Celebrate this upcoming Earth Day,April 22nd by choosing to act in ecologically friendly way. Come along with us in a three part series focusing on environmental facts,products and plans of action. One of the most important things you can do to support both the Earth and local farmers:avoid plastic bags when you shop!
According to the Clean Air Council,Americans use approximately 1 billion shopping bags,creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste each year. It is estimated that 500 billion plastic bags are consumed worldwide every year. These plastic bags do not biodegrade and fewer than 1 percent are recycled. In landfills,light breaks the bags down into small particles that contaminate the soil and water. When these small particles from the degraded plastic bags get into water,they are ingested by filter feeding marine animals,who pass the biotoxins like PCBs up the food chain to larger animals and humans. (Sources:Clean Air Council and USA Today)
Local and global trends are turning against plastic bags. Australia,Bangladesh,Ethiopia,Rwanda,South Africa and Taiwan have already banned them. Last year the City of Seattle joined Portland and San Francisco in passing legislation to ban all single-use plastic shopping bags and impose a 5 cent fee for paper bags. The ban takes effect this summer. Here at the Co-op we use primarily paper bags,but we always encourage folks to bring their own bags from home. Each re-usable shopping bag earns a Token for Tomorrow,a wooden token worth 5 cents that you can donate to the food bank or another community-based local or international charity.
What Can You Do?
You can do something. A lot of somethings. And what you do makes a difference. Eat as much local food as you can and reduce your use of plastic bags. For starters,choose products that come with re-usable and minimal packaging. Locally grown vegetables and fruit do not require plastic bags,just bring along your own or buy a reusable bag,like the Co-op’s convenient Enviro Sacks or Chico bags,available in the Mercantile loft. Composting food waste scraps helps to cut down on kitchen waste. For more suggestions on eco-friendly habits,check out the recent article in the Co-op newsletter,entitled “Cutting Our Carbon Footprint”by Jodie Buller.