World Oceans Day

Today, June 8th, is World Oceans Day, a time to celebrate and honor the ocean, which connects us all.

The Texas State Aquarium is celebrating the day by joining 400 other organizations to reduce plastic trash in the marine environment. This summer, they will conduct a green audit to reduce plastic waste and energy use, and will conduct at least 10 cleanups at North Beach and Packery Channel.

What can YOU do for World Oceans Day? If you haven’t made the change yet, please take the Better Bag Challenge and make the switch to reusable shopping bags.


06 2015

Our June Bag Hero – Gayly Opem

June Bag Hero_Gayly Opem2
Our Bag Hero for June is Gayly Opem. As the leader of Skip the Plastic’s Rockport/Fulton team, she sets an example for others by bringing her own bags when shopping. She has a large collection of them in blue, green, red, turquoise, black and white stacked in the backseat of her car and jokes that she likes to color coordinate them with whatever she’s wearing that day. On a more serious note, she says:

“I believe in the power of recognition and positive reinforcement of good behavior. While walking through a store’s parking lot, I look for someone else carrying reusable bags. That person is usually a complete stranger, but I walk over and thank them for using reusable bags. Most look rather startled, but then give me a knowing smile when they see my own reusable bags slung over my arm. Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised at the friends you make.”


06 2015

The Cook Family are Our May Bag Heroes

Cook Family
Our Bag Heroes for May are Frank, Lili and Marchesa Cook. We met them at the recent World of Water event at the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center.

They’re all natives of Corpus Christi who want their hometown to sparkle again. Bringing their own bags when shopping is one small but important way they make a difference.

“We like going to the beach and know that people come from a lot of other places to visit Corpus Christi’s birding preserves. We need to protect these natural places so that more people can enjoy them.“

Hats off to the Cooks and all the other Bag Hero families!


05 2015

April Bag Heroes are Marine Scientists

Our April Bag Heroes are Dr. Jeremy Conkle and Danneille Kulaw. Jeremy recently established the Coastal Health and Water Quality Lab at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Dannielle works as a research assistant at Harte Research Institute. Jeremy’s lab will study the fate, transport and health impacts of pollutants, including plastics, in coastal environments while Dannielle’s research looks into the population genetics of marine fishes.

“We moved to Corpus Christi last summer and were very happy to learn about the efforts to solve the area’s plastic pollution problem. We have been working on minimizing our own plastic consumption for a while now, and that started with switching to reusable bags about 5 years ago. It is an exciting time to live here, but when you look around you know we’ve got a long way to go. With the growing community awareness, we know that Corpus Christi is on the right path, and we both look forward to being part of the progress!”


04 2015

Our February Bag Hero

When he’s not forecasting the weather on KRIS TV, Maclovio Perez helps our community through his involvement in organizations like the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation.

With a background in meteorology and geosciences, “Mac” recognizes the impact that each person can have on the planet. It’s often up to individuals whether those impacts are positive or negative.

Commenting on a plastic shopping bag, he says, “It’s amazing that this plastic bag….so light…so cheap….so innocuous….has become such a problem to our environment. I applaud the work done by many to bring the problem to light. I am sure the sea turtles also applaud their efforts!

Most of the time, I skip the plastic and carry my goods out by hand… or in a shopping cart.
Then other times, my reusable bag makes so much sense.”


02 2015

New Lab at TAMUCC Will Study Microplastics in the Marine Food Chain

Dr. Jeremy Conkle will lead research on the presence of microplastics in local marine waters and the impact on Gulf of Mexico fisheries.


01 2015

Plastic Seas

“YOU are the Solution. REFUSE to be part of the problem.”


01 2015

Special January Bag Heroes

We’re extremely pleased to announce our special January Bag Heroes, the City of Port Aransas. As we imagine what 2015 might bring, their passage of a plastic bag ban shows that concrete action is within the grasp of each Coastal Bend community to help make our region a better place.

The ordinance encourages retailers to provide incentives through education, credits, rebates or tokens for customers who bring their own reusable bags. We like this approach and envision a variety of advertising opportunities on reusable bags.

Skip the Plastic’s team in Port Aransas will stay engaged in the process to help retailers, residents and visitors make the transition to reusable bags. Way to go Port A!!


01 2015

Port Aransas Adopts a Plastic Bag Ban

In a bold move to help clean up their community, Port Aransas’ City Council voted 5-1 yesterday in favor of a plastic bag ban ordinance. A voluntary ban will begin on January 1, 2015, followed by a mandatory ban starting on January 1, 2016.

Port Aransas joins 10 other Texas cities, 2 states and over 20 countries that have decided to regulate plastic shopping bags because of the infrastructure, fiscal and environmental problems that they cause.

The Port Aransas ordinance aims to reduce the number of plastic checkout bags littering the beaches, streets and surrounding waters in the city. Bags used to hold bait, seafood and other raw foods are exempted in the ordinance.

Of all the residents who spoke at Council meetings leading up to vote, perhaps Tony Amos spoke with the most authority. As a prominent researcher at the UT Marine Science Institute and director of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK), he described the sad experience of finding injured or dead birds and marine animals that have eaten or been entangled in plastic bags.

One change the Council made in the draft ordinance before passage was the removal of a clause allowing compostable plastic bags to be given out in place of disposable ones. Their reasoning was the lack of evidence on whether such bags will degrade when in sand dunes or underwater.

We applaud the Port Aransas Council members and hope that leaders in other Coastal Bend cities will follow their example.


12 2014

Our December Bag Hero

Our December Bag Hero is Kathy Jansen, the Director of Food Services/Chef at the Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center on Highway 361. To buy all the ingredients used in preparing meals for up to 80 guests at the center, she has to make 3 to 5 trips a week to the grocery store.

Noting the number of disposable plastic bags she was accumulating, Kathy made the switch to reusable shopping bags six years ago. She now keeps ten reusable bags in her car at all times, so they’re there when she needs them.

The purpose of Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center, a ministry of Christian hospitality, is to provide a sacred place that offers guests rest, reflection, and renewal surrounded by God’s coastal creation. Kathy says that using reusable bags, “Is one small way for me to be a good steward of the gift of God’s creation.”


12 2014