We use plastic bags for minutes, yet they persist in our environment for hundreds of years. The average person uses 360 single-use plastic bags every year which is over 38 million bags in Wilmington alone.
Despite efforts to expand recycling programs, less than 5% of single-use plastic bags are currently being recycled nationwide. The rest of these bags inevitably end up in our landfill or as litter, clogging storm drain systems, and making their way to Lake Michigan and our oceans. Plastic bags entangle or are ingested by lake wildlife and shore birds, as well as break down into small bits that persist in the ecosystem and may move through the food chain if ingested by fish.
You can make a difference for our world’s oceans, lakes, and beaches — pledge to rise above plastics today. Take the Plastic Pledge.
Bans on single use plastic bags are not a new approach to reducing plastic pollution. San Francisco was the first big city to ban plastic bags in 2007 and there are now 33 plastic checkout bag ordinances covering 53 jurisdictions in California. Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Austin, TX along with towns in Alaska, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and all four counties in Hawaii have banned plastic bags as well. These policies have reduced the use of plastic bags and consequently the use of petroleum and natural gas, space in landfills, and the negative impacts of plastic bag litter, all without affecting the economy.
Please visit the BYOB Bring Your Own Bag Racine plastic bag ban on Facebook!
Passing an ordinance regulating the use of plastic bags in Racine County will be a major step in aesthetically improving our community while reducing the expense of plastic bag disposal. Furthermore, the regulation of plastic bag use would promote Wisconsin’s reputation as clean and green community. There are many other bag bans, check out the Current Actions on other communities taking it to policy, to Rise Above Plastics!