Far and away, the most common piece of trash we see littering the sides of freeways, clogging gutters, and disgracing our creeks and streams is the single-use, plastic bags. In San Luis Obispo County, shoppers consume nearly 130 million carryout plastic bags a year. In California, less than 5% are actually recycled. On average, the bags are used for less than 12 minutes before being thrown away, making their way into our landfills and marring the scenery.
Being near the coast, SLO County residents have a special responsibility to halt the flow of plastic into the sea. Studies have shown that in the Pacific Ocean, 92% of seabirds and 35% contain petrochemicals in their stomachs. Pacific trash gyres are composed of extremely high concentrations of plastics with bags being a major contributor to marine pollution. While we think that these bags are “free”, we pay for them in environmental, municipal, and social costs. So, what is a concerned citizen to do?
Beginning October 1, 2012, all stores in SLO will stop providing single-use plastic bags. Businesses will provide recyclable paper bags upon request. Each bag will cost 10 cents, a fee that will reimburse the store for the price of the bag. To avoid the charge and do your part to help reduce unnecessary waste, bring your own reusable sack! They can be used for years, and eliminate the need for single-use plastics. For the most part, they use less energy in production, reduce solid waste disposal costs, and can even make a trendy fashion statement.
Here at Bambu Batu, we have several eco-friendly reusable bags for you to carry around with style! Choose from our Blue Lotus grain and produce bags to store your veggies at the grocery store, bamboo totes, or printed Indian handbags. Feel good about your purchases and your ecological footprint by making the switch to reusable bags!
I always use reusable produce bags made of organic cotton from a company called Re-Sack. They are really strong and eco-friendly!