BLOCK THE BAG*
Why Support "Blocking the Bag?"
Plastic is something that all of us use in one way or another and the plastic bag is one of the biggest culprits for environmental pollution. Simultaneously, it is an opportunity for us to take a stand regardless of who we are or where we live.
For Block Island, "one of the last great places" (as The Nature Conservancy has aptly named it), we believe "blocking the bag" would be a step in the right direction. Here's why...
PROBLEMS WITH THE BAGS
• THE PLASTIC BAG-LOVING AMERICAN: According to the film, Bag It, about 60,000 bags are given out every 5 seconds in US, which comes out to approximately 370 billion bags a year.
• TOTAL LANDFILL: Plastic bags have a recycle rate of 1%, meaning that majority of them end up in landfills, or in the ocean.
• TRASHY OCEAN CONSTELLATIONS: 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, weighing around 260,000 tons. This is 13x more plastic than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy (400 billion stars.)
• ALWAYS FINDS ITS WAY TO THE OCEAN: 80 % of plastic debris in the ocean comes from a land based source. This means that majority of plastic pollution on land finds its way to a water source via wind, storm drains, etc. and is carried into the ocean directly, or rivers and other waterways leading to the ocean.
• KILLS ANIMALS: Approximately 700 different species are affected by marine debris either through ingestion or entanglement.
• A BLOATED PLASTIC SEA: By 2050, there will be more plastics in our ocean than fish, by weight.
• SEABIRD PLASTIC BUFFET: Currently, 90% of seabirds have been shown to consume plastic pollution. By 2050, it will be 99%.
• PLASTIC BAG OR FOOD?: Sea turtles (and many mother marine species) commonly mistake plastic bags (and balloons!) for jellyfish. It is estimated that almost every single sea turtle has or will consume plastic in their lifetime.
BENEFITS OF THE BAN
- THE RIPPLE EFFECT: Block Island, like all great places, is an environment that we believe we have a duty to protect from plastic debris. By "blocking the bag," we set an example for other communities and start a ripple effect of environmental awareness and action.
- EVERYONE CAN DO IT: "Block the Bag" is a very tangible and relevant way to get involved and do your part to help keep places like Block Island clean, not only from plastic pollution but from the trash created on island and shipped off island.
- BRING YOUR OWN BAG!: It could be a monetary incentive for local stores and small businesses (dependent upon the visiting consumer) who could actually make money off of selling reusable bags that could have their logo on it. By bringing your own bag or purchasing a reusable store bag, you are not only incentivizing and supporting businesses in doing the right thing.
Check back for information on our new Sustainable Straw Project coming soon!
*Information contributed by Tracy Nolan and Debris Free Oceans.
WHAT CONSERFEST DOES
- GET THE WORD OUT!: Raise awareness about issue with the visiting masses for the purposes of educating and generating agency, while helping to minimize or eliminate plastic bag impact on Block Island and beyond.
- RAISE $: Raise funds to support the Town of New Shoreham and partner environmental organizations (like Debris Free Oceans) in their efforts to encourage consumers, producers and business owners to minimize/eliminate their personal use, purchase and supply of plastic bags..
- STEWARDSHIP PROGRAMS: Make supplies more readily available to support local student environmental stewardship efforts and programs.
- Block Island Times: "Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect" (12/29/2017)
- Block Island Times: "Ban of Plastic Bags Discussed" (5/19/2017)
- Sign the MoveOn.org Block Island petition!
- Town of New Shoreham Revised DRAFT of Reusable Carryout Bag Initiative (*Based upon Barrington, RI's Article III)
- Plastic Pollution Coalition
- Surfrider Foundation's master list of state-to-state plastic bag bans and regulations
OTHER CONSERFEST CAMPAIGNS: