Black bear 1

Look for WIN-WIN shopping bags at the postal facility through April 23, and at the IGA and wherever Black Bear Project merchandise is sold on an ongoing basis.

WIN-WIN encourages reusable shopping bags

BY DEBBIE HOWELL

The 2019 Leadership Big Canoe Recycling Team, challenged to help make Big Canoe greener, decided to zero in on recycling. Better recycling means less trash in the landfill and a cleaner environment.

The Black Bear Project (BBP), in addition to working to keep people and bears safe, is also dedicated to making Big Canoe a place where people, wildlife and the forest live in harmony.

The Recycling Team and BBP have partnered to make reusable bags available in green, khaki and pink for $3 each. The bags are available at the IGA and wherever Black Bear Project merchandise is sold on an ongoing basis and at the postal facility, noon till 4 p.m., through April 23. The bags have proven so popular, there is a possibility of running short at the postal facility! Proceeds go to further the Black Bear Project’s ongoing efforts to keep people and bears safe.

Plastic vs. reusable

The useful life of a plastic shopping bag is short—from the store to house. Maybe once in a while it is used to line a wastebasket, but mostly it goes into the trash or gets taken back to the store to be recycled.

From the trash, it goes into a landfill—forever. If we make on average three shopping trips per week to the grocery store and take home an average of five bags per trip, that is 780 bags per household per year just for groceries. The home improvement store, the department store and other retailers add more. That is a lot of plastic bags.

Even if you take the bags back to the store to be recycled, there is a limit to how many times the plastic can be recycled before becoming unusable. According to Advanced Disposal, Big Canoe’s recycling contractor, plastic water bottles can be recycled once to become plastic microwavable-type containers, which are not recyclable. In addition, it now costs more to recycle the plastic shopping bag than it does to manufacture it, so there aren’t many takers when it is time to sell the product.

In Big Canoe, we cannot dispose of plastic bags in the recycling bin. They cause damage to the recycler’s conveyor belts and create work stoppages by jamming the machinery.

All in all, plastic shopping bags are not a good option.

Reusable shopping bags, on the other hand, are a great option!

They can be used over and over, eliminating the need for most plastic shopping bags. If each of the 2,700 homes in Big Canoe eliminated 600 of the 780 bags used on average per household per year, we can keep 1,620,000 bags from the landfill.

Make the small change with the big difference and help the environment and our bears!

black bear 2

Tim Harr, accompanied by his dog Pepper, buys a shopping bag to support the Black Bear Project from Jo Ellen Trammell at the postal facility.

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