There was a time before plastic bags and water bottles reigned. In my mind, it wasn’t more than decade ago. We always used paper bags at the grocery store, and brought a water jug to sports practices and games. It was easy. Then a rapid change took place, and plastic spread like wild fire. Now it’s the “norm” and second nature to accept a plastic bag at any store or buy bottled water. As much as people don’t like to be told what to do, it’s imperative we reverse our habit of this plastic acceptance. The best practice is to Reduce your use. I hear people say often to be “but I reuse my plastic bags” as trash bags, recycling bags, etc.; however, this continuous “reuse” only means we continue to use more plastic.
As part of the effort to bring awareness to the plastic bag issue, the Green Teams of Galloway, Absecon, Port Republic and Brigantine joined forces to hold a regional “BAG IT” Day on Saturday. The purpose of this day was to encourage residents to utilize reusable bags – reducing the use of plastic bags. From 12:30 to 2, in Brigantine volunteers distributed free reusable bags donated from Clean Communities at the entrance to ACE Hardware, Aversa’s Bakery and Ernest and Sons. In Galloway and Absecon, volunteers were at ShopRite stores. We cannot thank our local ACE, Aversa’s, and Ernest businesses, and ShopRite for allowing us to hand out bags at their store fronts. They are true Friends of our Green Teams and we applaud them for helping our cause. This is extremely important issue for our communities as many of these plastic bags end up in our waterways. Our very own Marine Mammal Stranding Center here in Brigantine sees the harmful effects much too often. We need to support the MMSC and protect our precious resources and environment before its too late. Thank you to our volunteers and the locals who took the time to speak with us about green issues. The day was successful and in Brigantine we handed out all of our bags in less than an hour! We thank the volunteers who gave their time to support this cause.
Top Reasons to Use Reusable Bags
- 100 BILLION new plastic bags are used every year – and that ́s just in the US. Only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled in the United States. The rest end up in landfills, the ocean, or some other place in the environment.
- A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose.Plastic is the largest source of ocean litter.
- Ocean debris worldwide kills at least 1 million sea birds and 100,000 mammals each year, the U.S. NOAA has estimated.
- More than 10 percent of washed-up debris polluting the U.S. coastline is made up of plastic bags.It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the estimated 100 billion plastic bags Americans use each year.
- Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable.They actually go through a process called photodegradation—breaking down into small toxic particles that contaminate both soil and water, and end up entering the food chain when animals ingest them.