toteslogo-300x120TOTES! was launched in early 2013 with the aim of substantially reducing single use plastic bags on Grand Street and in East Williamsburg community. Our team is constantly evolving as our campaign develops and as we reach out to all stakeholders.

Our base organization is the Sustainable Cities Club at The New School, which brings together students and faculty with experience and interest in solving   environmental and urban issues here in New York City and elsewhere.

The idea is rather simple: tote bags instead of plastic bags. They’re reusable, less harmful to the environment, and just plain practical.

Businesses are the key driver for success. The U.S. goes through 100 billion single-use plastic bags a year. This costs retailers about $4 billion a year.

The TOTES! initiative will work closely with all businesses on Grand Street and in the neighborhood who wish to cut costs in plastic waste management. Beyond providing the necessary quantities of tote bags at no cost, services that we provide include:

  • Sustainable business strategy consultancy, tailored to nature and size of business
  • Advertising through media outreach
  • Opportunities for promotion of corporate social responsibility
  • Reliable communication for risk management

We are just getting started but the feedback so far has been encouraging. If you’d like to show your support, please visit our supporting businesses page.

Over the next few months, we will also be working with local networks of artists, community leaders, and residents to raise awareness about our initiative. Some of this work has already begun in the form of project developments with two local schools.

·       The Green School: Academy for Justice and the Environment (TGS)

We are working with faculty and students to develop sustainability projects both on and off campus over the course of this school year. With faculty oversight, students are given the responsibility of their projects and are acquiring hands-on experience in civic action.

·       Grand Street Campus school of Enterprise, Business and Technology (EBT)

Work is currently underway to develop a student-led project pertaining to sustainability issues in the business realm. We hope for more businesses to join us on this project and allow students to help coordinate efforts while gaining valuable business skills.