The La Porte County Solid Waste District collected a whopping 3,441 plastic bags for recycling over the past two weeks at its America Recycles Day events, held at Al’s Supermarkets in La Porte and Michigan City.
“And to think that amount came from only about 100 residents,” said Alicia Ebaugh, the District’s education and public outreach coordinator. “We are happy that these bags will be kept from littering our environment, and that they will be recycled, but it’s definitely a sign that our communities need to look for better ways to carry home our purchases.”
Ebaugh said she used the events to raise awareness of all recycling opportunities available in the county, but the plastic bag swap was her main focus. Reusable bags donated by Al’s Supermarkets and Republic Services were swapped for plastic bags brought in by participants. The bag swap was meant to encourage residents to bring reusable bags with them every time they shop, whether they are at the grocery store, a clothing store or elsewhere.
“No matter how good it is to recycle bags or anything else, it’s always better to think of ways to reuse them or not use them at all,” she said. “Obviously sometimes it’s more convenient to take the plastic bags at the store, and many of us already have ways to reuse plastic bags at home. But the sheer amount of plastic bags simply thrown out after one use in this country is astounding.”
More than 100 billion plastic bags are used annually in the United States. La Porte County residents alone are likely going through more than 36 million bags each year, based on those statistics. Ebaugh pointed out a family of four would be bringing home about 1,200 of them each year. “We can’t possibly be reusing all of those!” she said.
America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day to promote recycling in the United States, was officially celebrated on Nov. 15. Learn more about all the recycling opportunities available in La Porte County on the Solid Waste District website, solidwastedistrict.com, or by calling us at (219) 326-0014. Also, please call the District or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be interested in making an art piece or other project out of the bags we have collected.
Photo: Solid Waste District educator Alicia Ebaugh gives residents an idea of how quickly our waste can pile up. In this photo, taken in her office, she poses with the 3,441 plastic bags she collected at the District’s America Recycles Day events, held over the past two weeks at Al’s Supermarkets in La Porte and Michigan City.