The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Pollution’s Not Our Bag

Posted by iusbvision on April 22, 2007

When people go grocery shopping, they carry the groceries home in a handful of plastic bags. Yes, these plastic bags are very convenient to carry groceries, but what do they do with them after their usefulness is done?

They may lock up their collection of plastic bags – from Kroger, Meijer, Martin’s, Wal-Mart, – etc into a plastic container. Surprise! The container is overflowing with hundreds of these plastic bags, but they believe they can use the bags later – or they madly dump them into the trash can.

Scores of plastic bags are wasted instead of being recycled every day. These wasted bags cause serious damage to our environment. The once useful grocery bags turn into murderers—they destroy the natural environment and potentially have economic costs for consumers. Moreover, hundreds of wild animals are killed by pieces of the plastic bags.

Assistant professor of psychology, Michelle Verges, overlooked a project designed to keep the environment safe by recycling the plastic bags on April 14th at Indiana University South Bend. The event, the Bag Fest, was a public event to raise understanding of the environmental and economic effect of plastic bags. At the event, people donated their unnecessary plastic bags to her project. A representative from Wal-Mart also came to the Student Activity Center to discuss environmental issues.

Through her unique event and lectures, Professor Verges has discussed the importance of protecting our environment by recycling the plastic bags. She stated three project goals, “Raise public awareness on the consumption of plastic bags, apply students’ statistical training and knowledge to a real-world issue in our community, and instill a sense of personal responsibility that inspires behavioral, environmental, and economic changes. As part of this journey to conserve plastic bags, we are sharing our thoughts and personal experiences with you.”

In addition to these events, Professor Verges has also filmed a documentary about the plastic bag issues. The film will be available at the Franklin D. Schurz and St. Joseph County libraries. Moreover, she has also mentioned her interests in ecological fashion shows on her homepage. Fashion Junkie was held in the Ogstoun Theatre to aid the Thailand Water Project 2007 and student-models wore costumes designed with plastic bags, newspapers, and other recyclable materials. These dresses were as beautiful as those found in famous collections.

In the near future, most major grocery stores like Wal-Mart will launch their new projects for protecting our environment by reducing the consumption of plastic bags. The stores will charge you when you ask for the plastic bags, like Aldi’s, which is owned by a German company. In most European countries and some Asian countries, consumers need to bring their own shopping bags when they go grocery shopping. However, American companies still provides free plastic bags to consumers.

Save the environment or waste plastic bags—the decision is yours. 

Naoko Fujimoto 


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