My mother lived where Katrina hit in 2005. Not long afterward, I saw mattresses, and a jillion plastic bags in the tall trees all along the Gulf Coast. Most of the bags are still there. Why? Because they never go away (completely)! People in La Plata County throw away thousands of bags every day because they can never reuse them all.
I saw a lady at the store using 10 plastic bags for her groceries. That is just one person doing this every week, equaling 520 bags per year just for that lady. How many bags can she really reuse and dispose of properly into the trash?
I have seen landfills in large cities with who knows how many plastic bags of all sizes, from stores where purchases were made. The bags don’t die there, they go flying into the air to land in waterways, then out to the ocean where they kill marine mammals every day. Remember: Plastic bags never break down completely.
My son lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., and my daughter in Annapolis, Md. They can recycle almost everything they get from stores. We have the single-stream recycling program in Durango, thanks to City Councilor Sweetie Marbury.
Now, it’s time to take the next step, which is to stop every store from putting items purchased into plastic bags. I take my reusable bags to every store. People all over the world use their reusable bags. The United States is one of the last countries to get on board.
We must follow guidelines that will make our country great. Starting with an ordinance on plastic bags for the three largest grocery stores in Durango, with a 10-cent charge on plastic and paper bags, is a strong step toward being thoughtful caretakers of Mother Earth. Thank you to everyone in La Plata County for doing the right thing for our community and environment. We, in Durango, are a community that cares for our neighbors, our children, the environment and our shared future. More info at DurangoBagIt.org.