NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 9, 2013

Single-use plastic bag habit can be broken

To the editor:

In 2003, in the small New Hampshire town I called home before moving to Newburyport, the public outcry over a proposed ban on smoking in restaurants and bars was palpable. Then lo and behold, by 2007, all N.H. restaurants and bars operated 100 percent smoke-free. Today, smokers and non-smokers alike understand and accept that decision and go about their lives. Public benefit won out over personal interests. The time has come for us to recognize that our habit of accepting single-use plastic bags at store checkout should wisely come to an end.

The documentary “Bag It,” which was aired for our community on May 22, opened my eyes to the detriments of these seemingly inconsequential conveniences. No one I know intends to contribute to a massive environmental assault on wildlife and marine life by mindlessly accepting these plastic bags at checkout, and yet, that is what we are doing. The Sierra Club estimates that every year the number of littered plastic bags, if tied end to end, could encircle our beautiful planet not just once, but 63 times. Annually, as a nation, we throw away some 100 billion (yes, that’s with a “B”) plastic bags after we’ve used them for an average of 20 minutes. That’s the equivalent of dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.

The beauty and pristine quality of this spectacular seaside community drew me to Newburyport, and I will do my part to keep it this way for generations to come. Other coastal communities, such as Nantucket and Manchester-by-the-Sea locally, as well as coastal North Carolina, San Francisco and the Hawaiian Islands, have realized the gift we have of living on the ocean and have banned single-use plastic bags as a step toward preserving the environment. In Portland, Ore., the sky didn’t fall when they passed the ban in 2011. In one year, their city saw a 300 percent increase in reusable bag use.

We can do it. We can decide that it’s time to break what we now know is a bad habit. Support the local proposed bag ordinance to eliminate thin-film, single-use plastic bags from Newburyport stores. Let’s join the other Mass. towns in carrying our own reusable bags and start a new habit that will benefit us for generations to come.

Rebecca B. Osborne

Newburyport

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans