If you stroll one of Lawrence’s parks, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll see trash at some point during your visit. The ground is home to abandoned soda cups and crumpled paper, but if you look skyward, there’s a chance you might catch sight of ripped-up plastic bags adorning the trees.
These single-use plastic bags from grocery stores and shops are a huge issue when it comes to the health and wellness of the environment. Lawrencians have taken notice, and recently, brought it to the City Commission, which is currently debating implementing either a fee or ban to businesses in Lawrence.
Many cities across the nation have implemented a 5- to 15-cent fee or an outright ban of plastic shopping bags. This has helped curb the overuse of plastic for many of these cities, which opt for paper or reusable bags instead. This could be a simple way to decrease the amount of plastic used in our city.
If Lawrence was to model the fee after other cities, customers would be expected to bring an extra few cents to the store to pay for a plastic shopping bag. This would make it so that long term, it would be more affordable to invest in a cloth reusable bag. In the case of a ban, store owners can opt for providing paper bags, or can completely strike bags from their budget and rely on customers to bring their own.
While this policy would be beneficial to our community, it’s important to recognize that a ban on plastic bags won’t solve the problem entirely. We all must take steps to reduce our plastic consumption, and recycle what we do use. This doesn’t just entail bags. It’s smart to invest in a reusable water bottle and find reusable alternatives for items that are single-use and often thrown away.
We must also elect politicians who care about our environment and can change things on a larger scale. A large amount of the pollution plaguing the world’s environment is the result of corporations cutting corners and mass producing items for sale.
Let’s set an example for surrounding communities and become the first city in Kansas to ban or place a fee on plastic bags.