Testimony: From Pamela Miedtke Wolf. June 17, 2008
Vice President Maui Recycling Service
Ban plastic bags now!
From Pamela Miedtke Wolf,
Vice president of Maui Recycling Service and Bio-Beetle ECO Rental Cars
As Vice President of Maui Recycling Service I will attest to you that plastic bags must be banned!
"RECYCLING" THEM DOES NOT WORK!
Even when some places say they are recycling them, bags will end up in the air and in the oceans .. There is NO stopping that!!! Haven't you seen a bag fly from the back of someone's pickup? Or even a recycling truck?? It happens! Bags are bad! They are going to continue to "fly" as long as we allow them to be given away at stores!!! But besides being such a terrible item, even when places say they are recycling them, it has been proven that they were not!
Years ago the county had drop bins for them, and we actually collected them too but the facts turned out that they were not being recycled and they actually could not be recycled!!!
Our processor told us that it takes so many bags to make up enough to ship them off island that, that by the time there would be enough, the bags would be ripped, and shredded and not possible to ship!!! This is a fact, and happened on Maui, and is why they were stopped being collected! It was proven to the County that all the bags were ending up in the landfill anyway, so they had to stop saying that they could be recycled!
Even if bags are bailed, they will lose many many in shipping them, and bits and pieces the whole trip . It is not possible to store and ship plastic bags without creating a huge garbage trail along the way, from a place like Hawaii.
Besides, plastic bags are made from oil, and aren't we supposed to be trying to wean ourselves from oil products for the best of this planet???
Isn't it time that we become leaders on the road to sustainability instead of always doing the easy thing, which almost always means the worst thing for the island and our future!!!
We should be doing everything we can to protect this place and by not using plastic bags is a very easy small step. I represent hundreds of residents on Maui, through Maui Recycling Service AND visitors who come to Maui and rent a car. Everyone we talk with agrees that we should stop using plastic bags.
We all know the facts on how bad plastic bags are for the planet and how thousands of animals, including endangered species, such as turtles and seals, suffer and die because of bags, we know bags are unsightly, and clog drains causing flooding and runoff into places there should not be . It doesn't matter whether people throw them into the trash or try to recycle them, some will get away Besides the terrible outcomes from the bags themselves . plastic bags are made from fossil fuels, which we all know and agree we are supposed to be getting away from. Support fossil fuels and you support oil spills, you support going to war for oil, and all the pollution and diseases that are the result of the oil industry.
Other places are doing it. We can easily do it. We should be doing all we can to protect this place. We can be a leader on the road to sustainability, and most people will admire us for it.
Although, yes, there will be a some people who get upset, who don't want to be forced to think about they are doing to the planet, but this is a learning opportunity too. People need to be made aware of what their actions do to the planet and those on it. As in smoking, some people will always complain, but it truly is best for all to not allow it in public, as we have done.
Stores do not have to take the brunt and lose money for this. A lot of the time, people don't even need bags, but it is such a no brainer to put everything in a bag . From a bag of apples to a pack of gum We need to stop that now! Sell cloth bags and support a good cause.. This place we live! Most people want to do a good deed and telling them by buying a bag they are doing so, this will make most people feel good! Stores can make money on them too, if they so choose! Besides, stores get everything in cardboard boxes, then immediately break them down and put them in the trash or recycling. These stores can actually cut their trash and recycling costs significantly by keeping these boxes on hand, near the checkout stands to use in place of bags!
This is also an opportunity for those of us who give advertising gifts to give things that are useful, such as reusable cloth bags. We have been doing that with Maui Recycling for years.
A lot of us are also in the tourist industry. At Bio-Beetle, we offer all our renters cloth bags to borrow (or purchase) and they are thrilled to help protect this place. Anyone who works for bed and breakfasts, or resorts, gift shops, restaurants, rental cars, etc . can do this too.
This the right thing. It is an easy thing.
Stop using plastic bags right now!
Pamela Miedtke-Wolf 281-1942
Box 1267 Wailuku HI 96793
Maui Recycling Service 244-0443
Bio-Beetle ECO Rental Cars 873-6121