For the City Times
Each year the average U.S. adult citizen uses about 500 plastic bags.
Plastic bags are so cheap to produce, sturdy, plentiful, easy to carry and store that they have captured at least 80 percent of the grocery and convenience store market since they were introduced a quarter century ago, according to the Arlington, Virginia-based American Plastics Council.
Many bags are reused at least once as book and lunch bags as kids head off to school, as trash can liners, and to pickup Fido’s droppings off the lawn. This is good, but the end result is the same.
They sit balled up and stuffed into the one that hangs from the pantry door. They line bathroom trash bins. They carry clothes to the gym. They clutter landfills. They flap from trees. They float in the breeze. They clog roadside drains. They drift on the high seas. They pose hazards for wildlife.
Most empty bags can be recycled. Plastic Carryout Bags are made from either High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) or Low Density Poly Ethylene (LDPE) with Resin Identification Code 2 and 4 respectively. The Resin Identification Code is the number inside the triangle. Most plastic carryout bags in grocery stores are made from HDPE plastic and department stores are made from LDPE. Portage County, however, does not have a program to recycle these bags for several reasons. It is suggested that you take them to a store that has a recycling bin for these types of plastic bags.
This tiny little bag has been causing so many issues that there is legislation proposed this year (AB 730) to limit municipalities in Wisconsin and their ability to regulate usage.
“With spring coming up, the snow will melt and will reveal all that the winter snow has hidden for the past few months,” said Mayor Mike Wiza. “We’ll see the dog piles that were missed, the red bagged ad papers that were tossed into the snowbank and all of the trash that needs to be cleaned up. I thought it would be a good time to bring awareness to this issue and suggest a challenge for the month of March.
“During the entire month of March, I’m going to challenge everyone to “Boycott the Bag”. When you go shopping, bring your own or choose paper, but do not choose plastic carryout bags. I know it will require a little change in our lifestyles, but let’s give it a try.”
To help people remember to bring your own bags, you could make a shopping list that starts with BRING BAGS, or keep your reusable shopping bags in your vehicle.
Maybe you’ll see the “Bag Monster” around town in March. The “Monster” is created from about 500 plastic bags, the same number the average adult uses in a year. Grab a photo when you see it and post it online to help spread awareness all through the month of March.
For more information, contact Mayor Mike Wiza at firstname.lastname@example.org.