Guest Article for SC Times on PLASTIC



By Gary Headrick,
Founder of San Clemente Green

Have you ever
considered the impact of single-use plastic bags on our environment and
economy? The truth is much worse than you might imagine.

Every year, the
average American uses more than 600 plastic bags. In
California alone, we employ
19 billion plastic bags annually,
enough to circle the earth over 244 times. That means we discard nearly 600
bags per second in
California?banishing them
either to landfills or our marine environment.
We recycle only 1 to 4 percent of these.

The hidden cost
you and I pay as consumers is about $250 per household per year. Bag makers use
an estimated 4,000 barrels of oil a day manufacturing this largely unnecessary
convenience. Most of these bags are used only for the few minutes it takes to
get from store to home. Then we throw them away.

But what does
?away? really mean? Plastic shopping bags can last up to a thousand years in a
landfill. In the environment, they break down into tiny, toxic particles that
become part of the soil and water, eventually entering the food chain and
ending up back on our plates.

The marine debris
problem has become a global environmental crisis. Every year, 1 million
seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die in the Pacific due to marine debris.
Our oceans have reached a crisis point due to plastic pollution and it must be

An obvious and
easy first step we can all take to quell this crisis is to bring our own
reusable bags to the stores with us. Plenty of options are available, but (if
you?ll pardon the plug) you can show your support for San Clemente Green by
picking up a hand-made tote bag when you make a tax-deductible donation. These
are sturdy, custom denim bags with our logo and unique decoration made for you
by local residents. They are available at San Clemente Art Supply and Pacific
Water Solutions, both on El Camino Real.

Let?s be
pro-active and do all we can to eliminate this unnecessary threat to our
environment and marine animals. Plastic bags cost retailers $4 billion to
provide per year?a cost passed on to us as higher prices, taxes, and cleanup
costs. And don?t forget the 12 million barrels of oil per year used to make
plastic bags in the
U.S. alone.

By addressing the
plastic bag issue right here in
San Clemente we take an
important first step towards protecting our quality of life and that of our
children and grandchildren. Please join in our effort to find a reasonable
solution to this suffocating problem. To become part of the solution today, go
to where you can
join in our letter-writing campaign and get on our interest list by sending us
an e-mail. We?ll keep you posted on other important sustainability news as
well, (such as how you can take advantage of solar power with no up-front

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