One of the main reasons people don’t like plastic bags is they are a highly visible and persistent form of litter in our environment. Unlike other consumer products, disposable plastic bags have an inherent ability to become wind-blown litter despite proper disposal. They blow out of garbage cans, recycle bins and even blow out of landfills. This is one of the reasons they have fences around landfills. Free plastic bags are costly; the landfill in my town of Chico has two extra people on staff, just to chase down plastic bags that have escaped the landfill. The plastic bag industry has not taken responsibility for this issue, instead blaming the consumer with their “bags don’t litter, people do” sentiment.
That may be about to change. As part of the settlement agreement between Hilex Poly and my company, ChicoBag, Hilex Poly will start to acknowledge the issue of wind blown litter, agreeing to add, for the first time that we are aware, the issue of windblown litter to their website. They are required to not only address this issue on their website, they also are required to print a message on their bags. The message will include the phrase “Tie in Knot Before Disposal”.
We suggest they call their campaign the “Do Knot Litter” campaign.
This act of tying a bag into a knot is really such a simple act, yet it will significantly decrease the capacity that a bag has to take flight. We believe this small step will significantly reduce plastic bag litter. Even though SuperBag and Advance Poly Bag dropped out of the case and are not obligated to address windblown litter, we hope we’ll see that “Owning the Problem” is a very powerful and honest position that will significantly reduce the main reason the plastic bag has become the poster child of unnecessary waste.