Add Matt Lauer, host of NBC's "Today" show, to the list of celebrities who are taking a stand against plastic bags. According to the Business & Media Institute Web site, Lauer "pestered shoppers at a Manhattan grocery store for the last installment of the “Today Goes Green” series on January 25."
“Paper or plastic? Turns out the right answer should be neither,” Lauer said, adding that Americans dispose of 100 billion plastic bags every year. “And where does it all go? Everywhere. Just about every piece of plastic we've every used still exists, clogging up landfills, spilling over the landscape for washing out to sea.” “I'm on the prowl for victims, converts in our growing movement,” Lauer said while roaming the aisles of an upscale Food Emporium store in the Bridgemarket neighborhood of New York City. He stopped shoppers to ask questions like, “Do you have any idea how many plastic bags you accumulate in the average month?”According to the report, Lauer was mostly encouraging shoppers to use reusable totes instead of paper or plastic. He told one that "If you think that we throw away a hundred billion plastic a year, it's like taking 12 million barrels of oil and dumping it down the drain." The Business & Media Institute report -- the group says its mission is to "audit the media's coverage of the free enterprise system ... to bring balance to economic reporting and to promote fair portrayal of the business community in the media" -- notes that "...the United States imported more than 10 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2006. Even if Lauer's figure is accurate, plastic bags account for only 0.32 percent of the oil imported into the United States every year." Much of the mainstream media clearly is embracing the "use less stuff" movement, which in large part seems to be a "use less plastics" movement. Are consumers following their lead? And how will it impact plastics product manufacturers?