Posted on March 23, 2010 by Dennis Salazar

The Plastic Bag is Exorcized and Recycled

People involved in the green movement love to demonize things and let’s face it, in many cases it is so darn easy. Favorite targets are packaging, plastic water bottles, vehicles like SUV’s, and even companies such as Nestlé’s, and Wal-Mart. And of course, the product everyone loves to hate, plastic bags.

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

I may be paraphrasing that famous quote but I think you understand my point. I have always claimed, even in mixed green audiences, that only a small part of the problem is the plastic bag. The real problem is what we all choose to do or not do with the plastic bags when we are done with them.

Photo of a suburban cornfield strewn with litter, mainly plastic bags.

What’s Happening to Your Plastic Bags?

We live and work in southwest suburban Chicago which has become an unusual mix of farm fields and retail and industrial development. Around the corner from us is the first sign of civilization, a McDonald’s and across the street is another sure indicator of suburban sprawl, a Wal-Mart store.

However in all directions, there are also farm fields that in a few months will be filled with corn, soy beans and other crops but for now they are littered with garbage. Most of that litter is plastic bags that were carelessly thrown out of car windows or improperly discarded in one of the many retail store parking lots in the immediate area. It is a terrible shame because the eyesore and waste could have been so easily avoided.

My Green Brother Is My Green Keeper

One of my favorite people is Robby Meadows, the president and founder of Nashville Wraps, the undisputed leader in the gift, retail and decorative packaging market. For two completely different people who have never met face to face, Robby and I have become good friends because we have so much in common including the fact that we both created and are marketing green packaging product lines. His Greenway ® Eco Friendly Packaging website is leading the way to sustainability in his industry and Robby is also a gifted blogger and writer.

Please read his most recent post on a unique program in California that is recycling post consumer plastic waste, especially shopping bags and turning them into new plastic shopping bags. It is a great recycling success story, and an excellent video.

Let’s keep in mind that the demon is not at all within any inanimate object or product, it is indeed within ourselves. Also, as Robby’s post reminds us, with some creativity and effort, we can all contribute to a solution for a problem that we all help to create.