Can you go anywhere in Oregon these days and not see a discarded plastic grocery bag? They are on and in the streets, beaches, oceans, rivers and streams, campgrounds, parks, and wilderness areas.
Oregon is a state of natural beauty that attracts tourists from around the country and the globe. In an effort to keep Oregon the Natural beauty and attraction that it is, we have some of the most progressive anti-pollution measures in the country. An Oregonian can be fined $6250.00 and spend up to a year in jail for littering. Doesn’t it make sense to just get rid of a major source of that litter, the same as we did with bottles, cans and electronic waste?
There is no need for plastic grocery bags. While paper bags aren’t perfect either, they too can hold groceries and unlike plastic they decompose in a month rather than hundreds of years. Plastic bags are a menace to our ecosystem. Barely recyclable, almost all of the 3,000 bags used in this country per second are discarded. Once discarded, they either enter our landfills or our marine ecosystem.
People think of plastic bags as being free. Instead, they actually cost taxpayers millions every year. In San Francisco alone, City officials estimate that they spend $8.5 million annually to deal with plastic bag litter. That equates to around 17 cents for every bag distributed in the city. Plastic bags cost American cities millions annually in landfill costs, litter cleanup costs, and other costs.
At least 267 species have been scientifically documented to be adversely affected by plastic marine debris. Plastic bags are considered especially dangerous to sea turtles, who mistake them for jellyfish, a main food source. Plastic bags that enter our marine environment eventually break down into small fragments, which adsorb surrounding toxins and can move up the food chain when ingested.
Please help make plastic grocery bags in Oregon a thing of the past.