Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Recycle, donít ban, plastic bags

I would like to commend the Environmental Club for working to improve our environment. However, voters made it very clear that banning plastic grocery bags is not the answer and now there is talk of banning plastic bags again. I challenge those students to take a different approach to the issue.

Rather than banning something for which there is an obvious use, choose to educate people about the environment—as in reduce, reuse, recycle. Earth Day reusable bag give-away is a start to reducing the use of plastic bags, but it does not eliminate the need for them. Plus they can be recycled.

What about recycling other types of plastic bags such as those for bread and tortillas? Plastic grocery bags are referred to as single-use, but plastic bottles, glass bottles, metal cans and disposable diapers are also single-use items. Will we be asked to ban those in the future?

Each week, I am amazed at the few people who set out their recycling bins on garbage day. The Environmental Club could be spending time educating people on what can be recycled and how to do it.

How about finding markets for other types of materials that can be recycled? I just found a company ( that has programs to recycle items such as potato chip bags and cereal box liners, and they will donate money to schools and charities in return for recycling these products. There are recycling opportunities—you just have to look for them.

Another complaint is that plastic bags are littering our roadways. There are also papers, plastic bottles, newspapers and cardboard boxes blowing around. Laws will not eliminate irresponsible behavior, but education will help.

Banning is not the answer, education is. Remember, the motto is reduce, reuse, recycle.

Environmental Club, are you up for the challenge?

Barbara Imboden


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