Some 380 billion plastic bags and wraps are used every year in the United States, according to the EPA. And only about 1 percent are recycled, leaving the rest to fill our landfills, litter our streets and foul our waterways.
Many cities throughout the United States have taken steps to ban plastic bags — 165 cities and towns, according to Plastic Bag Ban Report, a national advocacy group, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC — but the effort has been stalled in Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tom Wolf in June vetoed a bill passed by the General Assembly that would have banned bans or fees on plastic bags statewide.
There is a lot that the Co-op is doing to keep plastic out of the waste stream, starting with not offering single-use “T-shirt” shopping bags in the first place. Many Co-op shoppers bring their own bags or re-use boxes from Co-op product deliveries. Our extensive bulk section and sale of reusable bulk bags and glass containers make avoiding plastic easier — and we’ve got regular workshops with the Co-op’s own Zero Waste Consultant, Alisa Shargorodsky, to help members work toward zero waste at home. With Weavers Way Mercantile’s extensive selection of reusable shopping bags and jars of all sizes for storing bulk items, we’ve been able to redouble our efforts in helping shoppers avoid plastic waste while shopping — and do it in style.
One of the reusable totes we’re carrying at The Mercantile deserves a special mention. Ben Ford, a Co-op member and sophomore at Upper Dublin High School, created reusable tote bags as part of a project for an environmental studies class, to promote the use of reusable materials instead of plastic. Ben is donating the proceeds from the sale of the bags to the Ambler Environmental Action Council, which plans to plant trees with Ben’s donation. The bags are $3 each.
Congratulations, Ben, and thank you for your efforts! We are thrilled to support you in this project.