Most of us have heard negative stories about plastic bags. These are made from petrochemical byproducts and are often used for a one-time purpose. They then go to the landfill where they remain for generations, or they end up in the ocean, threatening sea life. Reusable bags are a much more sustainable and less wasteful alternative to plastic bags, and it is a trend that is catching on.
However, in many places, plastic bags are still entering the waste stream with alarming frequency, even though reusable bags are an option. We often leave them at home, or even in the car, and by default, ask for plastic. And the sad reality is that, even with the increase in availability of recycling drop off locations, most plastic bags are not recycled, they are simply tossed.
In a small town in New York state, this will no longer be an option. Southhampton, New York, has put a law into effect that bans the use of plastic bags in retail establishments. This is a ramped up effort to encourage the use of reusable bags and to say good bye to plastic bags for good.
Authorities are to take infractions on this new law seriously, failure to comply with the law could result in as much as a $1,000 fine. This gives everyone the incentive to remember those reusable bags.
Cities are now taking environmental responsibility into their own hands. Southhampton is not the first city in the country that has chosen to ban plastic bags, but each additional city that realizes how big of a difference this can make, really reduces our nation’s overall use of plastic bags.
This law shows that citizens are willing to make sacrifices for the environment. They are willing to do a little something extra – bringing reusable bags to the store – that can end up making a big difference.
image credit: Ars Electronica on Flickr