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   Non-TechMetabolix [MBLX] a Full Disclosure Thread


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From: richardred6/8/2007 7:51:26 PM
   of 78
 
DuPont Launches DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) - its Newest Renewably Sourced Polymer Family
Monday June 4, 9:00 am ET
Family of Polyols Contains 80-100 Percent Renewable Content While Enhancing Performance

WILMINGTON, Del., June 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DuPont (NYSE: DD - News) today announced its next polymer family made with renewable resources - DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM), which is made from 100 percent renewable resources. This patented new product line joins DuPont(TM) Sorona® as the newest polymer family made with corn instead of petroleum. Cerenol(TM) enhances the performance of a diverse portfolio of end-use products that range from running shoes and ski boots to cosmetics, automotive components and spandex fiber applications.


DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) is a family of renewably sourced, high-performance polyols (polyetherdiols). Cerenol(TM) can replace petroleum-based ingredients or finished products without compromising functionality. It offers value- added properties and can increase process efficiencies for a broad range of products in diverse markets including personal care, functional fluids and high-performance elastomers. Unlike petroleum-based or other plant-based alternatives, DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) is easily tailored to meet specific needs and performs better in many end uses while providing environmental benefits.

"Since customers want environmentally smart options that do not compromise performance, we are pleased to now offer both Sorona® and Cerenol(TM) -- two high-performance polymers that are engineered to meet or exceed the performance of their petroleum-based counterparts," said DuPont Bio-Based Materials Vice President & General Manager Peter C. Hemken.

DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) is named from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The liquid polyol is made using Bio-PDO(TM) from the DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products joint venture in Loudon, Tenn. Cerenol(TM) is the result of polymerizing Bio-PDO(TM) with itself. Compared to existing alternatives such as polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG), DuPont(TM) Cerenol(TM) has a significantly lower environmental footprint as determined by an ISO 14000- compliant Life Cycle Analysis, because from cradle to gate it has a 40 percent savings in non-renewable energy and 42 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Cerenol(TM) is being produced at DuPont operations in the United States and Canada.

Cerenol(TM) has a diverse portfolio of uses and benefits. For example, in personal care applications such as lotions, certain Cerenol(TM) grades provide a soft after-feel and reduce the need for certain additives. In some functional fluids such as heat transfer fluids, Cerenol(TM) offers a biodegradable fluid with excellent thermal conductivity. Cerenol(TM) is an ideal soft segment for several thermoplastic elastomers and thus enhances the performance of these elastomers. As an example, in spandex fibers it can replace the petrochemical soft segment of the polymer to provide better stretch recovery and an increase in the spinning speed of the fiber.

Cerenol(TM) will be the building block for two other renewably sourced products from DuPont. First, for new automotive primers and clearcoats from DuPont Performance Coatings that will be available in the first quarter of 2008, Cerenol(TM) provides increased chip resistance and flexibility. Second, grades of DuPont(TM) Hytrel® thermoplastic elastomers made with Cerenol(TM) will be available in late 2007 and will offer performance comparable to conventional grades.

DuPont's unique breadth of biology, chemistry and materials science, ranging from better seeds to value-added end-use products, has enabled the creation of DuPont(TM) Renewably Sourced Materials, where each product contains a minimum of 20 percent renewable content by weight. These high- performance products are sourced to a significant extent from renewable, sustainable agricultural feedstocks, rather than petroleum. Renewably Sourced Materials from DuPont help reduce the environmental footprint, promote rural development and increased markets for farmers around the world, and help reduce dependence on petrochemicals for everyday products. For more information about Cerenol(TM) and other Renewably Sourced Materials from DuPont, visit renewable.dupont.com.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont(TM), The miracles of science(TM), Cerenol(TM), Sorona® and Hytrel® are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Source: DuPont

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To: richardred who wrote (37)6/8/2007 7:52:29 PM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
Bio-Factory Producing Corn-Based Polymer
Friday June 8, 5:18 pm ET
By Duncan Mansfield, Associated Press Writer
DuPont, Tate & Lyle Begin Production of Corn-Based Polymer

LOUDON, Tenn. (AP) -- The nation's top energy official hailed on Friday the innovation behind chemical giant DuPont Co.'s new $100 million bioengineering joint-venture with multinational agri-processor Tate & Lyle PLC to produce a new biology-based polymer.

The Loudon plant is churning out a product derived from corn that the companies say can directly replace and improve upon petroleum-based ingredients in everything from carpets to clothes to cosmetics, saving energy and using renewable resources at the same time.

"The work that will be done here is on the leading edge of a biotechnology revolution, which I believe will change the way we power our cars, our trucks, our homes and our businesses," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said during a formal opening ceremony.

The plant is expected to make 100 million pounds of its bio-product annually. The plant may not reach full capacity for another year, but it already has shipped 85 rail cars of its bio-product since November.

"Up to this point, we have been focused on recycling products and putting that back in other products," said Jeffrey S. Lorberdaum, CEO of carpetmaker Mohawk Industries. "This is allowing us to take the next step in environmental sustainability."

By the fall, Mohawk will be marketing a line of carpet made entirely from the bio-ingredient from the Loudon plant.

DuPont and Tate & Lyle say their corn-based propanediol, or Bio-PDO, will find new uses because it helps fabrics take dyes more brilliantly, carpets become naturally stain resistant, face creams be gentler to the skin, and airplane de-icers biodegrade.

"It is the most significant invention since nylon," DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles "Chad" Holliday Jr. said in an interview with The Associated Press. The Wilmington, Del.-based company invented nylon in 1935.

"The functionality of this product is what really differentiates it," Iain Ferguson, chief executive of London-based Tate & Lyle, told the AP. "That gives us something which has a real edge."

The Loudon plant, about 35 miles south of Knoxville, uses corn sugar or glucose from an adjoining Tate & Lyle ethanol plant. An E. coli bacteria modified by DuPont scientists breaks down the glucose through a fermentation process much like making beer.

The result is a clear liquid compound that might be used in a quickly growing range of products, including fabrics, cosmetics, liquid detergents, boat hulls, ski boots and runway de-icers.

Brent Erickson, an executive vice president at the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington, D.C., said that while DuPont and Tate & Lyle are not alone, the commercialization of their Loudon plant was a significant development in what he termed the third wave of a biotech revolution that began 20 years ago in medicine and then agriculture about a decade ago.

"It has gone beyond the doctor's office into consumer goods and other products that we never imagined," he said.

Holliday and Ferguson said they have factored rising corn prices, driven in part by growing demand for biofuels, into their equation.

Steven Mirshak, president of the DuPont-Tate & Lyle Bio-Products joint venture, said the price of the companies' Bio-PDO base is "similar" to nylon. A chemical version of the product was discovered in the 1940s but was too expensive to make.

"But with our new process using biology, we are able to produce PDO at a cost point where we can develop direct applications of its use in a variety of markets," he said, replacing petroleum counterparts.

Corn-based substitutes for petroleum are good for the environment, but experts have said they also contribute to a rise in global food import costs, making it harder for developing countries to feed their populations.

Holliday said DuPont brings an unusual perspective to the corn supply situation. The company also owns the major corn seed brand Pioneer and is devoting considerable resources to increasing its productivity.

"Every time you get something like this where you get a price increase, you get further investment in agricultural production," Ferguson said. "And there is clearly considerable further potential to raise the yields."

DuPont Co.: dupont.com

Tate & Lyle PLC: tateandlyle.com

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From: richardred7/2/2007 11:08:23 AM
   of 78
 
Dow Completes Wolff Walsrode Acquisition
Monday July 2, 6:56 am ET
Dow Chemical Completes Acquisition of Bayer's Wolff Walsrode Division

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Dow Chemical Co. said Monday it completed its acquisition of Bayer AG's cellulose plastics unit, Wolff Walsrode, for $590 million.

Including assumed debt and pension commitments, the deal is valued at $725 million.

Bayer said in March it would divest Wolff Walsrode as part of plans to finance its acquisition of fellow German drug maker Schering AG. Bayer said it plans to use the $590 million cash portion of the transaction to lower debt.

Wolff Walsrode will become part of Dow's Water Soluble Polymers business.

"Wolff is a strategically aligned acquisition that brings new expertise and customer focus to accelerate Dow's growth in key specialty markets," Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to add to Dow's earnings by the end of the first year of ownership.

Questions or comments about this story should be directed to the Financial News desk of The Associated Press at 212-621-7190.
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From: richardred9/28/2007 12:06:07 AM
   of 78
 
Metabolix Receives $2M Government Award
Thursday September 27, 6:42 pm ET
Metabolix Gets $2M Award From Commerce Department, to Use Proceeds for Product Development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Metabolix Inc., which is developing biodegradable plastics from corn sugar, said Thursday it received a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Metabolix said it will use the award, part of the agency's Advanced Technology Program, to develop a commercially viable process for producing biobased chemicals from renewable agricultural products.

Shares rose $1.24, or 5 percent, to $25.90 during aftermarket electronic trading after closing up 81 cents at $24.66.
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To: richardred who wrote (40)10/12/2007 1:23:31 PM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
Metabolix Announces Results of Life Cycle Assessment for Mirel(TM) Bioplastics
Friday October 12, 9:05 am ET
Achieves Major Reduction in Greenhouse Gas and Fossil Fuel Relative to Conventional Plastics

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Metabolix Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX - News) today announced that Telles(TM), its joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM - News), has released the findings of an independent life cycle assessment (LCA) for Mirel(TM) bioplastic resin. The LCA study, conducted by Dr. Bruce Dale, professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, determined that production of Mirel reduces the use of nonrenewable energy by more than 95% and provides a 200% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) compared to production of conventional petroleum-based plastics.

Because Mirel is made from corn and utilizes renewable energy in its production, either directly or via offset, the environmental benefits are significant. The LCA measures the environmental impact of Mirel from "cradle to factory gate." Mirel requires only 2.5 MJ/kg of nonrenewable energy per kilogram verses 70 MJ/kg for olefins such as polypropylene and polyethylene. Mirel actually has a negative net CO2 footprint, showing a net result of -2.2 GHG emissions (kg CO2 eq. /kg) compared to a +2.0 GHG emissions (kg CO2 eq. /kg) for these olefin based polymers.

Mirel is a family of biobased, sustainable and biodegradable plastics with high-performance characteristics including excellent resistance to heat and hot liquids. Mirel biodegrades in a wide range of environments: soil, home compost, industrial compost and both fresh and salt water.

Jay Kouba, Chairman and CEO of Metabolix, stated, "The results of this independent study actually exceeded our expectations. It confirms the environmental benefits of Mirel bioplastics and its underlying technology. Our current and prospective customers can be confident, and proud, in telling their consumers that products containing Mirel are far better for the environment than conventional plastics." Telles, the Metabolix and ADM joint venture, is currently working with customers evaluating a variety of applications while constructing its commercial scale production plant which is expected to begin operations in late 2008.

Professor Dale will be publishing the results of the Mirel LCA and speaking at the Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals in May 2008. Professor Dale commented, "Making informed decisions based on a product's environmental impact requires an understanding of its entire life cycle, from the activities required to produce its raw materials to the manufacturing process. Our LCA research validates Mirel's significant reductions in greenhouse gases and non-renewable fuel use through its entire life cycle when compared to conventional plastics."

About Metabolix

Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation driven bioscience company focused on providing sustainable solutions for the world's needs for plastics, fuels and chemicals. The Company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, integrating sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice. Metabolix is now developing and commercializing Mirel(TM) bioplastics, a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to petroleum based plastics. Mirel is suitable for injection molding, extrusion coating, cast film and sheet, blown film and thermoforming. Metabolix is also developing a proprietary platform technology for co-producing plastics, biofuels and chemical products in biomass energy crops such as switchgrass.

Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) are commercializing Mirel through a joint venture called Telles. The first commercial scale Mirel production plant is being constructed adjacent to ADM's wet corn mill in Clinton, Iowa. The plant is expected to begin operations in late 2008 and is designed to produce up to 110 million pounds of Mirel annually. Mirel will reduce reliance on petroleum and decrease environmental impacts relative to conventional petroleum based plastics.

For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com. (MBLX-G)

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release which are not strictly historical statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding Metabolix's plans and objectives for research and development, operations, and product development, the commercial viability of Metabolix products, and the expected sales potential of Metabolix products, constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties associated with: Metabolix's ability to successfully develop new technologies and products; the market acceptance of Metabolix products; its ability to compete with petrochemical-based plastics, fuels and chemicals and with other biobased products; its ability to develop and successfully commercialize its products; its ability to obtain required regulatory approvals; its ability to obtain, maintain and protect intellectual property rights for its products; and other risks detailed in Metabolix's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006. Metabolix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release.

Contact:

ICR
Media:
Matt Lindberg, 203-682-8214
matthew.lindberg@icrinc.com
or
Brian Ruby, 203-682-8268
brian.ruby@icrinc.com
or
Investors:
Kathleen Heaney, 203-803-3585
kheaney@icrinc.com

Source: Metabolix Inc.

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To: richardred who wrote (41)10/12/2007 5:21:13 PM
From: Sam Citron
   of 78
 
That was a pretty valuable life cycle assessment. It gave a boost to Metabolix's market cap today of over $120 million at one point this afternoon, about a 25% rise in the stock. Volume at 1.2M was decent, but not spectacular.

Sam

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To: richardred who wrote (41)10/12/2007 11:41:33 PM
From: tnsaf
   of 78
 
>>The LCA measures the environmental impact of Mirel from "cradle to factory gate."<<

"to factory gate" doesn't seem like a complete life cycle. When Mirel has degraded would be the end of the cycle.

Jason

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To: tnsaf who wrote (43)10/13/2007 1:05:20 AM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
>Our LCA research validates Mirel's significant reductions in greenhouse gases and non-renewable fuel use through its entire life cycle when compared to conventional plastics."

The PR wasn't to specific as to details. In what you mentioned, and the comparison study used to compare Mirel to conventional plastics.

RR

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To: richardred who wrote (44)10/21/2007 5:08:49 PM
From: richardred
   of 78
 
Plant-Based Plastics Carve Market Niche
Sunday October 21, 1:50 pm ET
By Mark Jewell, AP Business Writer
Manufacturers of Emerging Plant-Based Plastics Hope to Carve Larger Market Niche

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Target offers shoppers an unusual message about its gift cards at some stores, advising that they are biodegradable. "Just make sure you spend them first," the displays conclude.

This isn't just a marketing gimmick. Plastics made from corn and other plants are carving a tiny niche from the market for conventional petroleum-based plastics and being touted as green alternatives for everything from bulk food containers to lipstick tubes and clothing fiber -- as well as gift cards.

So-called "bioplastics" offer the world a way to wean itself off oil, and most biodegrade to varying degrees. But their makers' green argument is complex, and environmentalists are cautious in their support.

Manufacturing bioplastics produces carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. The materials are made from crops -- corn, switchgrass, sugar cane, even sweet potatoes -- that require land and water to grow. Some sound alarms because genetically modified organisms are used to spur the fermentation that creates them. And recycling them presents still other pitfalls.

They also can cost three times more than conventional plastics, which gives businesses pause about adopting them. Until bioplastics expand beyond their current tiny fraction of the overall plastics market, the road to popularity is expected to be rough.

"It's almost a chicken-and-egg scenario," said David Cornell of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers. "It might someday reach that critical mass, but it has to happen very quickly, because in the meantime it can be a nuisance for us."

Bioplastics' main benefit would be to reduce from 10 percent the share of U.S. petroleum consumption that goes into plastic. The types that are biodegradable also could help compensate for the country's slow progress in recycling -- only about 6 percent of plastic made in the U.S. was recycled in 2005, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Bioplastics also lack toxins like polyvinyl chloride that have raised health concerns and led California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this month to sign legislation banning chemicals called phthalates from toys and baby products.

"This is a promising new technology that faces some challenges," said Mike Schade of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, a Falls Church, Va.-based nonprofit. "But we don't view them as insurmountable, if the industry is willing to face them head-on."

The market's newest entrant is Mirel, from Cambridge-based Metabolix Inc. It more easily biodegrades than rival materials and, unlike others, can break down in a backyard compost bin. Its first consumer application came in July when Target Corp. began using it in gift cards at 129 stores. Metabolix is talking with potential clients about dozens more applications for Mirel, from razor blade handles to a coating for disposable coffee cups.

Agricultural processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. provides corn feedstock for making Mirel, which requires genetically engineered bacteria to aid in fermentation.

The most widely used bioplastic, NatureWorks -- a product of a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. -- also is corn-based and biodegradable. It is made without genetically modified bacteria. Some of the corn that goes into it is modified, raising environmental concerns on the sourcing end, but the company notes that protein from the corn is destroyed in processing. NatureWorks already is used in dozens of products, including water bottles -- an application unsuited to Mirel, which isn't transparent.

Other bioplastics that biodegrade to some degree include Ecoflex, from German chemical company BASF AG; Mater-Bi, from Italy's Novamont SPA; and Cereplast, from a Hawthorne, Calif.-based company by the same name. And two major conventional plastics makers -- DuPont Co. and Brazilian chemical company Braskem SA -- make recyclable bioplastic that isn't biodegradable, the first from corn and the second from sugar cane.

No figures are available on overall bioplastics production, but bioplastics makers acknowledge the products occupy a tiny niche in the global plastics market, which totals $250 billion and produces 360 billion pounds a year. By comparison, the 300 million pound capacity of NatureWorks' Nebraska production plant is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the market total.

For most biodegradable bioplastics, including NatureWorks, an industrial compost plant is recommended -- facilities that are few and far between. The products are stable in places where microbes and moisture are minimal, as on a kitchen shelf. Metabolix says Mirel will decompose in a backyard compost within two months and about twice as slowly in soil, rivers, lakes or the ocean. But very few Americans compost, and most who do try not to include even paper products, let alone unfamiliar bioplastics.

"There's a lot more to it than saying it's scientifically and technologically possible to compost these materials," said Betty McLaughlin of the Container Recycling Institute, a nonprofit encouraging greater materials recovery and recycling.

And, just as different types of petroleum-base plastic can't be mixed in recycling, bioplastics should not be mixed with any conventional plastic because even tiny quantities can irreparably contaminate some melted petroleum-based plastics that have higher melting points, Cornell said.

"The sustainability concept is taking hold broadly, including in the corporate sector," said McLaughlin. "But these materials face a long road gaining acceptance."

A major bump on that road will be their cost. But, in another chicken-and-egg paradox, growing the market for bioplastics is key to bringing down their price, industry leaders said. NatureWorks says its production costs are just 10 percent to 20 percent above those of conventional plastics. Companies buying Mirel pay about $2.50 a pound, compared with 70 cents to 90 cents for petroleum-based resin, although the price difference is expected to shrink as quantities grow and oil prices rise.

Tamara Nameroff, acting director of the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute, said being as good as the product it replaces is not good enough for any green product, "even if you've proved you can make it environmentally friendly."

"You have to show a cost advantage to what it's replacing," she said. "The idea that people just want to purchase environmentally friendly products has been demonstrated in some markets, but not universally."

Though most consumers lack the patience to sort out all the arguments, environmental friendliness can sell. Ralph DiMatteo, 48, of Painesville Township, Ohio, said after learning Sam's Club gift cards are made of NatureWorks plastic that he would buy them as holiday gifts.

"I don't spend a lot of time researching these kinds of things, but if something is presented to me properly to show how my effort can make a difference for the environment, I'm willing to pay a couple extra cents," DiMatteo said.

For now, Metabolix is banking on that kind of attitude, said co-founder and chief scientific officer Oliver Peoples.

"We believe that there is a segment of the population that is willing to pay to basically feel better about using plastics," Peoples said. "And if a company decided it wanted to go in that direction of charging $2.03 for a cup of coffee rather than $2, our view is that we're adding something to their brand."
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From: Sam Citron12/7/2007 10:48:55 AM
   of 78
 
No Plastic Bags Please, We're British Gets Brown to Mull Ban
By Alex Morales
Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The sight of a Hawaiian beach covered in trash and seabirds choking on plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean turned Briton Rebecca Hosking into an environmental activist in her own backyard.

Hosking, a documentary maker for the British Broadcasting Corp., showed footage of the damage to retailers in the village of Modbury, southwestern England. That prompted all 43 shops in town to stop giving away plastic bags in May and triggered a campaign that's putting pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to roll out restrictions nationwide.

Animals ``through millions of years of evolution have learned that anything colorful on the ocean surface is a food source,'' Hosking says. ``Plastic bags are problematic because they mimic jellyfish.''

Britons use 13 billion carrier bags a year, each of which takes 400 years to break down, according to London Councils, which represents the capital's 33 local governments. Ireland in 2002 imposed a tax on plastic bags -- now 22 euro cents (32 U.S. cents) a bag -- that has cut use by 90 percent, the country's Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government says.

Hosking's campaign is a ``great example of grassroots action leading the debate,'' says Mike Webster, a consultant at Waste Watch, a London-based group that promotes recycling. ``What's encouraging is that it's spreading and politicians are sitting up and taking notice and being braver as a result.''

Grassroots Action

More than 70 U.K. towns and villages plan to adopt voluntary plastic bag bans, encouraging shoppers to shift to reusable carriers or cornstarch bags, according to the Marine Conservation Society, which campaigns to clean up U.K. beaches. As small retailers join with city governments to cut plastic bag use, Brown last month said he would push for a nationwide phase- out.

``All over the country campaigns have been formed to get rid of disposable plastic bags -- one of the most visible symbols of environmental waste,'' Brown said in a Nov. 19 speech in London. ``I am convinced that we can eliminate single-use disposable bags altogether.''

Brown said he wants the U.K.'s largest supermarket chains, including Tesco Plc, J Sainsbury Plc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Asda unit, to expand their pledge to reduce their use of plastic bags by 25 percent by 2008. While supermarkets promote recycling, only one in 200 plastic bags is recycled, the government says.

London Push

On Nov. 13, London's 33 local councils voted to demand that Parliament restrict the use of plastic bags in the capital. Proposed legislation would bar retailers from giving away bags for free. The law wouldn't take effect before 2009.

``This is not pie in the sky,'' says Merrick Cockell, chairman of London Councils. ``It's readily possible.''

Others are moving faster. Hebden Bridge, a village in the county of Yorkshire, followed Modbury's example in September. On Nov. 30, Borough Councilor Elaine Still declared Overton plastic bag-free at the town's Christmas light ceremony.

Overton shopkeeper Peter Baker rallied more than 60 businesses that gave away a total of 33,000 plastic bags a month, to shift to renewable alternatives after reading about Modbury's effort. Retailers will switch to biodegradable cornstarch bags, with most outlets charging 10 pence (21 cents) each.

The campaign is changing consumer attitudes.

``I hadn't thought about it before, and every time I used to go out I would come back with loads of plastic bags and chuck them all away,'' says Jane Ford, 60, toting one of the cloth bags Overton retailers now sell. ``Now I use this all the time.''

Paper Bag Costs

Abandoning plastic bags may not be as environmentally friendly as people think, says David Tyson, chief executive officer of the Packaging and Industrial Films Association, a U.K. trade group whose 70 members sell about 300 million pounds ($617 million) of plastic bags annually.

Production and transport of paper bags, which are 10 times heavier than plastic, produces more of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming than the lighter alternative, he says.

``It's important that we work together to protect the environment, but it isn't helped by these knee-jerk suggestions that we ban products,'' Tyson says. ``The best approach is to try and develop a responsible attitude in the use of bags.''

Hosking, the Modbury activist, says plastic bags are just a small part of a larger environmental crisis.

In her travels she's seen turtles eating trash and an ``avian apocalypse'' in the Midway Islands, where albatrosses starve because their stomachs are filled with plastic.

East of Hawaii, ocean currents form a ``gyre,'' or giant eddy, that dumps rubbish from around the world on the islands. At Volcanoes National Park, Hosking saw chest-high piles of waste along a beach.

``There was all this plastic: everything in your house made of plastic, kid's toys, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, toiletries, DVDs, CDs, parts of TVs,'' she says. ``Knocking out plastic bags is a really tiny thing to do, but I hope it starts to get people thinking about the bigger picture.''

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