Archived Opinion

Time to end single-use plastics

Time to end single-use plastics

To the Editor:

The Western North Carolina Climate Action Coalition and the Outdoor Mission Community wish to express our sincere thanks to the residents of Haywood County for their support of our reusable bag giveaway called Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) Haywood that took place in honor of Earth Day on April 22.

Months before the event, more than 40 local volunteers worked diligently on sewing bags from donated cloth plus feed and seed bags. The mayors and town boards of both Canton and Waynesville signed proclamations in support of BYOBag Haywood and called for a reduction in the use of all single-use plastic in honor of Earth Day. 

Over 1,400 reusable bags were distributed to residents at 12 locations in Waynesville, Canton, and Clyde in order to draw attention to the growing number of single-use plastic bags used in our county and how they affect our health and environment.

Single-use plastic bags like the ones supplied at grocery stores are used for an average of 12 minutes, and a typical family goes through about 1,500 bags every year. As the average grocery store in Haywood County serves about 2,000 families, that adds up to 1-2 million bags per store per year. These bags break down into small particles called microplastics that are in the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. Recent studies show that microplastics are in human tissue and blood, increasing the risk of cancers, infertility problems, and inflammation.

We wish to extend thanks to the participating businesses and organizations in Canton and Clyde: both Food Lion stores, Tractor Supply Co, Pigeon River Mercantile, and the town of Canton’s Chestnut Park grand opening, and in Waynesville: GO Grocery, Haywood Community College, Haywood Historic Farmer’s Market, Hometown Hardware, Mast General Store, PetSmart and Staples. 

Additional reusable bags were generously provided by Food Lion Canton, Ingles Markets, and Staples.

Thanks also to supporting businesses and organizations: Ace Hardware (Waynesville); Big Brothers, Big Sisters; Creation Care Alliance of WNC; First United Methodist Church (Waynesville); Grace Church in the Mountains (Waynesville); Haywood Waterways Association; Haywood Parks and Recreation, Haywood County Arts Council, HIGHTS, and Junaluska Feed Store. 

The BYOBag Haywood Earth Day event also included a Community Partner Showcase at Haywood Community College and a clean-up of Allen’s Creek in partnership with Haywood Waterways Association that yielded 34 large bags of plastic, styrofoam and other trash in an hour and a half. BYOBag Haywood was also one of three featured 

Western North Carolina projects which focused on the problem of single-use plastic bags presented at the Creation Care Alliance of Western NC Vigil on April 24 at First Baptist Church in Asheville. 

We are deeply grateful to everyone who participated, supported and volunteered in the BYOBag Haywood event. It was so encouraging to talk to people who were also concerned about the problem of single-use plastics in Haywood County and welcomed the idea of taking a reusable bag with them every time they shopped. The work continues, but with your help, we can preserve the health and beauty of this place we call home. 

Kathy Odvody

 Outdoor Mission Community Board Chair & BYOBag Haywood Project Director

Betsy Wall

Western North Carolina Climate Action Coalition Steering Committee Chair

Leave a comment

2 comments

  • Paper, what's wrong with paper bags? I've seen peoples mask hygiene, not impressed. Now they bring their nasty bags and put them on the check out counter where someone has to bag grocery's. Nope give me "paper please".

    posted by Lisa

    Saturday, 05/21/2022

  • Let's go back to paper....Recyclable, compostable, reusable, great for wrapping Christmas presents...the list is endless. Ever see a textbook covered with a plastic Ingles bag? Ever seen a sea turtle with a paper bag stuck in its nose?

    posted by MZ

    Wednesday, 05/18/2022

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