I recently read Pam Burke’s column titled “Confessions of a former plastic bag fan” (page 4, April 27) with great interest as parts of our property are located directly west and directly east of the new landfill.
Our east property fence and coulees have become increasingly impacted by and filled with blowing debris, mostly plastic, which has also moved into the pastures and trees.
It’s a horrible sight. The beautiful landscape now cruelly punctuated by man’s plastic creation.
One of my favorite places is the pasture benches once occupied by ancient Native American civilizations, their nomadic living style perfectly exemplified in acres of stone teepee rings. But these days, those lithic wonders snag blowing plastic bags. Our cattle live here now during calving and like to hang in the bottoms where they can be seen chewing on plastic bags. Plastic bags are deeply nestled among the rose and hawthorn bushes.
The water ways are polluted with plastic bags. Plastic, plastic, plastic.
As Clay Vincent, the Hill County sanitarian stated in his column, “Plastic sacks cause damage to environment” (page 4, May 4), landfill personnel spend a great deal of time cleaning up blowing plastic bags. Kudos to Clay and his staff for working to alleviate the nasty problem.
Do you know what plastic is made of?
Plastic is made of polyethylene which comes from fossil fuel: petroleum and natural gas. Yep, non-renewable energy.
And did you know that microorganisms cannot break down plastic? That means plastic bags buried in the landfill could be there for a very long time, possibly hundreds of years according to scientists. More plastic means more personnel to pick up and bury the plastic, which means more garbage, more land to bury the garbage, more equipment to bury the garbage, which means more fuel to run the equipment. Which means, you as a taxpayer, have to spend more in taxes, so you can have a place to bury your plastic bags. Now there is a vicious and expensive circle.
Plastic bags have only been around 50 years. We got by without using them before, let’s quit using them now. Here are some alternatives.
• Take reusable bags to the grocery store.
• Say “No” to bags if you only have a few items.
• If you have to use plastic, fill it to the brim.
• Recycle plastic bags at Walmart. Bins are in the front of the store. They take any store’s bags.
• Reuse plastic bags to stuff pillows, or make a reusable bag out of plastic bags.
• If you are a business owner, buy biodegradable polyethylene bags made from renewable energy sources such as sugar cane, sugar beets and wheat grains.
• When you go the store, encourage that business owner to buy biodegradable bags.
It’s time for us to take control of this ugly, costly problem that is polluting our country and cityscapes. We would appreciate your comments. You can post them online in the comment section of this column on http://www.havredailynews.com.
(Candi Zion is a Havre rancher and chair of Recycle Hi-Line.)