The beginning of the end of our plastic bag society?

The beginning of the end of our plastic bag society?

Apr 7, 2014 Posted by Queenseyes In City, Regional Comments 11

Reusable Bag

Reusable Bag

If you believe that it’s time that we limit the number of plastic bags that end up in our landfills, blowing around our streets, in our waterways, and even minuscule bits that end up in our bodies (read monster in the great lakes), then it’s time that we all help to put a stop to the free plastic bag society that exists in NYS and throughout the world.

All you have to do is stand in a checkout line at most supermarkets to see the vast number of plastic bags that are used on a daily basis. Unfortunately we can’t just ask people to stop using plastic – that would be too easy. In this throw-away culture it’s far too hard to bring reusable bags to the store, and much easier to bag, and double bag groceries in free, limitless plastic bags. But there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. One that signals the possibility that freeloaders might be in for a rude awakening.

Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News. About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute. – www.reuseit.com

There is a chance that a law might be passed that would put a 10-cent charge on paper and plastic carry-out bags in NYC (the bill was introduced in the City Council on March 26, 2014). At this point the fight is on to convince council members to support the initiative. There are already 22 supporters, out of the 26 needed to get the bill in front of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

If this legislation does go into effect in NYC, there’s hope that this might be an awakening call for other cities as well (including Buffalo). It’s time that we start to hold people accountable for the overconsumption of plastic. Anyone can afford to purchase reusable bags (if they don’t already have them) – at Wegman’s shoppers can pick up a reusable bag for one dollar. There are also environmental fairs where and festivals where bags are often given out for free. I’ve had the same bags in the back of my car for years. What we can’t afford to do is continue to treat the planet like it’s a garbage dump.

I’m rooting for NYC to set this important precedent. And I’m hoping that our own people and politicians pick up the same cause and run with it.

In 2001, Ireland implemented a plastic tax (or PlasTax); the first of its kind, this route acknowledges the fact that people will still occasionally use plastic bags. This market-based solution discourages daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout. In a study by the Irish Department of the Environment it was found that plastic bag usage had dropped 93.5%. This breaks down to a drop from 328 to 21 bags per person each year. – www.reuseit.com

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About The Author ⁄ Queenseyes
Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest… Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com