It is a party of a different kind and you are invited to join us as we celebrate the county-wide initiative to help reduce the insidious amount of plastic pollution!

If you have ever participated in stream or neighborhood cleanups, you understand the problem with plastics, as well as other litter and debris. Most of us have seen the horrendous photos of the gyres of plastic in the oceans and littering the beaches.

Reducing and eliminating plastics, such as straws, containers, and single use bags has become an important initiative around the world. And now Cuyahoga County can be counted in. On January 1, the County’s Plastic Bag Ban went into effect. Kudos to County Councilwoman Sunny Simon and Councilman Dale Miller for introducing the legislation, and to the Cuyahoga Solid Waste District for their help in rolling out the campaign. Cuyahoga SWCD, along with many community organizations, is doing our part to get the message out. To date the first batch of 28,000 bags has been distributed!

Here are some facts:

  • 1 re-useable bag can replace more than 700 single use plastic bags
  • Over 319 million bags become waste in Cuyahoga County
  • The average bag is used for only 12 minutes
  • It takes more than 1000 years for a bag to decompose.

And the benefits?

  • A cleaner and healthier environment—for animals and people
  • Cleaner water supply
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Cleaner neighborhoods
  • Costs savings

Chicago just proposed a new ordinance, which would lead the Great Lakes region in reducing single-use plastic, eliminating dangerous polystyrene, and protecting public health. The ordinance, introduced by Chicago Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) has the support of several Chicago City Council members, environmental, and conservation partners.

Around the world and in your neighborhood. Please do your part. Visit cuyahogacounty.us/byobag. Limited supplies of reusable bags are available. Keep them in your car and use them when shopping. It is an easy habit to form.

And a final note:

The Cuyahoga SWCD staff is doing their part to help address litter issue in the two blocks around the office. A few times a week, some of us have been picking up, what seems to be an endless supply of trash. We are talking about bags of trash and we are keeping a tally. We also plan to outreach to our neighbors. Our sincere hope is that by the end of the year we will see a cleaner, greener neighborhood!

Blog author: Jan Rybka, Director

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