As West Sacramento joins Davis, several bay area and most coastal cities in the effort to reduce plastic waste with bans and fees, many Dixonites say additional legislation isn't necessary, education is.
Californians are responsible for 19-billion circulated plastic bags per year, reportedly amounting to 150,000 tons of waste. In Dixon, an estimated 80,000 bags per month leave one grocer alone.
Although 90-cities across California have adopted 69-varieties of single-use plastic bag ordinances, many local residents say they hope Dixon’s government stays out of it.
“How about education instead of legislation,” says reader Tony Martino, “Allow people to make choices and stop passing laws.”
So here are some statistics, according to Plastic Pollution Coalition and Save Our Shores:
- Plastic is Forever. Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the parts that have been incinerated.
- Plastic recycling is not sustainable. Recycling of plastic is costly and does not stem the production of virgin plastic product.
- In the marine environment, plastic wreaks havoc on marine life. It breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that absorb toxic chemicals, are ingested by wildlife, and enter the food chain. There are 46,000 – 1,000,000 pieces of plastic debris floating near the surface of every square mile of ocean worldwide. Nearly 90% of floating marine litter is plastic. 100 million tons of plastic has entered the world's oceans. The amount of plastic doubles in the worlds oceans every three years.
- Approximately 100 billion petroleum-based plastic checkout bags are used each year in the US, requiring 12 million barrels of oil each year. Plastic bag bans help preserve the integrity of our local ecosystems, reduce the burden on landfills, and cut back litter in our communities. They help prevent pollution, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Paper bags are also problematic. It takes 14 million trees each year in the US to produce a 1 year-supply of paper bags for retail use.
What can you do? Go Reusable, and reuse the ones you've already got, and most importantly, be aware of the impact you have.
Reports suggest that one reusable bag has the potential to replace over 500 single-use plastic bags a year. Reusable bags reduce litter, conserve natural resources, and often support green businesses.
When you do have to use plastic bags, reuse them as well. An extensive list of uses, crafts, and reuses for singe-use bags can be found here.