By Frances Bigda-Peyton
Bedford citizens will have an opportunity to vote on an amendment at town meeting next week aimed at reducing plastic bag use in local businesses. If it gains approval, we will be among the 30 Massachusetts cities and towns that have already instituted their own version of the legislation. This matters because a statewide single-use plastic bag bill will be voted on this year; our action will help build momentum toward approving this important legislation.
Plastic bags degrade the environment, for instance, ending up in waterways where they are consumed by sea creatures who eventually die from toxicity or intestinal damage. On land, the bags take up to a thousand years to break down. They inhibit soil nutrients and suffocate woodland animals as well. The solution is simple, using re-usable bags—not hard to do if you put some in your car or handbag. Plus, in doing this, we send a message to our children that we are responsible managers of our environment. A throw-away world is not a responsible way to live.
I hope everyone reading this will vote for the amendment. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. We can start turning this around, one town at a time.