Plastic-bag concerns

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 61, No. 7, September 2019, Page 277 Letters

Numerous readers have written to the BCMJ recently expressing concerns about the plastic bags that print issues of the journal are occasionally wrapped in. We wholeheartedly agree with readers’ concerns about plastics, which is why we don’t use them. The bags we use are plant-based and compostable. Furthermore, we rarely use these compostable bags. We discourage advertisers from this type of enclosure and try to steer them to print inside the journal. Over time, we’ve successfully moved away from this type of advertising. However, we are also not in a position to refuse revenue from this source as we are a membership-funded publication and all advertising helps us defray publishing costs.

The BCMJ seeks to minimize its negative impact on the environment by:

  • Supporting members who wish to read online with an e-subscription to
  • Avoiding bag use, and using certified-compostable plant-based bags when needed.
  • Working with Mitchell Press, ranked third in North America for sustainability by
  • Printing with vegetable-based inks.
  • Using FSC-certified paper. 
  • Printing locally in British Columbia.

What else we’re doing, thanks to your feedback:

  • We’re looking into printing “compostable” on the bags we use.
  • We have added a note to our masthead page about the bags, and about our other environmental practices.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write to us. It’s a good reminder that we need to be more explicit about our environmentally aware practices—and that we should always strive to do more.

. Plastic-bag concerns. BCMJ, Vol. 61, No. 7, September, 2019, Page(s) 277 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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