Andy Shrader wrote -Green Vets LA and Homeboy Industries propose the “LA Epic Reusable Bag Giveaway” pilot program, to create and distribute 10,000 reusable shopping bags (with an overall goal of 4 million) in lower-income Los Angeles neighborhoods as the City’s plastic bag ban goes into effect. Using informational inserts in the bags, we will spread the word about cost-savings and environmentally-urgent energy efficiency and water conservation programs so that bag recipients can also reduce their utility bills.
This program will positively impact communities in four different ways:
1) immediately increasing stable income and employment for two of LA’s most at-risk populations: homeless, disabled and returning combat veterans, and formerly-gang involved and recently-incarcerated men and women;
2) Educating low-income and traditionally difficult-to-reach populations about ways to reduce their monthly utility and shopping bills by learning about new energy efficiency and water conservation measures introduced by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP).
3) …while improving environmental quality by reducing energy use, and reducing the use of single-use plastic shopping bags which often become blight and part of the litter stream in our neighborhoods and waterways;
4) and building a bridge of social connectedness between two previously disparate communities who share similar challenges around assimilation and acceptance into the mainstream society.
The LA Epic Reusable Bag Giveaway pilot project will employ Green Vets LA veterans in making 25,000 reusable shopping bags, and Homeboy Industries in silk-screening them, and will engage the community organizations LA Conservation Corps, California Greenworks, Heal the Bay, Sustainable Works, Green Education, Inc, and Environment California in distributing the bags.
Once the pilot project is up and running, California Greenworks will continue the “LA Epic Reusable Bag Giveaway” fundraising process by involving local businesses (such as grocery stores, local utilities such as LADWP, sports teams such as the Dodgers, film studios, et al) to sponsor the project in exchange for their logos being imprinted upon durable shopping bags that will be used weekly by Los Angeles consumers for the five to ten year expected life of these durable shopping bags. (Nobody knows quality and durability like combat veterans.)