Environmental Justice & Sustainability

Trash the Plastic

Image result for american beauty plastic bag

Environmental justice is not only caring about the environment but doing what you can to help preserve it.  It seems like a massive undertaking but you would be surprised to see how small things make a big difference. That being said is, one thing that seems to be common across almost all cultures in America is parents bequeathing an almost supernatural ability unto their children: hoarding plastic bags. Maybe you have a small drawer dedicated to them, maybe you subconsciously store them or fold them into little origami triangles you throw at a sibling. All joking aside, it’s easy to forget that the plastic bags people keep are not biodegradable. It takes thousands of years for them to break down. So you might ask yourself; what do I do with all these bags?

I’ve asked myself this question and did a little research to see how plastic bags are recycled.  It turned out that the local supermarket has a bin dedicated to collecting plastic bags and waste for the purpose pushing neighborhood wide recycling initiative. With a quick trip I was surprised to see my neighbors had piled up the plastic as if to replicate Mt. Everest. With less than 5% of Americans recycling their plastic bags this came as a surprise. Environmental justice starts not only with you but with talking to your community boards to see what can be made available to you community. Part of the problem of recycling in America is people may be willing but their communities might not have the facilities to help make it happen.

This semester I think it is a manageable goal to a) bring my own reusable bags with me when I shop and b) recycle the bags I’ve already “collected.” This is a manageable goal as it will not only help the environment but save money now that some supermarkets will be charging an additional 5 cents per bag used. A dollar or two towards bags times twelve months a year will depend on how frequently you shop but it’s still nice to save money in the long run. What do you think about recycling plastic bags, is it feasible?

Source: http://atrl.net/forums/showthread.php?t=752183 (picture)

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4 thoughts on “Trash the Plastic

  1. I think recycling plastic bags is definitely a easy way where everyone can make a small change to improve the environment! I do agree with how plastic bags are bad with the environment as you said, it takes thousands of years to disintegrate and ends up being part of the household hoarding collection. The way my family uses plastic bags is that we use them for trash bags for our everyday garbage. I am aware of how the trash is ends up accumulating and “chilling” in the sanitation dumping grounds, where it has no where to go. This is why I’m also committing myself to use a tote bag for grocery shopping as well. Less plastic ending up on the streets of New York is a happier place for everyone!

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  2. Hello, I thought it was a great idea to comment on your post since I chose to take my reusable bags to the supermarket this semester. You mentioned in your blog that less than 5% of Americans recycle their plastic bags, which is completely senseless in regards to saving the environment we live on. Everyone that reads blogs like yours that talks about your awesome contribution to our environment should definitely be moved by your actions and start using reusable bags as well. I strongly believe that recycling all types of materials and conserving energy is everybody’s responsibility. My goal, and hopefully the goal of many others, is to help contribute to environmental justice by not using plastic bags anymore.

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  3. I actually think it is a little challenging to not use plastic bags because almost every store where I shop for food or clothes use a different type of plastic bag. I am personally not the type to carry a cloth bag with me everywhere I go especially when I run out to make purchases (groceries, clothes, etc). However, one way I try to reuse plastic bags is by making them my trash bags instead of buying the Glad garbage bags. Or I use the plastic bag to carry my lunch. But, I think I may reconsider my way of habit once stores start charging for plastic bags… then I’ll invest in a sturdy cloth bag.

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