This year, the city of Hailey is celebrating Just Bag It, a program instituted through an $8,943 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant. The program will organize a yearlong awareness and reduction campaign for an environmental threat found in most stores and homes—the single-use plastic bag.
Each year, Americans use about 100 billion plastic shopping bags, which take 12 million barrels of oil to produce. These bags never biodegrade—they just break into plastic dust that poisons wilderness and wildlife.
"The average Hailey grocery shopper consumes five to 10 plastic bags per shopping trip," project manager Elizabeth Jeffrey said. "Even in a city as conscientious as ours, these bags pile up without our noticing."
Just Bag It is a year-long campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags at local checkout counters. Its major focus areas include:
· Partnering with Albertsons, Atkinsons', King's and other local merchants to organize a plastic-bag-free Earth Day.
· Engage local students and the public in year-round events to include a poster contest, a logo contest and a public art project.
· Produce and distribute reusable cloth bags for use by partners and participants.
Jeffrey said that as a leading source of landfill waste and wilderness pollution, plastic bags pose clear harm to the local and global environment. She said that by reducing use and raising awareness, Hailey residents can put a major dent in plastic pollution.
Jeffrey said that reducing the use of plastic bags also supports the local economy. She said plastic shopping bags cost businesses 8 cents each, meaning local businesses lose money with every bag that leaves the store. Also, she said, as a major consumer of fossil fuels, plastic bags increase national dependence on foreign oil.
To learn how to get involved, contact Jeffrey at email@example.com.