Archived Outdoors

BYOBag Haywood highlights single-use plastic problem

Volunteers give out reusable bags at Food Lion in Clyde on Friday, April 22. Pictured (from left) are Joan Doyle, Bill Hollowell, Penny Tracy and Pat Robbins. Donated photo Volunteers give out reusable bags at Food Lion in Clyde on Friday, April 22. Pictured (from left) are Joan Doyle, Bill Hollowell, Penny Tracy and Pat Robbins. Donated photo

Fifty volunteers distributed more than 1,400 reusable bags in Haywood County on Earth Day and the following Saturday, April 22-23, to draw attention to the large number of single-use plastic bags consumed in the county and their impact on health and environment. 

“We had hundreds of wonderful conversations on Earth Day,” said Betsy Wall, chair of the WNC Climate Action Coalition. “So many people are worried about these plastics polluting our creeks, our forests, about these small bits of plastic entering our bodies, and were happy to receive the reusable bags.”

Volunteers sewed about 600 of the bags in the months preceding the event using donated cloth as well as feed and seed bags. Food Lion Canton, Ingles Markets and Staples provided additional bags. Volunteers then distributed them in 12 locations in Waynesville, Canton and Clyde. 

Called BYOBag Haywood, the effort was a joint project of Outdoor Mission Community and the WNC Climate Action Coalition. The mayors of both Canton and Waynesville signed proclamations in support of BYOBag Haywood, in honor of Earth Day calling for a reduction in single-use plastic consumption. 

Plastic bags like those supplied at grocery stores are used for an average of 12 minutes, with the typical family going through about 1,500 bags each year. Unlike organic materials like paper, plastic does not break down — instead it breaks up into tiny particles that find their way into water, food, air and even human tissue. 

The BYOBag Haywood effort is continuing. For more information, visit outdoormissioncommunity.org, wnclimateaction.com or Bring Your Own Bag Haywood on Facebook.

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