Janet Atkinson: Unfortunate single-use plastic roaring back in time of crisis | SierraSun.com

Janet Atkinson: Unfortunate single-use plastic roaring back in time of crisis

Unfortunate single-use plastic roaring back in crisis

On my last trip to the grocery store I was disappointed to see a sign that said they were not accepting reusable shopping bags. Needless to say, upon checkout I had a shopping cart full of plastic bags!

On my next trip, I will just put the groceries back into my cart. Then I’ll put them into my own bags in my car. It will take extra time, but that’s a fair solution.

Another thing I’ve noticed from national press conferences is that new test kits will be using plastic swabs with polyester tips. It has also been said that when they reopen, restaurant menus, utensils, and plates will be disposable, much like the heavily wrapped take-out we are seeing right now.

We are in unprecedented times when, understandably, health takes top priority. However, it is unfortunate that single-use plastic is roaring back.

In California last fall, two bills failed that would have made advancement in reducing plastics and packaging (SB 54 and AB 1080). If these landmark bills had passed, the substitutions we are seeing now would be compostable or contain less plastic. I’ve read that it takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill and even then, the bags don’t break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that release toxins and continue to pollute the environment, including our beautiful Lake Tahoe.

When our country is able to put the virus behind us, it will be important to raise our voices again to combat the giant plastics industry. Clean energy and green innovation can be kickstarters to our economy and can provide healthier alternatives in our changing world.

Janet Atkinson


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