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Keep Lee County Beautiful Tip of the Week: LED Lighting: Environmental Solutions are in the Bag!

November 8, 2017
By Norman Turiano for Keep Lee County Beautiful , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Litter from plastic bags is a growing problem, especially as the population of our County increases. You only need look around there are plastic bags hanging from trees, stuck in storm drains, and floating onto our beaches and through our waterways. The bags are responsible every year for the death of many birds, land animals and marine mammals, who often mistake them for food, where they end up blocking the animal's digestive track. This is in addition to the fact that they are unsightly in our wonderful environment that we work hard to keep pristine. They can take anywhere from 15 to 100 years to decompose naturally.

In addition to this, plastic is petroleum-based and photodegradable, so when they are left in the sunlight, when they do eventually break down it is into smaller, more toxic petropolymers.

We can all do our part to reduce this plastic bag problem. The easiest solution is to purchase reusable bags, and keep them handy in the car at all times. They are available for a small price at most grocery stores, as well as larger retailers like Walmart, Target, Lowe's, and Home Depot. You can also get them for free at many events, Keep Lee County Beautiful is looking into providing them at the 100+ cleanup events that it hosts and organizes each year (sponsorship opportunities are available for local businesses who wish to have their logo added to the bags to show their environmental commitment).

Article Photos

Photo courtesy of Keep Lee County Beautiful.

Some stores give you a discount if you have your own bags! If you do happen to accumulate these bags, recycle them. They can be used to line your smaller trash cans, and many stores have bins to collect them.

Plastic bags should not be put out for recycling. A big problem in Lee County is that many residents think they are recyclable, and they are not, they make recycling efforts difficult at the county level. They get caught in the recycling sorter machinery, wrapping around the rotating equipment and forcing the shutdown of the system. Plastic bags, bubble wrap, pool covers and anything made from Styrofoam need to go out with your regular trash.

The best rule to follow is first reduce, secondly reuse, and finally recycle.

This sustainability tip is courtesy of Keep Lee County Beautiful Inc. For more information, visit, email, or call (239) 334-3488.



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