Happy International Plastic Bag Free Day!
Updated: Jul 23, 2018
While we are disappointed by the Texas Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down plastic bag bans across the state, we're not giving up the fight yet!
Through bag ban ordinances we've seen many environmental benefits. The drastic reduction in plastic bag waste as a result of the municipal level bans has the ability to save wildlife of all kinds: whales, birds, cows, sea turtles, and more. And not only that, but retailers (both large and small) are saving money by not having to provide single-use plastic bags to their customers. Instead of paying for a disposable item that only has a 12-minute lifespan, retailers have the option to sell reusable bags.
There are also benefits on the municipal level. The City of San Jose, California saves an estimated $1 million a year by not having to repair municipal recycling equipment that would previously get jammed with plastic bags. They also reported an 89% drop in the amount of plastic bags littering their storm drains.
Storm drains dump straight into our waterways which, here in Galveston, means plastic pollution ends up in our ocean. Two of the three grocery retailers on the island are located on the Seawall, and bags floating on the wind straight over to the beach are a common sight. Our city's economy is largely dependent on tourism, but who would want to visit beaches littered with plastic bags and other various forms of plastic pollution? A bag ban is in our city's best interest.
Here at Surfrider Galveston, we have advocated for a municipal bag ban here on the island for years. We have long admired the Texas cities who have implemented them and desired to follow in their footsteps. We don't want retailers bringing back single-use bags and all the pollution problems associated with them. And we certainly don't want anyone to tell us that we can't make decisions regarding what's in the best interest of our city, ocean, and wildlife.
Here's what you can do.
Take the #BringTheBag 30 Day Challenge. Pledge to ditch all single-use bags and bring your own whenever you go shopping! And encourage others to do the same! You may not feel like you're making a difference because you're just one person, but when you set an example, others will take notice. When one person is inspired to make a change, they have the ability to inspire one more person. Soon it's dozens, hundreds, and then thousands! Go to BringTheBag.org for more info on this campaign.
If you're looking more ways make a difference, check out our tips on 10 easy ways to reduce your plastic waste.
And get involved with Surfrider Galveston as we advocate for change in our community! We hope to see you out at one of our meetings or events around the island!