Bring back that sack

Attention, Ingles shoppers: Quality Forward and Ingles Markets are challenging you to “Bring Back That Sack.”

From now through October, for every month that shoppers return more than 5,000 plastic and paper bags than are currently collected, Ingles will donate a planter made of recycled plastic to Quality Forward. Recycling stations can be found in Ingles supermarkets across the region.

Why the push for bag collection? Only about 4 percent of all plastic grocery sacks make it back to the stores for recycling, according to the American Plastics Council. Where do the rest of them end up? In the landfill, or littering our roads, parks and streams. But those sacks shoppers do bring back are reincarnated as plastic envelopes, new bags, liners and plastic lumber.

What’s that? You’re more a fan of paper bags? According to the Plastic Bag Association (we didn’t make this up), plastic bags take up less space in landfills than do paper bags. And landfills, we might add, are designed so that nothing breaks down fast in them. Consider this: It would take seven trucks to hold as many new paper bags as one truck filled with new plastic bags.

Storing your plastic bags until you bring them in to Ingles is easy. Stuff them into a tupperware container or a sock (which you can hang in your pantry). Many stores also sell racks or other devices made especially for holding paper bags.

Of course, there’s another, more sustainable option: Bring your own cloth or net bags, or reuse the plastic and paper bags you already have. This is a great way to reduce and re-use, the first two steps in the waste hierarchy (reduce, re-use and then recycle). Earth Fare, Fresh Market and the French Broad Food Co-Op sell cloth bags expressly for this purpose. As part of the “Bring Back That Sack” campaign, Ingles will also offer cloth bags for sale. Finally, if all this seems like too much trouble, how about asking your bagger in the checkout line to use as few bags as possible?

Call Katie Breckheimer at Quality Forward (254-1776) to learn more about recycling and “Bring Back That Sack.” For more statistics and info on plastic bags, call the Plastic Bag Information Clearinghouse at (800) 438-5856.

Herb fest

The 1998 Spring Herb Festival will be held May 1-3 at the Western North Carolina Farmers Market in Asheville. Now in its ninth year, the festival will feature more than 50 vendors selling everything connected with herbs, including baked goods, decorations, soaps, books, teas, vinegars, wreaths, herbal pet remedies and starters for the herb garden.

There will also be an herb garden and an info booth staffed by master gardeners and N.C. Extension Service specialists. Herbal education programs will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The festival is free, including the programs.

The WNC Farmers Market is operated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

Call Rick Morgan (689-5974) or the Farmers Market (253-1691) to learn more.

Architectural heritage awards

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County will host its annual Heritage Week Celebration, May 2-10.

For starters, you can learn about the architecture of Douglas Ellington, and its impact on Asheville, on Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event begins with a discussion and a visit to “Pure and Simple: The Art and Architecture of Douglas Ellington,” now on display at the Asheville Art Museum.

Then, take a tour of structures Ellington designed, including City Hall, the S&W Cafeteria and the First Baptist Church (all in downtown Asheville). Reservations are required for the May 2 event, and space is limited.

The Society will present the 1998 Griffin Awards for outstanding examples of architectural rehabilitation and restoration on Thursday, May 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the YMI Cultural Center on Eagle Street, in downtown Asheville. Tickets ($5) may be bought in advance. A silent auction will also be held.

And on Mothers’ Day (Sunday, May 10) from 1-5 p.m., the Society will offer a self-guided tour of homes, mostly in the Proximity and Sunset Terrace neighborhoods. Tickets are available in advance and on the day of the tour.

To register, buy tickets or to learn more, call the Preservation Society at 254-2343.

High-school artists

Congressman Charles Taylor will announce the winners of the 11th Congressional District High School Art Competition on Saturday, May 2, at 2 p.m. at UNCA’s Ramsey Library.

The winning works will be displayed in the Capitol Building’s Cannon Tunnel, and the first-place winner from each congressional district will attend June ceremony in Washington.

Call Taylor’s Asheville office at 251-1988 to learn more.

Screenwriting contest

Attention, screenwriters: The fifth annual Heart of Film Screenplay Competition is accepting entries, through May 15, in two categories: feature-length adult drama and feature-length family. The entry fee is $35.

The winner in each category will receive $3,500, airfare (up to $500) and hotel accommodations during the Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference, to be held Oct. 1-4 in Austin, Texas.

Winning scripts from past years have been made into feature films starring Hollywood stars. The competition and conference are sponsored by the Austin Film Festival, to recognize the place of writers in the television and motion picture industry.

For more info, e-mail, access, or call (800) 310-FEST.

White women against racism

White Women Against Racism will hold the first of eight scheduled meetings on Thursday, April 30, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the YWCA in Asheville. April 30 is the National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism. The remaining meetings will be held at the same time on the following seven Thursdays. White Women Against Racism is a group of women “committed to working on their own racism, who feel most comfortable doing that work with only women, and only with women of their own race,” according to a YWCA press release. Janis Costas of the Family Services Center and Deb Vingle of the YWCA Women’s Resource Center will facilitate the group.

Call 254-7206 to learn more.

Neighborhood workshop

The Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods will hold “Communication, as if Your Life Depended on It” on Saturday, May 9, at 9:30 a.m. at A-B Tech’s Laurel Auditorium.

The workshop will offer creative ways to address important communication issues — within neighborhoods and between associations and other groups. A panel discussion involving members of the media will explore the best ways to promote events and focus media attention on neighborhood issues.

Established, new and potential neighborhood associations are invited. The cost is $2 for CAN members, $3 for others.

For more info, call CAN at 281-4559.

Kids learn about pollution

Eight- to 12-year-olds and their families can become experts on pollution during a Saturday Scientist program on May 9 at the Health Adventure, starting at 10:30 a.m. Participants will test the local air, water and noise-pollution levels, and learn about acid rain, oil spills and water pollution through hands-on activities.

The program costs $3 for members, $3.50 for non-members. Parents come free. Space is limited, and reservations are suggested.

Call the Health Adventure at 254-6373 for more information.

UNA spring conference

The Western North Carolina Chapter of the United Nations Association will hold its Spring Conference on Saturday, May 2, at downtown Asheville’s Trinity Episcopal Church, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The agenda includes a discussion of land mines (9:30 a.m.), a global-policy-project report and discussion (10:45 a.m.) and a noon luncheon with Ambassador Jonathan Dean, who will speak about weapons of mass destruction and what we can do about them.

The conference costs $15 ($10 for students) and includes lunch. A limited number of scholarships are available. Registration is required ASAP. Make checks payable to WNC UNA and mail to: P.O. Box 18418, Asheville NC 28814.

For more info, call (828) 687-7286 or (828) 687-0262 or 253-5383.

WNCAP director resigns

WNCAP Director Joe Connolly has announced his resignation, which the Board of Directors has reluctantly accepted, according to a WNCAP press release. Connolly has worked for WNCAP for four-and-a-half years. The board is forming a search committee and hopes to have Connolly’s position filled by July.

To learn more, call board president Michael Faulkner at 274-2400, ext. 4337.

— eternally compiled by Jill Ingram

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