City encourages use of reusable bags

DOWNEY - The city of Downey will celebrate "A Day Without a Bag" on Thursday in conjunction with many Los Angeles area communities.Holiday shoppers and retailers will be encouraged to forgo single-use plastic shopping bags in favor of reusable bags. The grass-roots educational project, sponsored by Heal the Bay, is designed to raise public awareness of sustainable alternatives to disposable plastic bags. Most estimates put individual bag use nationwide at 500-600 per year. In Los Angeles County, that translates to 6 billion bags, and in the city of Downey the same estimate yields a figure of 69 million bags used per year by Downey's approximately 115,000 residents. Of those 69 million bags, only about 5 percent are recycled, leaving more than 65 million disposable plastic bags in Downey alone that wind up in the trash headed for landfills or in sewage leading to the ocean. The Downey City Council, while endorsing city participation in the event, also has given its blessing to a pilot program underway in the Downey Unified School District to teach students the value of reusable bags. "A Day Without a Bag" also provides a natural tie-in to the school district's December emphasis on one of the six pillars of the Character Counts program: "Caring." Lars Clutterham is a member of the city's Green Task Force.

********** Published: December 11, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 33