When she returned from our mailbox this afternoon, my typically sanguine wife was visibly and verbally upset by one of the items in our mailbox. Rather than a letter informing us of an increase in insurance rates, or the latest piece of political nonsense spewed by our Congressman, Cathy held in her hand this plastic bag. Giving it to me she said "How is this supposed to help stamp out plastic pollution?"
The single-use plastic bag was from a group called Farm Share FL in Homestead, Florida. The group was encouraging people to contribute food items for less fortunate people and then leave those food items by the mailbox in the conveniently provided single-use plastic bag
Theirs is a noble cause and one that we should all contribute to. However did Farm Share have to provide everyone in our subdivision and probably Sarasota County with a single-use plastic bag for the collection? Why not a renewable bag like one made from paper? Why not instructions on how to contribute food at a central collection center where no bags of any kind will be used?
Information on plastic pollution and its negative effects on the environment are legion. Single-use plastic bags like the one in our mailbox take a nanosecond to produce but hundreds of years to disintegrate. Some estimate that one million single-use plastic bags are used every minute of every day around the world. Then as their name implies they are thrown away only to add to the growing problem of plastic pollution in the ocean and in our landfills.
Following is a letter I wrote to Farm Share FL with which I returned the single-use plastic bag and encouraged their otherwise noble cause to be more earth-friendly in the future. If you received one of these bags please return it to Farm Share FL like I did and encourage them with a similar message.
Plastic pollution began with a single piece of plastic. It can be defeated one piece at a time. All that is needed is the desire to make a difference.
Sarasota, Florida 34232
May 10 2019
Farm Share, Inc.
14125 SW 320th Street
Dear Farm Share
Try to imagine my dismay this afternoon when we removed from our mailbox the enclosed single-use plastic bag that you had delivered to us. Sadly, I am certain there was a similar bag in every other mail box in our development; I’m afraid to think that there is also one in every mailbox in Sarasota County.
Yours is a good cause. I am a screaming liberal so its natural for me to want to help others less fortunate and especially when that involves feeding hungry people. At the same time there is a huge problem in Florida, in the United States and across the world with plastic pollution.
An estimated one MILLION single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every minute of every hour of every day of every year. They take a nanosecond to produce yet hundreds of years to disintegrate. Some authorities have estimated that somewhere around 4.5 TRILLION individual pieces of plastic are floating around in the world’s oceans today. Other plastic, not in the ocean, sits in landfills where it takes up to 500 years for them to decay. Every piece of plastic ever produced on the planet still exists.
Issues with plastic pollution are legion. A major one is ingestion by wildlife. Endangered sea turtles eat plastic thinking it is their normal food the jellyfish. Recently a sperm whale was found dead on the coast of England. A necropsy revealed that it had 88 pounds of plastic pollution in its stomach. The whale died of starvation – it thought its stomach was full of food but instead it was full of plastic. If you are interested, I could cite volume after volume of information on the negative effects of plastic pollution on the environment and eventually on humans.
Bags like the one that you distributed to us only add to that problem. I’m writing to not only return your bag but to encourage you to use common sense in your food drives. Instead of non-renewable plastic (made from non-renewable crude oil) bags why not use paper bags to collect your food items? Better than that rather than encouraging residents to leave food by the mail box why not set up collection centers where people can drop off food and you can collect it en masse. Then you can truck it to locations where you want to distribute it to needy individuals.
Stamping out plastic pollution is your responsibility just like it is mine and just like it is everyone in my development and in Homestead where you are located. A common sense approach to collecting food for your purposes will go a long way toward reducing the environmental burden created by plastic.
The pollution problem has been exacerbated one plastic item at a time. Concomitantly it can be defeated one plastic item at a time. Please start to be a good steward of the earth by using something other than plastic for your noble cause.