I am a recent graduate of William and Mary with a double major in environmental science and policy and public policy. I will be an energy blogger. How can the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil? Is green technology going to happen sooner than we think? What kind of message is needed to sell individuals on the need to stop drill baby drill? These are some of the questions I'd like to ex...
Do you want Paper or Plastic?
One of the problems associated with plastic bags is that they cannot be recycled like paper bags can be. As a result of the environmental problems associated with plastic bags from the fact that they are a product of oil refining to the marine life they can destroy when washed down the river, for example, that the city of Brownsville in Texas "Beginning January 5, will ban plastic bags in convenience stores and supermarkets, reports Action 4 news. The stores will collect a $1 surcharge for each transaction involving plastic bags and send the money to the city for cleanup and environmental projects." The actions being taken by the city of Brownsville are quite encouraging. After all, the need to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of plastic bags must start somewhere. If that means putting a $1 surcharge on all consumers who decide to purchase with plastic bags, then that may discourage them from doing so.
The goal of any public policy should be to support efforts to move toward a sustainable green economy. Given that paper bags are a far better alternative to plastic, what the city of Brownsville is doing seems to be a no-brainer and should be without any controversy. In addition to not being sustainable or green since plastic is often not recyclable, plastic has also often been linked with problems in waterways and for marine life due to their ingestion of plastic bags. For example, turtles have been known to consume plastic bags and die as they are debris that floats into waterways and can be mistaken by them for jellyfish.
The most important reason, however, is for the consumer to start by telling the clerk at the checkout counter that they want paper instead of plastic. Doing so will make a significant step for the U.S. in terms of moving toward a clean, green sustainable energy future. Going green really is about individuals at the grassroots level refusing plastic bags and instead requesting recyclable paper ones. This is one small step that does not cost a whole lot for your pocketbook. Requesting paper helps the environmental quality of the U.S.
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