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Plastic-bag alternatives

Dear Editor:

How many of you have a stockpile of grocery bags under your sink, in your closet or in your garage waiting to be used for trash liners, dirty laundry or whatever else? I do even though I habitually bring my reusable bags to City Market for hauling groceries. Somehow, I still acquire more plastic bags than I need.

I love my reusable bags and have about 30 in my arsenal, of which I’ve purchased only one! The others were given to me at stores and events and by family. For example, if you bring your kids to Dandelion Day on May 12 in Sopris Park, they’ll have the opportunity to decorate a free reusable bag in the kids craft tent sponsored by the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities! If you want to purchase a reusable grocery bag, you can support GarCo Sewing Works, which has hired local residents who were previously unemployed to create reusable bags out of recycled materials.

I support the bag ban as an opportunity to modify our behavior for the health of our children and their environment. It’s an easy way we can reduce litter, oil use and endocrine-disrupting bisphenol A and phthalates. These additives mess with the proper functioning of human hormones responsible for development, sexual traits and fertility! Do you really want this material touching your food? Some say that reusable bags are germ traps. To that I say this: Wash them as needed, and designate bags for certain purposes. We have the opportunity to be proactive and creative instead of lazy and single-use minded. We need to realize that individual actions add up to a huge impact on the planet. It is estimated that the U.S. population uses 100 billion plastic bags annually and that it requires 12 million barrels of oil to make these! Reducing our demand for these products seems like an easy way to positively impact our environment and community while minimizing our need for foreign oil.

For every secondary use we have for disposable plastic bags, there is an alternative. I am referring not only to reusable grocery bags but to reusing bread bags for dog poo, cereal bags for produce, wax-paper bags for school lunches, etc. If you have to purchase plastic bags or liners, you can support green jobs and the planet by purchasing bags with post-consumer, recycled content. Currently, you are purchasing the disposable plastic bags at City Market, but their price is incorporated into the price of groceries, so you don’t notice. My hope is that this bag ban will be a first step in positively modifying our behavior and will make each of us aware of the impact we have on our environment. It teaches us and our children to purchase durable goods, avoid wasting our resources on single-use anything and think about the sustainability of our practices.

Alyssa Reindel

Carbondale


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