The High Environmental Cost of Plastic Bags

Here are some reasons for us all as residents, organizations, and businesses to consider reducing our use of plastic and plastic bags.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers: $4 billion)

  • Only 1%-3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
  • Industry figures show 90% of all grocery bags are plastic.
  • Plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which is a petroleum product, and their production contributes to air pollution and energy consumption.
  • It takes 1,000 years for polyethylene bags to break down.
  • The amount of petroleum used to make 1 plastic bag would drive a car about 11 meters.
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil and waterways. They then enter the foodweb when animals accidently ingest them.
  • 86% of all known species of sea turtles have had reported problems of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris.
  • Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die each year by ingesting plastic bags. These poor animals suffer a painful death. The plastic wraps around their intestines, or they choke to death.
  • Less than 5% of US shoppers use canvas, cotton, or mesh bags. Please change that number by choosing reusable bags when you shop.

plastic spoon

Local Legends Acoustic Folk for Responsible Growth Hinesburg, Friday

Local Legends

Local musicians get together Friday 7-9pm at Champlain Valley Union high school to support Responsible Growth Hinesburg, a grassroots community organization.
Concert Line-up:Jamie Masefield with Doug Perkins, Tyler Bolles, and Jon Fishman; Michael Chorney/Maryse Smith; and Pete’s Posse: Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon,Tristan Henderson.

Tickets available locally at Brown Dog Books and Gifts on Mechanicsville Road or by phone at 86-FLYNN.

Shopping on Amazon? Use this link to benefit Williston schools

Williston Central School

Amazon has a program that allows people and organizations to earn money when people shop at Amazon through a link from that person or organization instead of just going straight to Nothing changes for the shopper: there are no extra fees or limitations or anything, but purchases made after getting to the site through that link will each earn the referring person or organization a small advertising fee paid by Amazon.

Williston Families as Partners, the group that oversees fundraising for school events and helps involve the community in Williston’s schools, has started a smart fundraiser by getting their own Amazon link. The next time you have online purchases to make, please consider using this link: (suggestion: save it in your favorites, or else bookmark this page).

By the way, we’re not suggesting that you shop more online for this reason: there are a lot of benefits to getting things locally (though if you have to drive around too much to get them, you can wipe a lot of the environmental benefits out!). However, if you’re already getting something online, especially a large purchase, why not help out Williston schools while you’re at it?

Next Meeting: Wednesday 1/15 at the Dorothy Alling Library

We’ll have our next meeting Wednesday, January 15th at 7pm at the Dorothy Alling Library in Williston. Current projects include topics like bikes, trees, and buses. Everyone interested in environmental and sustainability issues is welcome. Click “Contact” in the menu if you have any questions.