Tuesday, April 29, 2008

plastic bags

LA Public Works removing debris caught by booms from the LA River after a storm event. photo by Algalita

I think we all know on some level that the plastic shopping bag is harmful to the environment. Algalita is a marine research foundation that is studying the effects of plastic junk in the oceans: the results are frightening. Take a look at their photo gallery here. My dad recently came back from a vacation in the California desert and he said that the plastic bags were blowing around like crazy, making drifts. He said that at first he and his friends could not figure out what the white stuff was: some thought they were lost birds, others, forgetting they were in the desert, said snow. Turns out they were plastic bags. My dad (who does all the grocery shopping) hasn't used a plastic bag since.

Here are a few questions we could ask ourselves whenever we are handed a plastic bag:
• Do I need to take as many plastic bags in supemarket?
• Do I need a plastic bag for an item purchased that is already well packaged by the manufacturer?
• Could I bring my own shopping bag when making purchases?

I recently had a conversation with our pressman, Larry, and he and I agree that the number one way to make a difference is to simply USE LESS. He was telling me about someone who was looking all over the internet to buy glass straws for his kitchen, to replace plastic ones. We both wondered why he doesn't simply drink out of a glass??? The same guy was urging Larry to use a less toxic varnish on the printing job he was printing ... why not specify a paper that does not require varnish at all? The most effective way of reducing the amount of litter is to reduce our consumption.

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