Environmental Issues

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Recycling: It Starts At The Grocery Store

Written by Beth Marlin Lichter
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The next time you get into your car to go food shopping, throw a bunch of canvas, paper, or heavy-duty reusable bags into the trunk. Prepare to get serious about recycling and diminish our reliance upon plastic.

For decades, we have been complacent about our use of plastic. When we make a purchase in a store, chances are the salesperson is going to put that item into a plastic bag. Consider all the purchases we make in a year and the figures become staggering.

Americans use between 50 and 80 billion plastic bags per year. Less than 1% gets recycled. Recently, the grocery chain, Whole Foods has decided to do something positive to reduce the use of plastic. They no longer offer plastic bags to its customers. They do, however, sell reusable bags, which are inexpensive, and durable. At the check-out stand, groceries are now bagged in recycled paper bags and customers are encouraged to keep them and reuse them the next time they come shopping.

It's a question of being retrained. It really doesn't take much effort to arrive at a food store with your own canvas bags, or paper bags that are still serviceable. We just haven't gotten to the point yet, where it has become automatic.

Plastic is bad for the environment. The plastic that goes to the landfill, does not readily break down. Its chemicals will seep down into the ground over time, adding to the pollution of our water sources.

Plastic is also a petroleum-based product, and considering our dependence upon foreign oil, and the fact that we are swiftly depleting the Earth's natural resources, it is in our best interests to reduce our use overall, of plastics.

Manufacturing plants use less energy, creating products from recycled plastic. Plastic lumber, toys, park benches, and car parts can be produced using recycled plastic, along with many other items we use each day.

Along with the recycling of refuse at home, there are things we can do to pollute less, consume less, protect and preserve more. It seems so simple, but just by walking into your neighborhood grocery store, with your own reusable bags, you are making a decided effort to care for our planet and its future.


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