Let's assume your property has a gift shop or another type of shop or shops. Once a customer purchases an item, in what type of bag is the item given to the customer? Plastic? You may have read or heard about the problems with plastic bags. I was recently sent a press release about an effort by the Greenhouse Neutral Foundation to ban nonbiodegradable plastic bags. The release does a pretty good job explaining the problems that plastic bags cause. Here are some facts to consider:
- Around the planet, almost one million plastic bags per minute are distributed. Only 2 percent of those bags are recycled.
- Those plastic bags that are not recycled persist in the environment for 500 to 1,000 years or more.
- Two million birds are killed yearly from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic debris. Plastic bags cause more than 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.
- Every single piece of plastic ever manufactured is still on the planet (well, maybe there are a few items on the moon or floating in space).
- There are an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean.
There is currently an initiative under way to ban the plastic bag by the end of 2010. Until plastic bags are outlawed, do what you can to avoid using them. Offer your guests paper bags instead. Or, better yet, offer them reusable bags—the kind often found in grocery stores today. Put your property's logo on them. Make them attractive—something your guests will be excited about reusing. Do what you can to eliminate plastic bags from the waste stream.