Fellow Long Beach resident, mother, and sustainable interior designer, Amanda Moore, wanted me to post the following piece:
We all know that Long Beach is a small, yet diverse community with all the benefits of a city structure in a relatively small town. Most would agree that our biggest asset is the recreation and beauty that our beaches and bays provide, but most impressively, Long Beach truly has something for everyone. Households with children are a small but growing sector of the population here. But even if you don’t personally have any stake in the next generation, when was the last time you enjoyed swimming alongside floating plastic bags, or watching the sun set over a polluted bay? Maybe you haven’t heeded the call to “go green” just yet (although the 2nd Annual GreenFest in Kennedy Plaza on May 21st was certainly abuzz with locals throughout the day), but most of us can at least see some of the problems at hand.
Southampton Village, another small coastal town like ours, recently took a groundbreaking stand for the protection of their waterways, aquatic life, and the health of the planet and the future generations that will inherit it. At the end of April, the town board passed a bill banning the distribution of reusable plastic bags under a certain size. Retailers will be required to phase them out within 6 months. Less toxic paper options can be offered, but the core intention of the ban is to encourage residents to carry reusable bags that make no contribution to our landfill overcrowding, won’t blow in the wind and get entangled in trees or float in our waters, killing sealife who mistake them for food. Perhaps the most profound reason for the ban is that no plastic bag ever made has yet to fully decompose (they’ve only been around for half a century or so and the process is estimated to take 100’s of years, but in truth, no one really knows). And as they do start to break down, the petrochemicals in them break down too, leaching into our groundwater systems.
I guess I could go on and on here, but that’s not why I’m writing this. This is just the background that gets me to the true intent of this outreach: to see if Long Beach could ever propose, execute and live with such legislation. All change is typically resisted at first and I can just imagine the abundance of opposing reasons, but I want to hear it directly from the people that live and play here. And, hey, if you support the idea, I want to hear from you too!!
Just for fun, I recently called the 3 largest grocery stores in our town and discovered that, combined, they distribute an estimated 3.5 MILLION PLASTIC BAGS every year. They all have recycling bins for them, but pointed out that only a small fraction are returned for recycling. And not to mention that there are those who prefer paper bags and the rare few like myself that ONLY uses reusable bags, an easy habit with a little consistent practice and a set of bags always in the trunk. When you think of this city’s relatively small population, that’s A LOT of plastic bags per household.
So please share your thoughts…..plastic bag ban in Long Beach…..why or why not? Please post your comments here on Sea By the City or at my blog baby green.