Friday, June 29, 2007

Recycle your Plastic Bags!

Plastic Bags
Originally uploaded by CD-13
I joined Councilmember Ed Reyes and Assemblymember Lloyd Levine to kick off Los Angeles' new plastic bag recycling program. Thanks to Assemblymember Levine's legislation, all stores greater than 10,000 square feet will soon have on-site plastic bag collection centers where you can bring your bags to be recycled. Councilmember Reyes has gone beyond this threshold, working with smaller local grocery stores to provide the same service to a wider audience. To make recycling even easier, the city’s blue bin program now accepts plastic bags and coat hangers. Couple this with the expansion of the blue bins to multi-family residences in the city and recycling is easier than ever.

Each year, Californians consume 19 billion plastic bags - an average of 552 bags per person.


These bags consume 82 million gallons of oil per year, increasing our dependence on fossil fuels while emitting tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Once the bags have been put to use they often end up in our watershed, polluting the LA River and the Santa Monica Bay and disrupting our fragile marine ecosystems. A ubiquitous feature of modern life, plastic bags have had a tremendous impact on the environment.

These new programs represent an enormous opportunity for us to reduce our ecological footprint. Recycling is only one part of the equation. We need to reduce our consumption - for instance, by employing canvass bags like the one featured here - and reuse plastic bags when possible. Recycling is a small thing, but it is those very small changes we commit ourselves to, whether using an energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb instead of a regular light or taking public transit once a week, that will preserve our planet for future generations.