Give the Sack to Plastic Bags
Thank you, Carpinterians, for giving the sack to plastic bags!
Long before the plastic bag ban became mandatory, Carpinteria Beautiful became aware of the environmental damage caused by discarded plastic bags and initiated a program to encourage shoppers to voluntarily switch from single-use plastic grocery bags to reuseable bags.
Over a period of four years, starting in 2008, we distributed over 6000 free reuseable bags to local shoppers along with informational handouts to explain the need for them. This was followed up with a gift-card rewards program for shoppers “caught” using their bags.
In addition, we carried out an intensive campaign of public education, including the production of a DVD entitled It’s in the Bag, distributed to local schools and shown on YouTube.
In the spring of 2011, we led the cheering squad when our local Albertson’s went green and voluntarily eliminated all single-use shopping bags from their store, an outstanding example of corporate responsibility. We then enthusiastically supported the City’s Reuseable Bag Ordinance, passed in 2012, which banned single-use bags throughout Carpinteria.
The positive effects on the local litter stream were immediately apparent as soon as the ordinance took effect. Where once these bags could be found literally everywhere, polluting our creeks, beaches, parks and roadways, it’s now rare to come across even one.
We know this change was not easy for everyone. Forming new habits can be a challenge, but Carpinterians were up to it and we’re really proud of our community for leading the way for the rest of Santa Barbara County.
Why do we feel so strongly about the plastic bag issue?
The Numbers Tell the Story
- In California alone, over 600 plastic bags are used and discarded every second!
- Plastic bags do not biodegrade. They break up into tiny toxic bits that remain in the environment indefinitely.
- Hundreds of thousands of seabirds and sea mammals are dying from ingesting or becoming entangled in discarded plastic.
- Whole areas of the ocean have been found to now have more plastic bits than bio-mass (living matter).
- Plastic bags are made from petroleum, unnecessarily wasting huge amounts of this increasingly scarce resource.
- Plastic bags cost retailers millions of dollars each year, a cost passed on to the consumer.
- More millions in tax dollars are spent annually trying to clean up littered bags.
- Only 5% of plastic bags are recycled. Those that are put in the waste stream are choking our landfills.
Need we say more? Please, join us in giving plastic bags the sack; remember your reusable bag every time you shop!