Guest Post: From Philthadelphia to America’s Greenest City

From Philthadelphia to America’s Greenest City by Julie Hancher, Green Philly Blog

I ran a little less than 4 miles last August and decided to start counting (and taking photos) of every plastic bag I saw. I ended taking 74 photos of plastic bags caught on streets, in waterways and empty bags floating around

Philthadelphia is our city’s terrible nickname since we have a reputation of littered streets and dirty neighborhoods.

Mission to Reduce Endless Litter…. One bag at a time.

Last July, we asked 10 bloggers to address one issue that affects Americans every day: plastic bags. Paige was a huge advocate to help us raise awareness of how much damage one little ‘t shirt’ bag can do to the surrounding streets and environment.

Unlike paper that biodegrades, plastic photodegrades, which means it breaks into tiny tiny pieces but likely never naturally ‘dissolves’ into the surrounding area naturally. Plastic fragments end up in the water along with plankton (working its way up the food chain to us… yum!). Animals mistake plastic bag as a food source, like this seagull.

Plus we’re already paying for plastic bags. Retailers embed costs like these into our bills, making them higher. A plastic bag fee would ask the question: do you want to buy the plastic bag? Or bring your own? Consumers can decide where their money goes.

We’ve spent so much time reducing tree ‘resources’ in order to switch to paper. But remembering a cotton reusable bag isn’t hard. You only need a few to keep in your kitchen, car or office for errands. And many models fold up into your purchase or briefcase to take with you wherever you go.

The solution is easy… it’s something humans have done for thousands of years before the invention of the plastic bag. Bring your own bag to carry your purchases in.

How do you get people to stop littering?

People will always litter – that’s a given fact. But some litter is worse than others as it can release chemical or easily float away. Or end up in our oceans through the waterways.

Although education is important to reduce litter, people typically change their habits in one of two ways: their lives depend on it, or legislation. A simple piece of legislation can reduce one hazardous type of litter and help people consider their habits. One bill can help generate revenue for City Schools and clean up our streets. One law can set the precedent for other cities and municipalities, reassuring them that environmental legislation matters.

Philthadelphia can be America’s greenest city. We just need to step up to the plate and put our money where our mouth is. Or our money in the checkout line when we forget our reusable bag.

Julie Hancher is founder & author of Green Philly Blog, where she vents about plastic bags, incorrect items in the single-stream recycling bin and unnecessary litter. However, she tries looking at the bright side of things and makes it super easy for you to go green, whether it’s finding local craft beer or reusable utensil set. You can help the plastic bag campaign by signing the petition or following the events unfold on Facebook.   

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