of reusable bags and the elimination of plastic in our Food Pantry. You have eliminated this barrier. We have created a distribution plan and incentives to ensure the bags are brought back each month. We strive to have all folk who access our Food Pantry utilizing their new bags in the New Year and well on their way to new habits that create a healthier city for us all." --  Galyn Murphy-Stanley, University United Methodist Church Food Pantry, Syracuse NY

Reusable shopping bags given to Onondaga County food pantry by Mainstream Green

Mainstream Green distributed 3500 reusable bags to patrons of food pantries in Onondaga County NY
Plastic bags flyaway litter

720,000 plastic bags used every hour in USA

US consumers throw away 100 billion bags each year

That's like dumping out 12 million barrels of oil every year

3500 reusable bags will replace more than 182,000 plastic bags in one year


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Syracuse's NE Community Center Food Pantry received reusable bags from Mainstream Green
Patrons of Syracuse's Grace Church Food Pantry received reusable bags from Mainstream Green

No bag for milk, please!

By the time you get through your supermarket checkout line, you may have your mind on the next item on your to-do list and not on what your checker person is saying when they ask you if you want them to put your  gallon of milk in a bag. You may not even hear them ask. Then suddenly you see yourself leaving the store with the greatest ocean pollutant, enemy of fish and wildlife, the sewer-clogging, petroleum wasting, BPA-spreading blight that is the flimsy, yet  ultimately indestructible disposable carryout plastic shopping bag. Milk jugs do not need bags.