Ghostly apparitions can appear when plastic grocery bags float by on the wind, or are caught on a fence or shrub.
Multiply that experience by billions and it’s more than just an apparition, but a problem being addressed by governments around the world.
“Our number one problem here at the landfill is single-use plastic grocery bags that are picked up and blown everywhere by the wind,” says Rob Richards, president of Intermountain Regional Landfill in Fairfield.
The world is producing a record amount of single-use plastic waste. Mostly, these plastics are made with polymers created from fossil fuels, according to a new report released Feb. 6 by the Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023.
That same report also indicates that recycling isn’t scaling sufficiently fast to deal with the amount of plastic being produced.
That means used plastic products are more likely to be dumped in landfills, along roadsides, at beaches, and in rivers and oceans than to make it to recycling stations.
In recent years, policies have been created around the world designed to help reduce the volume of single-use plastic.
Consumers may have heard of state or local governments banning products such as single-use straws, disposable cutlery, food containers, balloons and plastic bags.
Last year, the United Nations Environment Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, agreed to create the world’s first-ever global plastic pollution treaty.
The intergovernmental committee is working to meet a 2024 deadline to draft a legally-binding agreement addressing the lifecycle of plastic — from its production and design, to its disposal.
Eagle Mountain residents can help alleviate plastic waste in the community
As a start, residents can consider how to use plastic grocery bags more efficiently:
- Save and return grocery shopping bags on the next trip to the grocery store and place them in the bag-recycling container provided, usually near the front entrance.
- Many families have a few large bags they pack up when camping or picnicking. Those can be taken to the grocery store to bag up purchases, opting out of the single-use grocery bag.
- While out hiking or walking along the many Eagle Mountain City trails, take along a plastic grocery bag to gather up stray roadside trash — especially plastic bags caught on fences and shrubbery.
- As a family, discuss scheduling a time to perform community service at intervals for gathering trash, which will likely include grocery bags.
- If you just have one item you’re purchasing, you may want to skip the bag altogether.
“We actively encourage shoppers to purchase and utilize reusable bags and offer a variety of options in our stores,” said a Macey’s Eagle Mountain spokesperson.
According to the Deseret News, a handful of Utah cities have ordinances that prohibit the use of plastic bags. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, several more cities were considering bans on plastic grocery bags.
If substantial single-use plastic trash is found within City limits, residents are encouraged to contact the City Neighborhood Improvement department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.