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Diminishing the impact of single-use plastic bags

Photo: Bag It Duluth

A film and open forum to discuss the adoption of local policies to diminish the impact of single-use plastic bags will take place 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, in the Denfield High School Lecture Hall, 401 N. 44th Ave W.

The film, “Bag It,” provides information at a personal level about the use of single-use disposable plastic bags in everyday life, and the impact those bags—60,000 are used in America every five minutes—have on our lives, health, and environment. It also explores what individuals can easily do to lessen their use of plastic bags, from simple habits as consumers to advocating for legislation to make changes in cities and states across the country.

Following the film, diverse experts representing citizens, non-profit organizations, educators, and government will provide information on what can realistically be done In Duluth and the surrounding area to decrease the negative impact of plastics. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions or voice concerns as part of the experts’ discussion. The confirmed experts are:

—AJ Axtell, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District

—Jamie Harvie, Institute for a Sustainable Future and Bag It Coordinator

—Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza, University of Wisconsin, Superior

—Em Westerlund, City Councilor, Duluth

According to Jamie Harvie, Bag it Duluth Coordinator, “We are asking the Duluth City Council for leadership through support for common-sense legislation, modeled after more than 160 cities and states that would save local businesses money, protect local fisheries, minimize climate impacts, and protect our waters. Duluth should be at the forefront of this, since we are already known across the nation for our promotion of active, healthy, living and for our stunning outdoor environment.”

Making small changes to benefit citizens’ lives and the environment is a natural fit for Duluthians. Locally, maintaining the health and beauty of Lake Superior is a priority, and yet more than 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year. Small fragments of plastic have already been found in the St. Louis River and off of Park Point. The “Bag It” film, the following discussion, and a tip sheet available to every attendee will provide information on what individuals can do to reduce the use of plastics. Attendees are also encouraged to bring reusable bags to donate for use at food shelves.

The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters—Duluth. More information can be found at www.bagitduluth.org or http://www.lwvduluth.org/. Bag it Duluth is a campaign involving more than 60 organizations representing local businesses, community organizations, schools, and communities of faith.

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