“YOU are the Solution. REFUSE to be part of the problem.”
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!!
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.
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.”
Click to listen to the show or read the transcript:
Our November Bag Hero, Paulette Kluge, is the CEO of the Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau. She knows how important it is to keep our city looking beautiful for both visitors and our locals, and invites everyone to a challenge: “Imagine all the people you know … imagine all the plastic bags they use in a year and then imagine the gigantic pile of plastic we are stuffing into the ground of our beautiful city.”
Paulette loves collecting and using reusable shopping bags. “Last year for Christmas I used the reusable holiday themed H-E-B bags to “wrap” presents for my friends and family, eliminating boxes and paper that would be thrown away. I invited them all to start collecting and using their bags.”
She hopes we’ll all start collecting and using reusable bags and that we invite friends and family to play. It is time to make it a personal goal to reduce, reuse and recycle.
We would like to welcome the Island Moon Newspaper as our newest Skip the Plastic Partner! As a major source of news for residents of North Padre and Mustang Islands, the Moon keeps its readers updated on our efforts to phase out plastic shopping bags and encourage better programs to prevent littering.
The island beaches and wetlands are THE top tourism attraction in the Coastal Bend, offering great beachcombing, fishing, bird watching and water sports opportunities. We all need to work together to ensure that visitors’ memories are filled with clean beaches and water, and that residents can enjoy peaceful morning walks along the shore without having to step over trash.
Kudos to the Island Moon for helping to show the way!
Alicia, WWN webmaster & owner, says, “We live in a wildlife-centric area, so it’s imperative that we are all mindful of how our actions affect our natural environment. It may seem like a small thing to use a reusable bag, but if we all make small choices we will make one BIG difference!”
Barbara Gurtner, founder of WWN adds, “When I first began taking reusable bags into stores, I never knew how many to take. How much shopping am I going to do? A friend solved the dilemma by telling me how she does it. She keeps one large bag filled with all her other bags and carries them with her. When standing in the check-out line, if she sees the people next to her don’t have reusable bags, she gives them one or more from her collection. This way she eliminates single use plastic bags from landfills and roadsides not only for herself and new friends, but for countless times in the future. Thank you, Patty, for a great example of ‘Paying it Forward.’ I now do this every time I shop.”
Thursday, September 18, 9:30 AM
Rockport City Hall, 622 Market Street
The Rockport City Council’s Environmental and Water Quality Committee will deliberate and act upon a possible recommendation to the City Council on our Skip the Plastic effort. This will be the second time this committee has included us on their agenda and your participation is needed.
Your voice and attendance is important to show the Committee and the City Council that a significant number of residents care about the aesthetic and environmental health issues associated with single-use plastic shopping bags and want something done.
Agenda for the 18th: http://www.cityofrockport.com/documents/13/26/09-18-2014_201409120826532907.pdf
Thursday, September 18, 5:00 PM
Port Aransas City Hall, 710 W. Avenue A at Cutoff Road
The Port Aransas City Council will decide which elements they want in their plastic bag ban ordinance before voting on it in their October meeting. Come show your support for this bold step that will result in a cleaner city, better beaches and bag free Gulf waters!!