Check out this article from CNN about Mexico City banning the use of non-biodegradable bags throughout the city; one of a number of cities and countries (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Ireland) who have committed to lessening their environmental impact through less plastic consumption.
Think a similar ban could work in the Trail Towns? (Be sure to leave your thoughts below!)
Here are some other ways businesses reduce the use of plastic bags in their stores:
- Ask – Before doling out a bag to everyone (especially those with just one or two items) ask if they need a bag before assuming they do. It might make them think twice about taking one!
- Bag-share – Create a stock of reusable fabric bags that can be used at and returned to any participating businesses. Encourage volunteers to make and donate bags from old t-shirts and fabric scraps. (Inspired by a program by that name in Massachusetts; check out the link!)
- Discount – for folks who bring their own bags; the amount is up to you! (5-10% is average)
- Raffle – enter customers who choose not to take a bag in a raffle each month.
- Reuse – encourage repeat customers to bring bags back for recycling or re-use. (Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle already does this!)
- Sell – offer reusable fabric bags at your register for a relatively low price. You could even have them printed with your logo or other information for free advertising!
- Reduce – put more stuff in less bags! A few less plastic bags is better than more.
- Charge – a small fee for plastic bags may encourage customers to think twice about the impact of their use of plastic, especially if you explain why you’re doing it.
- Paper – fabric bags are the best option, but paper bags are recyclable whereas most plastic is not and takes years to decompose. (Of course, they use more trees too, but less petroleum products.)
- Donate – for everyone who chooses not to take a bag, donate 5 or 10 cents to the cause of your choice. (The impact on the customer is great if you grab the change out of your register right then and drop it in the donation jar.)
Go here for links to Even More creative ways to re-use plastic bags. (Including cushion covers and crocheting into purses.)
And find a wide array of articles from the New York Times archive about the plastic bag debate.
And while we’re on the subject, have you heard of the giant swirling mass of tiny plastic particles in the Pacific Ocean? (aka the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and the “Pacific Trash Vortex”.) It’s estimated to be twice the size of Texas. That’s reason enough to end the use of plastic bags right there! Read more here.