Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Community Event Coordinator, Lexi Ambrogi!
People often ask me what kind of trash we commonly find at our cleanups. Aside from cigarette butts—which are tiny, but they’re everywhere—what volunteers tell us time and time again is that they are filling their trash buckets with lots of single-use plastics. This includes plastic water bottles, plastic utensils, and my personal pet peeve: plastic bags.
San Diegans use an average of 500 plastic bags per person each year, and while you can return them to the grocery store to be recycled, you can’t put them in your blue bin at home. Most plastic bags head straight to the landfill, where they will stay for a very long time without breaking down. What’s worse is that even bags that are thrown away properly can blow out of open dumpsters and trash cans and become part of the litter we see on the streets and at our beaches.
But it’s the holiday season, and we have some cheerful news for you! This Thursday, December 20 you can participate in an I Love A Clean San Diego event called Day Without A Bag. Volunteers will be handing out reusable bags—totally free!—at grocery stores all over San Diego County (see map here) from 5-7PM. No strings attached: just show up and get a bag, while supplies last.
The goal for this event is to encourage San Diego residents to stop relying on the single-use plastic bags from stores. Reusable bags are more durable, less wasteful, and better for the environment, and if you don’t already use them, Day Without A Bag is a great time to start!
If you can’t make it to one of those stores, a few grocery chains have special promotions going on that reward shoppers who bring their own reusable bags (see map for details). Some offer a credit for each bag, and some enter you into a drawing to win gift cards. And who doesn’t love being rewarded for helping out the environment?
Finally, as you’re out doing last-minute holiday shopping this season, remember that your reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store. Check out these useful tips for ways to remember to bring your bags with you whenever you go out, whether it’s for a quick trip to the corner store or for an all-day marathon of holiday shopping—every time you say no to plastic bags, you’re helping to keep San Diego clean!