The Second R

Today I went shopping at the Albertson’s in Carpinteria specifically to thank them for choosing to go “bag-less.” I want to show my support for their environmental commitment, support I will be glad to give to any business willing to do the right thing where environmental protection is concerned.

The City of Santa Barbara has a voluntary program encouraging businesses to reduce single-use bags and reward customers for bringing their own. But I am not aware of any merchant that has done what Albertson’s has done. I can only hope that others will follow Albertson’s example. I can also only hope that the Santa Barbara City Council will act differently than the members of its Ordinance Committee, and choose to pursue an ordinance banning single-use bags—precisely because so few businesses seem willing to act voluntarily.

Out of sight should not mean out of mind. The plastic bags we use, then cast aside, do not simply disappear, nor do they get digested by wildlife (sorry, Council Member Hotchkiss). They clog our landfills, pollute our oceans, and use up precious energy to manufacture. How much easier to simply carry reusable bags with you? It’s worked for Collingwood, New Zealand, one of the first towns in the world to go bag-less—it’s time for it to work here, too.

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