Press – Deb Schoelerman

11/18/2016 Press-Citizen LTE

Eliminate single-use plastic bags

I am pleased that the City Council at its Nov. 2 meeting approved four waste minimization initiatives for Iowa City. The measures include curbside collection of food waste, requiring landlords and property managers of dwellings in excess of four units to provide recycling, a ban on television and computer monitors at the landfill (they can be recycled at the landfill site), and requiring all vehicles coming to the landfill to have covered their loads of trash to reduce the amount of litter as well as the cost of picking up this litter.

City staff is currently working on an ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags that will be brought to the City Council by the end of the year. The 100 Grannies for a Livable Future has been educating the public, working for and encouraging such a ban for the past four years.

Fewer than 10 percent of plastic bags are recycled. Plastic bags are part of the litter problem at the landfill. They blow across our landscape and are seen hanging from trees and fences. Plastic bags end up in our streams and rivers, and eventually our oceans. Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photo degrade. Over time they break down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers that eventually contaminate soil and waterways . Local wildlife and marine animals ingest the small pieces of plastic, then these petro- polymers are in the human food chain.

Many cities in the United States and even some countries have eliminated single use plastic bags. Iowa City can do this, too. We need to do our part. I encourage the Iowa City Council to approve this ordinance by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

Deb Schoelerman Iowa City

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