Green Thoughts:

Trash Is Ubiquitous

From Art Cooley




Trash is ubiquitous!  It is left on our beaches, it is deposited in and around garbage cans, it is floating in the ocean slowly being washed up on our beaches, and it drifts around parking lots on the slightest breeze.  Occasionally one is blown into a tree where Charlie Brown might mistake it for one of his kites.


As we look for ways to reduce the stream of trash flowing into our landfills, this is something for our city, town, and county politicians to consider.


Ireland reduced its plastic bag use by 94% by putting a $.33 tax on each.  San Francisco banned them and other communities are considering that approach.  Recently New York City announced that it would place a five cent tax on plastic bags.  Many people voluntarily use reusable bags but a monetary penalty will have a more dramatic and predictable effect. 


Think of the substantial revenue stream that would be produced.  This is a method for County, City and State governments to increase revenue without raising taxes?  We have an ocean to protect, we have beaches to keep clean, and we are looking to reduce the amount of non biodegradable trash deposited in our landfills.


If a program similar to that in NYC were implemented, we would create a monetary reason for people to cooperate in our voluntary program. Additionally, as we convince residents to participate in the program, non-participants will be the only people who will have to pay for the municipalities to process their wastes. Their fees will add money to the depleted city and county coffers.


Here is a win/win situation for all. The money can be used to fund education and public works projects. Merchants can sell reusable bags. Schools and organizations could sell reusable bags with their logo's as fund raisers.  The only people paying this fee, would be those who chose to.

And, in the process, we can make plastic bags less ubiquitous.



This article is the result of a letter I sent to the Mayor of San Diego to urge a reduction in disposable plastic bags. Jim McGowan modified it and sent it to local town and county politicians in both South Carolina and New York. The idea of reducing wasteful plastic bags is gaining attention and if anyone would like to adapt this letter to send to his or her political leaders, the idea might become more ubiquitous than plastic bags.


                                                                                        Art Cooley

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