OPINION PIECE BY KATHERINE KELLY
I’d like to give kudos to the California legislature for passing a bill to eliminate disposable plastic grocery bags in our state. Here’s hoping the Governor will sign the bill.
Being a coastal town it is more imperative to stop the stop the madness of adding to the Pacific Gyre on a daily basis. As someone who tends to pick up garbage on the beaches, parks and even city streets, I find that renegade plastic bags are the bulk of what I pick up. The become airborne easily and seem to fly right to the beach.
The plastic bag manufacturers are already throwing out the fear mongering about job losses if the plants are forced to stop selling bags to our state, but this is really something they could work out to their benefit. They could rework their factory to make reusable shopping bags that sell for more and are not a bane to our environment.
Change is not always easy, but the changes are small and hardly inconvenient. Reusable shopping bags are easy to carry while empty and much more durable when filled. Don’t have a bag on a run to the store? Buy one at the time of checkout for a buck. Don’t have a buck? Carry your stuff in a box from the store (like Costco does) or if a few items, without a bag altogether.
There’s also an economic benefit to this change: a cottage industry in our small town to make and sell fabric shopping bags. Don’t need a factory, just a network of people with simple sewing skills who could form a co-op to buy bulk materials and create a chain of sewing tasks. One group could do the cutting, another could make all the handles, another could sew the bag, another to assemble. The market for these items is huge as town after town, city after city, and with hope, state after state eliminate plastic groceries bags completely.
Just a thought of how we can make a good thing out of another good thing.