Hey, I’ve got some great news to share! Our brand new, reusable shopping bag is in from the printer and it’s a beauty!! Ten ounce cotton with a five inch gusset, so no problem packing lots of groceries in an organized fashion, unlike those flimsy plastic bags! And what’s more, it has our hometown BYOBag Warwick logo printed on the front! A must have for every eco-conscious Warwickian!!
Speaking of single-use plastic bags (SUPB’s), lets look at one or two of the problems with these unhealthy nuisances.
Litter is one of the most obvious problems when it comes to SUPB’s – bags in trees; bags in drainage ditches; bags in open fields; bags floating down the road like tumbleweeds. What we don’t see is the cost to our towns and villages for the clean-up of this mess or the added cost to municipal recycling bills due to the fact that SUPB’s inevitably make it into the recycle stream and cause terrible problems at sorting facilities. Industrial sorting machines have to be stopped several times a day and the bags have to be cut manually with box cutters and pulled out. This means hours of lost production and higher bills for municipalities. We are not supposed to put SUPB’s in our single-stream recycling buckets but somehow they make their way in!!
Speaking of recycling, we all feel like we’re doing the right thing when we recycle plastic bags, right? Well the truth of it is, a minuscule number of plastic bags are recycled (including the ones that we put into the recycle bins) due to a variety of reasons. They go from the recycle bin into the trash; they are dumped by garbage barges and other boats into the ocean accidentally or on purpose; they fly and float away; they are too contaminated to be recycled. Most never make it to the recycle bin and are simply thrown away by us. BYOBW asked our local markets what happens to the bags that they collect. No one can answer this question. SUPB recycling programs were “invented” by the chemical and plastic industries to fend off bag bans and provide a guilt-free way for the public to continue to use this wasteful, unhealthy product.
Let’s end on a positive note! I had the good fortune of joining some friends at Pennings Farm Market for lunch. We spoke with Steve Pennings and he showed us the absolutely beautiful reusable bags he’s ordered for apple season! A bold move don’t you think? Every customer who picks apples at Pennings Orchard this autumn will tote their harvest home in a beautiful reusable bag – a souvenir and a positive message from our beautiful town!
Be well and don’t forget to BYOBags, Warwick!
Post by Michelle Desveaux